It is a truism that no society grows beyond the reasoning of its inhabitants. Inhabitant (either as resident or citizen) who shapes and directs the affairs of the society through debates, analyses and constructive criticisms. Citizens who are imbued  with the ability to use their sophisticated reasoning and see to the betterment of the society.

Citizens are products of a community: it is an aggregation of different families that formed a society. It can therefore be rightly concluded that every society is a product of how each family through the community wants it to be; a society is a conglomeration of individuals with different perceptions of what factors make a society strong. It is therefore not out of place to say that a society is a reflection of how high or low its members think.

It is in line with the above positions that one feels the need to straighten some illogical comparison and pontifications on an aspect of the Kwara State Special Intervention Programme, Owo Arugbo. 

Owo Arugbo to some analysts is not different from what was done under previous administration when older women and sometimes men used to assemble at the GRA residence of the Late Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, who strategically gathered them, feed them and handed out varying sums of money (#200, 500, etc.) anytime he came visiting. On this practice, this writer may not have enough facts to condemn or recommend the practice, however this writer is not too young to provide some unassailable facts that make that practice retrogressive, demeaning  and uncivilized.

Thus, it is incontrovertible that people all over the world, especially government and those who are well-to-do, do roll or dole out programmes to assist the downtrodden, brush them up and bail them out of destitution. This common act depends on how civilized or otherwise those doling out these programmes and policies are, and the level of reasoning of both the citizens and residents who are the beneficiaries of such programmes and policies. Where citizens and residents are civilized, and where citizens possessed the right aptitude to query any programme or policy that is shallow, slavish and unsustainable; the society benefits better. The reverse is also the case where the citizens are complacent, reticent and clueless about what they want; and how they want them.  

Candidly, the recently introduced KWASSIP Programme "Owo Arugbo"  is a clear indication that the State of harmony is on the right course. It is also a departure from what was practised in the past, no matter how some analysts and pessimists view it. 

There is no gainsaying that the past system dwells on entrapping citizens with stipends in a demeaning fashion. Yes, it is demeaning. And I doubt that there was/ is any state in Nigeria where such is practised: No state in Nigeria elevate a system (is it really a system or practice) that subjects women to such  dehumanizing conditions in the name of eating few morsels or eba, Pofu-Pofu and #500.

This writer is bewildered when some armchair critics, paid analysts and journalists with jejune ideas were criticizing a better approach to poverty alleviation(when compared with what was), when in their bid to sound convincing, they dwelt on comparing the incomparable. In this way, their comparing the incomparable under whatever guise is akin to promoting a practice that  is uncivilized over a more civilized one. This to some onlookers is tantamount to standing logic on the head. 

 A critical juxtaposition of what was with what is, shows clearly that the present administration in the state stands on more focused ground than whatever the destructive critics may want us to see. Some of their arguments that formed the basis for criticizing the KWASSIP *Owo Arugbo* programme are too watery to be debated by progressive kwarans. Having said this, we also need to be careful to avoid losing sight of some of their observations that worth debating. Issues like the amount each beneficiary are to collect monthly (#3000), that the government has plan to pay two months in lump sum (#6000). On this, it is true that the amount is low when we placed it viz-a-viz the current economic realities in the country, but this must not take us away from the spirit behind the policy (remove my people from abject poverty that makes them prone to demeaning treatments). We must also not be too sentimental to forget how hard the time we are in is, how hard it has become for some of us to play our roles in both our nuclear and extended family. This, one needs to note, is not only caused by our laziness but also by some extraneous factors that bedevilled our moves to make life better for our family and friends: unemployment, underemployment, and incessant fluctuation of our currency that had curtailed the purchasing power of our daily/ weekly/monthly earnings. 

On a more serious note, there are myriad of factors that are impending individual's capacity to act as his or her brother's keeper. It is these factors that are making the sum of #3,000 or #6,000 a huge amount, especially when it is coming from an usual quarter: a quarter that has always exploited citizens' and residents' vulnerability to poverty to exploit and demean them.  

I therefore urge all Kwarans to wean themselves from destructive criticisms in our bid to compare the incomparable, and make a none existent political statement out of every government programme and policy. We need to realize that every society is a product of how deep and civilized the citizens and residents examine issues, and how well they are able to put forward an alternative that can comfortably compete or defeat the alternatives  been examined at every point of their march towards a superior civilization.


AbdulMaliq Mopelola is the Coordinator of the Women Wing, Kwara Must Change

She can be reached via her email: mopelolamaliq @gmail.com.

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