Dark clouds are appearing over the campaign promise of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to pay a monthly stipend of N5,000 to unemployed poor when voted to power.
In a recent outing, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, had reiterated the readiness of the Federal Government to implement this along with the programme of providing meals for school children.
However, in a surprise move on Wednesday, 4th November 2015, a motion by a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Senator, Philip Aduda, calling for a debate to compel the government to start the payment of this monthly stipend was unanimously shouted down with a voice vote by the majority APC senators.
This sent ripples, especially through the social media, where the youth and other concerned Nigerians see it as an indication that the new ruling party is about to distance itself from yet another campaign promise. This may not necessarily be so, since the nation’s Number Two citizen, speaking for the Presidency, had already reassured that the programme is still on track.
The APC senators blundered by so vehemently refusing to entertain the motion. They missed a great opportunity to confirm their readiness to partner with the Executive in actualising the relief programme. It was very unwise for elected members of a political party to treat one of their campaign promises in such a cavalier manner, even if there were elements of politics behind the motion by members of the opposition party.
The unanimous and vehement manner in which the APC senators knocked out the motion has made some to allege that they were pushing the party’s position, which it may or may not be.
The APC, as a political party, needs to come clean with Nigerians regarding campaign promises and debunk the growing impression that the party intends to back out of some of them.
We are, however, positive that with the expected inauguration of the new Federal Executive Council (FEC) any time from now, the Buhari administration will unfold the full gamut of its programmes of action and provide more details on how it will tackle the welfare components, which obviously helped in getting it elected into power.
Gone are the days when politicians made empty promises to voters with the hope that once in power they can choose to do whatever they like. This is the age of the social media, when information, once put in the public domain, is within easy reach.
Even those with short memories can no longer forget.
We concur with Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, that issues bordering on the welfare of citizens should not be reduced to a political circus show.