EXCLUSIVE: How PDP lawmakers rejected 774,000 public works job slots

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Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers have rejected the slots allocated to them in the ongoing recruitment of 774,000 artisan youths for public works jobs.

President Muhammadu Buhari initiated the programme to keep some of the unemployed busy doing public works for three months, beginning from October.

One thousand people are to be recruited from each of the 774 local government councils to participate in the programme. They are to earn N20,000 monthly per person. N52 billion has been voted for the programme in the 2020 budget.

Governors, senators, House of Representatives members and ministers have been allocated slots to be filled from their constituencies. The average Nigerians will get the other slots after screening by the panels set up in each state.

The Minority Caucus in the House of Representatives said on Tuesday that allotting only 30 slots per local government to each member of the House from the 1000 jobs per local government, was unfair and unacceptable to the lawmakers and Nigerians.

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Minority Leader Ndudi Elumelu (PDP, Delta) said the caucus was demanding more transparency and a review of the criteria being used to allocate the slots, which he said, favoured certain interests in the All Progressives Congress (APC), to the detriment and disadvantage of majority of Nigerians.

The minority leader insisted that “the 30 persons allotment to be supervised by a member in each of the local government areas, cannot by any criterium, said to be a true representation of the people we are mandated to represent.”

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He said the 774,000 jobs are meant for the people, adding that the people look up to the lawmakers as major channels through which they are reached for social and economic empowerment, a situation, which makes the 30 person, out of the 1000 per local government, grossly inadequate.

He said: “The 30 persons allotment per local government for lawmakers is grossly unfair, inadequate and unacceptable to Nigerians. As the representatives of the people, we are closer to them and they directly interact with us, irrespective of religion, class and political affiliations.

“All Nigerians living in our constituencies are our constituents, irrespective of political leanings. We have a responsibility to protect their interests at all times. As such, lawmakers ought to have been carried along on the allotment.

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“Moreover, the questions are, what criteria are being used in the job allotments? Given the 30 persons out of the 1000 per local government area allotted to federal lawmakers, what happens to the remaining 970? What answers do we give Nigerians? How do we ensure that the programme benefit Nigerians and not enmeshed in allegations of sharp practices as witnessed in the COVID-19 palliative distribution?

He urged President Muhamamdu Buhari to immediately order a review of the implementation process to ensure that the targeted citizens benefited from the programme as intended.

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