By Ononye VC
Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the last election, has faulted President Bola Tinubu’s approval of the whooping sum of N3 billion for the verification of National Social Register, adding that such abnormality can only happen in Nigeria.
Reports said that a memo signed by the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila revealed that President Tinubu gave approval to the now suspended Minister of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, Betta Edu, for the release of N3 billion to verify the National Social Register, which was initially compiled under former President Muhammadu Buhari.
The social register had been created for cash transfers and other social investment programmes.
But the former governor of Anambra State in a statement expressed disappointment that such staggering sum is being spent on parochial matter when the nation need all the manpower training to keep it’s work force productive.
He said, “It is very surprising to hear that the sum of N3 billion was approved for verification of national register of the poor. This can only happen in Nigeria. I have maintained that we must decisively deal with the issue of cost of governance in Nigeria now as a matter of urgency.
“Sadly, this very huge amount approved just for verification of national register of the poor is more than three times the amount of N908,699,435 which was budgeted for our National Library.
“This is happening at a time in our nation when we need all the manpower training to to keep our work force productive. Our national library, a very critical infrastructure in our nation, seemingly abandoned, lacks books and educational materials.
“The same amount, would have made a significant impact, if prudently and transparently managed. Moreso, with more than half of our population battling with absolute and multi dimensional poverty, one wonders why such a huge sum was approved for just verification of national register of the poor, when the same amount could have been directed towards actual poverty alleviation. This approval raises a fundamental question: how come the data for poverty alleviation has not been verified on a regular basis?
“The inability of we the leaders to prioritise our expenditure and focus on the critical areas of national development, and national security, are the challenges weighing down on our nation today.
“Unless we begin to sacrifice our personal comfort for the good of society, and begin to care more for the people, especially the less privileged ones, our nation will continue to grapple with all forms of societal ills caused by high level of poverty.”