By Musa Ilallah
It is an indisputable fact that since the declaration of Nigeria as an independent sovereign state on October 1,1960 the country’s Teachers, Workers, Youths and Vulnerables have never had it so good like they are having it in the hands of President Buhari.
As the most friendly President to teachers, workers, vulnerables and youths in the country ever, President Buhari has patriotically, consciously and deliberately put in place programmes and policies that put them in advantaged positions over and above other classes of Nigerians.
In addition to improving the Nigerian workers national minimum wage from N18, 000 in 2011 to N30, 000 last year, the PMB administration has put in place several other personal improvements schemes for workers through capacity building, housing and health care for them and their families.
The latest of such measures is the replacement of the Annual performance Evaluation Report called APER as a pre promotional assessment for all category of public servants with a new scheme called Performance Management System, PMS. PMB in his magnanimity and concern with public outcry against the APER system, decided to approve the immediate implementation of a workers friendly PMS that brightens and easens the chances of public servants getting promotion as at when due without the existing bureaucratic bottlenecks.
PMB’s antecedents as a friend of Workers, Youths, Students, Teachers and Vulnerables began a long time ago during his days as a military officer, Unit commander/GOC, Governor, Military Head of State and Chairman of Petroleum Trust Fund, PTF during the late General Sani Abacha regime. During all those years, President Buhari had consciously tailored his personal and official command positions towards improving the lives of officers and men, teachers, youths and public servants.
PMB has going by the records shown more committment to creating a ministry of Youths and Sports developmant with billions of Naira budgets annually and also appointed aides to oversee matters of youth development and empowerment.
President Buhari has since coming to power on May 29th 2015 done everything humanly possible towards empowering Youths in the country through several initiatives.
As an exemplary leader who holds his subjects particularly the Youths who hold the key as tomorrow’s leaders in high esteem, President Buhari has appealed to them to utilise the Nigeria Social investment Programme, NSIP opportunities to make their lives and fellow country men and women more purposeful.
In an address to the nation on #ENDSARS protests and its aftermath on the country’s economy and infrastructure recently, President Buhari noted that despite dwindling revenue coupled with added responsibilities, his government has put in place initiatives to help small business owners, Youths and the mist Vulnerables in the society to help them make a living. According to President Buhari “Nigerian youths will do well to keep the peace as it is in their own interest ultimately”.
Femi Adesina, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity who in a statement quoted President Buhari saying this when he received Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed during a courtesy visit in Abuja recently added “our own generation is on the last lap; we are exiting.”
Such plans include lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years; creation of N75 billion national youth investment fund to provide opportunities for Youths and the micro, small and medium enterprises, MSMEs survival funds through which government is doling out N30, 000 to 100, 000 artisans most of who are Youths and guaranteeing markets for their products.
Also worthy of note are the flag-off of the National Young Farmers Scheme designed by the National Agricultural Land Development Authority, NALDA to spur more Youths interest in farming and the enrollment of National Youth Service Corps, NYSC members into the National Health Insurance Scheme, NHIS.
There is also an initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN known as the Accelerated Agricultural Development Scheme, AADS scheme and introduced earlier this year to engage a minimum of 370,000 Youths in agricultural production across the country, over the next three years.
“This is yet another Buhari-era initiative targeted at creating a new generation of farmers as well as ensuring more Youth inclusion in agriculture.
A statement from BMO and signed by Niyi Akinsiju and Cassidy Maduweke, Chairman and Secretary respectively further said “From all indications, it is a programme that will touch every part of the country with an annual engagement of 1,000 young Nigerians in each of the 774 local government areas under the auspices of NALDA, an agency that has now been revived 20 years after it was abandoned by previous governments.
“We are elated that the President has taken it upon himself to directly supervise the agency to ensure that the Young Farmers Scheme gets the necessary attention, as well as the full cooperation of State governments in keeping their side of the bargain in terms of making land available where necessary.
BMO noted that it views the scheme as one with the dual advantage of creating job opportunities for the teeming unemployed Youths and ensuring self-sufficiency for the country in food production.
In the words of BMO: ‘Both initiatives might be seen as direct response to the yearnings of young Nigerians who were part of the recent #ENDSARS protest, but they are actually part of the administration’s policies targeted at empowering young people.’
It is therefore not a matter of rhetorics that the Buhari administration has always been proactive and agitated on Youth-oriented issues.
The group urged more young people to explore avenues of benefitting from the various initiatives of the Buhari administration which have the potentials of creating a new generation of millions of Young entrepreneurs.
President Buhari seized the opportunity of his nationwide address to appeal to the Youths to resist the temptation to be used by subversive elements to cause chaos with the aim of truncating democracy in Nigeria.
President Muhammadu Buhari in his usual friendliness to the oldest profession in the world, Teaching, approved a special salary scale for Nigerian teachers at the basic and secondary levels as well as increased years of service from 35 to 40.
The President was full of hope of giving teachers and the teaching profession a pride of place in the society that has as at today lost its glory during the world Teachers’ Day putting to rest the agitation for years for an increase in teachers retirement age, welfare, and salaries.
While instructing the Ministry of Education to facilitate the immediate implementation of the new salary scheme, President Buhari expressed the hope that the efforts would encourage teachers to deliver better service.
Also, a special pension scheme to enable the teaching profession retain its experienced talents as well as extend teachers retirement age to 65 years and the duration of teaching years to 40 and building of low-cost housing for teachers in rural areas, sponsorship of teachers, prompt payment of salary, and timely promotion to eliminate stagnation, to motivate and restore lost glory to teachers and teaching in the country are some added incentives approved by President Buhari for teachers in the country.
Indeed President Buhari is determined to change the fortunes of Nigerian Youths, Workers, Teachers, Students, Vulnerables and the down trodden for the better in order to empower them to lead the country into the next century of technological development and good governance.
The partnership between President Buhari on one side and Nigerian workers, Vulnerable Nigerians, Teachers, Students and Youths on the other is one that puts Nigeria on the path of assured, sustained and ever lasting progress and development for the good of all and sundry.
What the country needs now is for all Nigerians to massively support these initiatives of a President determined to make a substantial difference in the governance of the country.
Ilallah wrote in from Emeka Anyaoku street Abuja, firstname.lastname@example.org