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Taking Cue From Obama, Nigeria Plans Big Phone Giveaway

Remember this lady?

She and her friends were going to vote for Obama because he was giving out free phones. Of course, the Democratic party did not buy phones from her but did it matter? She got a phone and she was voting for the guy who got it for her.

Today the BBC is reporting that a political party in Nigeria wants to give out free phones to country’s poor.  According to the agriculture minister the phones will be paid for by a tax and given to women and rural farmers.

Like the Lifeline program the phones may not be directly handed out by politicians but one has to wonder how many will believe they’re getting their free phone courtesy of the political party currently in office?

BBC: All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) General Secretary Tijani Tumsa said the plan was a “mischievous vote-catching exercise” for the 2015 elections. Last week, the agriculture minister said the phones would help farmers “drive an agriculture revolution”. Akinwumi Adesina said their purchase would be financed 100_0875through a tax. He denied reports that the government had already set aside $400m (£249m) to buy the phones.

Mr Tumsa told the BBC’s Focus on Africa programme the scheme was a ploy by the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to “connect” with voters in rural areas in the build-up to elections. He said he doubted the plan would boost the farming sector. “You are just creating business for the telecom companies. You are not impacting on agricultural production in Nigeria, unless the purpose is to have more phone coverage,” Mr Tumsa added.

Defending the scheme, Mr Adesina said Nigeria had the highest number of mobile phones in Africa – an estimated 110 million – but many Nigerians in rural areas did not have them.

Read the complete article at the BBC News.

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