Why We Must Shift From “Palliative” To “Social Interventions”- Amb Oluwafemi

Chief Executive Officer, CEO of Africa Development Study Centre, ADSC, Ambassador Victor Walsh Oluwafemi, has adduced reasons why President Bola Tinubu should rebrand Nigeria’s social relief efforts from palliative to social interventions.

Ambassador Oluwafemi gave his reasons in an open letter he wrote to President Tinubu entitled: Rebranding Nigeria’s Social Relief Efforts: Why We Must Shift from “Palliative” to “Social Interventions” where he martialed his points on the urgent paradigm shift to social interventions from palliatives.

Hear him:

“Change is inevitable, but progress is intentional. In Nigeria, we have seen remarkable strides in political and economic reforms, particularly with the visionary leadership of President Ahmed Bola Tinubu.

” Yet, one area where I believe we can do better is how we label our social and economic relief efforts.


The Pitfalls of “Palliative”

“The term “palliative” has become synonymous with governmental and non-governmental programs aimed at providing short-term relief. Unfortunately, this term encourages a transient mindset, suggesting that these efforts are mere stopgaps and not part of a broader, sustainable strategy for improvement. This mindset is dangerous because it can deter long-term investments, both intellectual and financial, that are needed to address complex social issues.

Why “Social Interventions”?

“Social Interventions” is not just a replacement term but a paradigm shift. Unlike “palliative,” which implies a temporary measure, “Social Interventions” infuses our social and economic relief programs with a sense of permanency and strategy. This change in nomenclature can stimulate a shift in mindset from band-aid solutions to long-term planning and implementation.


Language and Policy: An Inextricable Link

“Words shape the lens through which we see the world. They mold our perceptions, influence our actions, and by extension, shape our policies. If we continually speak in terms of palliatives, we unintentionally ingrain the belief that our problems are insurmountable in the long term. However, by adopting the phrase “Social Interventions,” we encourage a culture of strategic planning and systematic change.

Aligning with President Tinubu’s Economic Vision

“The call to change our vernacular resonates with President Tinubu’s transformative economic initiatives. Since taking office, the President has been a beacon of progressive change. From lifting the visa ban with the UAE to encouraging foreign investments, President Tinubu’s economic policies aim for robust, sustainable growth. It is imperative that our social programs, and the language we use to describe them, align with this vision for a more prosperous Nigeria.

Next Steps and Public Engagement

“To bring about this critical change in discourse, I urge policymakers, non-governmental organizations, and civil society groups to adopt “Social Interventions” as the new norm. The Africa Development Study Centre will also be proactive in this regard by hosting workshops, seminars, and awareness campaigns to enlighten the public and stakeholders on the importance of this linguistic shift.

A Call for Collective Action

“The task of repositioning Nigeria as a powerhouse of social and economic stability is colossal and cannot be accomplished by one individual or entity. It requires a collective effort. I call upon all stakeholders, including political parties, business leaders, and the general public, to join hands in this national rebranding effort. Support for President Tinubu’s economic initiatives must go hand-in-hand with an internal reevaluation of how we discuss and implement social change.

“By embracing this new terminology, we can foster a mindset that is aligned with long-term solutions rather than quick fixes. Such a shift will not only be semantically significant but will also have tangible impacts on the effectiveness and reach of our social and economic programs.

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