By Adnan Tudunwada
Controversy has trailed the release of the list of the beneficiaries of federal government’s job creation program, N-Power, after names perceived to be those of Southerners appeared on the shortlist of some Northern states.
The N-power is a federal government’s programme designed to drastically reduce number of unemployed graduates and provide qualified manpower in basic education, agriculture and healthcare sectors.
But some activists in the North faulted the shortlist of the 200,000 successful candidates, believing that it was doctored to favour Southerners.
The activists argued that in Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Borno, Zamfara, Yobe, among other states of the North, some “strange names” are replete in the list.
In Abadam Local Government Area of Borno State, some residents cried that there was a higher number of non-Indigenes than indigenes of the local government.
A youth activist, Nasir Suleiman, said natives of Abadam, a Kanuri dominated area with Fulani and Buduma people minorities, were out-numbered by non Indigenes.
“Names like Josephine Adebayo, Olywaseyi Oye, Ibe Ije, Adebisi Lawrence, Jude Okorie and Ilemiri Godson are examples of names that dominated the list of Abadam Local Government in the N-power programme,” he added.
A native of Abadam, Malam Abuy Akhuwa argued that “nowhere in Abadam one can see persons named Olywaseyi Oye, Ibe Ije, Adebisi Lawrence, Jude Okorie, etc. But these are the names we saw representing us. No! It is impossible.”
Another youth activist, Kabiru Haruna said in Bagwai Local Government of Kano State, previous reports indicated low number of application from the natives of the local government, but suddenly “some strange names” sprouted from the local government.
He added that in Kano Municipal, with its population of over 1 million, only 373 applied but more than 30% of those selected are said to be non-Indigenes.
“It will be very hard for Kano Municipal Local Government to have an Igbo or Yoruba Indigine. You can’t have a similar treatment in Imo or Bayelsa. In the whole Imo, there was not more than two Hausa people that were selected but in Jigawa alone more than a 100 non-indigenes have occupied the space of indigenes,” he added.
A Kano based lawyer, Barrister Abubakar Mujahid, said nobody will raise alarm if there was equilibrium in the distribution of the names of Northerners in the Southern states. “But one could not find a similar inclusion of Northerners in any Southern States,” he lamented.
Responding to Daily Nigerian enquiry on the matter, Laolu Akande, the spokesman of the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo said there was no cause for alarm as applicants were selected based on their place of residence not state of origin.