Clearly, there has never been a social investment program that is as transparent and federal in the history of our country like Npower. The volunteers did not pay or be connected with any high ranking government official for them to be selected. In view of this fact, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration deserves accolade for this initiation of such a distinctive program.
However, I wish to highlight some issues that have been peculiarly disturbing to the Npower volunteers. First is the incessant delay in the payment of the N30.000.00 monthly stipend. This has increasingly become worrisome this year. We use to laugh it over that in the Npower Calendar; the month runs till 35th and so. However, that of October seems never to end. We are yet to receive our stipend as I write on 28th November, 2019.
The confusing aspect of the delay is that no official statement has been released in regards to this delay safe for the social media response that keeps telling us “soon”- a parlance that we now see as an annoying cliché because we are hungry at the moment. Unfortunately, this has given room for rumor mongers to spread fear of possible termination of the program. It has been a season of trepidation to us. In fact, a visit to the various Npower Volunteer groups on Facebook will tell more.
Secondly, the delay in the implementation of the promises made in course of the program is one thing that further instills doubt in the mind of the beneficiaries. To start with, Batch Bs of the program who have stayed over a year are yet to receive their expected computer devices. Secondly, Npower introduced two competitions respectively: The Impact Series Competition which started on November, 13 2018 and the IBM Jumpstart Competition which started on June 19th to reward outstanding beneficiaries. We are yet to see the winners of these competitions even after the participants have invested much resource to partake in them. Please, are these competitions real?
Furthermore, permanency is the next level that all the beneficiaries are yearning for. The truth is if we are laid off eventually, gaps will be created in our various PPAs. To substantiate, I teach from SS1 to SS3 in my school (Community Secondary School, Obimo Nsukka.) They need me just like they need my diligent colleagues too. Possibly, leaving our fate hanging at the end of this program will tamper with its purpose of eradicating poverty and unemployment because; most beneficiaries have managed to save very little owing to the economic reality of our country at present. We (Batch A and B) desire to be absorbed into the federal civil service to consolidate our efforts at our various PPA. We don’t want to go back to the street.
Conclusively, we are very grateful to President Muhammadu Buhari for this impactful program. Please, help us further by looking into the matters raised in this submission. The process of executing a program is as important as its initiation. Our spirits are tempted to be weary owing to these challenges encountered so far. We want to be given more so that we can deliver more. Empowering the 500,000 youths across the country is indeed great but employing them will be monumental. We sincerely desire to ride on the wings of Next Level. May God bless Nigeria!
By Chinedu Song Ugwoke writes from Nsukka, Enugu State.