THE POLITCS OF POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMMES IN NIGERIA: AN ASSESSMENT UNDER OBASANJO’S ADMINISTRATION
The disease of poverty alleviation programmes more often than not dislocates a system thereby resulting to social, political and economic unrest of the people. It is in view of these problems that various governments in Nigeria both past and present established different institutions and programmes aimed at reducing poverty. These includes: National Directorate of Employment (NDE), Directorate of Food, Roads and Rural Infrastructure (DFFRI), Green Revolution (GR), Operation Feed the Nation (OFN), Better Life for Rural Women (BLRW), Family Support Programme (FSP), Family Economic Advancement Programme (FEAP) and Poverty Alleviation Programme (PAP). In spite of the billions of naira pumped into these programmes, not much has been achieved in reducing poverty in our society. In fact, some government policies such as Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) and the implementation of IMF loan conditionalities have rendered useless the strategies aimed at alleviating poverty. Amongst the reasons why the past poverty alleviation attempts failed were the politics of personal rule- a distinctive type of political system in which the rivalries and struggle of powerful and willful men, rather than impersonal institutions, ideologies, public policies, or
class interest, are fundamental in shaping political life. It is a monopolistic politics as against pluralistic or multiparty politics. It is usually a civilian one-party state or a military dictatorship.(There is overwhelming believe that Obasanjo’s PDP government was shifted towards a full blown one-party state). It is therefore, the politics of Big-men who are a considerable distance from the ordinary people. The politics of no accountability, transparency and responsibility. Other practices in personal government are conspiracy, factional politics, clienteilism, and corruption, purges and rehabilitations and secession maneuvers. In this type of monopolistic polices, there is little or no time for the governed. When the governed, (ordinary people) are eventually remembered, a-notwell- thought of system is put in place to alleviate their sufferings. And at the end, the beneficiaries of the systems (poverty alleviation programmes) are the same big-men that the
political system is made up of. Nigerian politics since independence (perhaps with exception of the Balewa government till date have been monopolistic in practice. Hence, the lukewarm attitudes towards the impoverished majority and the badly managed programmed that supposed to alleviate their suffering.
To this end, the thrust of this research work, however, is to examine critically the efforts of Obasanjo’s Administration towards poverty alleviation between 1999 and 2007.
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