Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has said that Nigeria can address its present poverty challenges and improve the country’s economy if the Chinese and Indian model of focusing on the rural majority is adopted.
He said to end the increasing marginalization of the country’s rural dwellers, there ought to a change in the development policies of government that affect rural communities as much as it does urban areas and affirmed that shift would be effective in tackling poverty and inequality in the land.
Amaechi spoke while delivering the Convocation Lecture at the 49th Graduation Ceremony of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), at the weekend.
He said, “There are areas that we must address if we hope to overcome our frightening inequality and poverty. We must free our policies from an urban based focus. The poorest urban Nigerian is many times better off than the most well off rural Nigerian.
Therefore, we need to emulate the Chinese and Indian examples in focusing on the rural majority if we must end the increasing marginalization of our rural compatriots. Our current land title and tenure systems have continued to consign our rural land owners to peasant holders of acres of farmland without commercial value.”
His lecture titled: ‘Inequality and the Dignity of Man,’ evaluated the effect of such policies in other countries with once similar circumstances as Nigeria such as China, India and Brazil, stating that if it could work in those countries, then it can work in Nigeria, despite ‘our’ very peculiar situation.
The minister noted “Inequality has produced an anarchic population as life has become a scramble and a hustle among many. Poverty induced criminality has sent crime statistics through the roof nationwide resulting in the culture of perennial insecurity that now haunts the nation.”