Federal government’s recently launched populist social investment scheme, which promises N5,000 to poorest Nigerians, may yet become another battle ground for the control of the soul and minds of Nigerians by politicians.
Following Governor Ayodele Fayose puncturing of government claim that it has started the payment of N5000 stipends to vulnerable Nigerians, the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Adesina, has described the issues as a case of who to believe.
The presidency had on Monday, in a statement by the Senior Special Assistant media to the Vice President, Laolu Akande, declared that the government had started the payment of N5, 000 monthly stipends to the poorest and the most vulnerable in the country in nine states through the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) of its Social Investment Programmes.
Under the CCT, one million Nigerians would receive N5000 monthly payments as a form of social safety net for the poorest and most vulnerable as budgeted for in the 2016 Budget.
However, Ekiti State Governor Fayose, who punctured the claim, described it as propaganda and said, “A blind man will say it is when it gets into my mouth that I will say you are feeding me, not promises.”
In a statement by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Idowu Adelusi, Fayose argued that there was no evidence of the payment in his state, which is one of the states where the Federal Government claimed the exercise had started.
He then challenged the government to publish the names of people receiving it and the accounts of those receiving.
But in its reaction, the presidency described the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari as one that is built on integrity and, as such, cannot lie to Nigerians on the payment of N5000 stipends to vulnerable Nigerians.
Adesina who stated this when he spoke to State House Correspondents after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting presided over by President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, insisted that the government of President Buhari will not lie to Nigerians and that his word is his bond.
Insisting that the payment has started in nine states, Adesina wondered how “a certain governor came and say it is not true. Is just a matter of who do you believe. This is a government that is built on integrity and accountability.
“This government will not lie to Nigerians, does not lie to Nigerians, in fact anything you hear from this government you can take it to the bank, believe it. So if anybody comes and say it’s politics it is not true. Choose who to believe I can tell you that you should believe this government because this government will not lie to you,” he said.
The deepening face-off between Fayose and the presidency took an interesting turn on Wednesday when he alleged that the ruling party was plotting to use the judiciary to remove him from office.
He particularly fingered the very controversial Justice Okon Abang in the plot and called for the intervention of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Justice Onnoghen.
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