Better Life Programme

Better Life for Rural Women Programme; Nigerian social welfare programme of the late 1980s, conceived as a platform for addressing the needs of women from the lower economic class of the society. Wives of military governors in the various states became chairpersons of the state chapters of the BLP with the wives of local government chairpersons at the third tier of government. Considerable state resources were provided for the BLP both officially and unofficially. Government funding of the BLP nudged the activist lawyer, Gani Fawehinmi, to sue the BLP and its officials for spending public funds for private purposes. The action forced the BLP to look for other sources of fund for its activities. Many watchers of the programme, however, argued that those claims were confected and that the programme offered measly returns. On account of the lavish nature of the activities of the BLP the programme was derided as “better life for ruling women.”

When it became clear that the programme was indeed illegal, Babangida met with other members of the Armed Forces Ruling Council, AFRC, and created a ministry of women affairs. He backdated the decree, setting up the programme and appointed Bolanle Awe, a professor of History, as the head[i]. In the new century, the Better Life Programme which was Maryam Babangida’s pet project as first lady was rejuvenated and rechristened Better Life Programme for the African Rural women[ii].
[i] Tell October 30, 2000

[ii] Insider December 27, 2004

Tope Apoola
Profession: Writer