Betta Edu and the murky waters of Nigerian politics

By Olatunji Kuforiji 

When at 36, Dr Betta Edu was made the minister of humanitarian affairs and poverty alleviation, this first female minister from Cross River State, and the youngest minister in the country should have known that "uneasy lies the head that wears the crown".

Though success is no accident, the zeal, ingenuity, dedication and commitment that brought in the new minister whom Nigerians acclaimed tick all the boxes in terms of brilliance, political activism, beauty and the willpower to succeed as a member of the federal executive council might not be enough to survive in the murky waters of Nigerian politics except the people whom she is serving decides to stand with her at this time. 

Identified by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu in tandem with his promise that women and youths would play significant roles in his administration, the appointment of Dr Edu was seen as a beacon of hope for the youth and she did not just have the position thrusted upon her. 

Dr Edu's appointment as a member of the team to pilot the affairs of the nation, is not only through hardwork, patriotism and commitment but a demonstration of the President’s resolve to get qualified, properly schooled, persons of great character and integrity who are committed to the development of the Country on board.

This explains why in less than six months Dr. Edu has emerged as a formidable force with her performance echoing the aspirations of the “Renewed Hope Agenda” with remarkable precision.

One area where Minister Betty Edu has excelled is in the transformation of the education sector. Recognizing the vital role that education plays in national development, she has implemented innovative policies aimed at improving access to quality education for all Nigerians.  Programs like the Girl Education Project and the Back-to-School Campaign prioritize access to quality education, particularly for girls and children in conflict-affected areas, breaking the cycle of poverty and fostering long-term social mobility.

There has been a significant increase in investment in infrastructure, teacher training programs, and the provision of modern teaching materials. These efforts have resulted in improved educational outcomes and have set a solid foundation for the future of Nigerian youth.

Dr Betty Edu’s commitment to gender equality and youth empowerment is evident in her tireless advocacy and implementation of programs that uplift these marginalized groups. She has championed initiatives that promote women’s participation in leadership positions, economic empowerment, and access to essential services. The Minister spearhead initiatives tailored to support specific groups facing unique challenges. Additionally, she has spearheaded youth-focused programs aimed at equipping the younger generation with the necessary skills and opportunities to thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Noting the inextricable link between health and poverty alleviation, Dr. Edu has prioritized accessible healthcare and improved nutrition. Mobile clinics have been deployed to remote areas, and partnerships with health agencies have strengthened primary healthcare delivery. Additionally, nutrition programs like the School Feeding Programme ensure children receive essential nutrients for optimal development. Her pragmatic approach has resulted in tangible improvements in healthcare delivery and outcomes across the country.

Dr. Edu champions peacebuilding initiatives. Engagement with conflict-affected communities, promoting dialogue and reconciliation, lays the groundwork for sustainable development and lasting peace.

She came up with a suitable program where she oversaw the expansion of existing cash transfer programs like the Household Uplifting Programme (HUP) and Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT). This ensured increased reach and impact, directly alleviating the burdens of millions struggling with poverty and food insecurity. She ensures that interventions are responsive to local needs and empower communities to be drivers of their own development.

Betty Edu’s tenure as a minister has witnessed a remarkable focus on infrastructure development. She has played a pivotal role in facilitating strategic partnerships and securing investments for critical infrastructure projects across various sectors. Her efforts have resulted in improved transportation networks, power supply, and the modernization of key facilities, thereby creating an enabling environment for economic growth and development. Her role in addressing poverty and humanitarian issues continues to be a critical element of Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape. The question then is, should a good brain and commited individual like Betta Edu be sacrificed on the alter of politics and unhealthy bickering? 

While one would have expected praises and commendation, Dr Edu's name in the murky politics of the country has been all over Nigerian news sites over the transfer of public funds into private account without considering the achievements and good intentions. 

Thank God the document being paraded showed that the payment of the N585.198 million grant did not go into her personal account and it was meant for vulnerable groups in Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Ogun, and Lagos states. 

Though with all her achievements in the little space, one would not have expected a free ride where many others are eyeing the enviable position. 

However, we as a people must be very cautious, because when an official letter leaks into the public, we must realise the bad intent to tarnish another's persons image or crucify such person. Can we then continue to destroy our good hands? For what motive and to which end? Why do we sacrifice our public officials on the alter of dirty politics? 

"Success they say is Not Final, Failure is Not Fatal: it is the Courage to Continue that Counts", with this quote by Winston Churchill  may God Almighty give Dr Betta Edu the courage to survive and do more for Nigeria.


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