Obviously worried by the classification of Nigeria as the poverty capital of the world, President Muhammadu Buhari has asserted that the All Progressives Congress-led federal government can move 100 million Nigerians out of poverty within 10 years. The World Poverty Clock had revealed that 91.8 million people in Nigeria now live in extreme poverty and this number could rise to over 200 million by 2030.
Buhari’s optimism is, indeed, quite exciting as it implies that 10 million Nigerians will be lifted out of poverty every year with a cumulative effect that by 2028 no Nigerian will be poor thereby exiting Nigeria from the world’s poverty index.
In his Democracy Day address in Abuja on June 12, President Buhari said data bases of poor and vulnerable Nigerians, as well as that of unemployed youths, were being developed by the federal government to address the problem of socio-economic inequality in the society.
“In the face of these challenges, our government elected by the people in 2015 and re-elected in March has been mapping out policies, measures and laws to maintain our unity and at the same time lift the bulk of our people out of poverty and onto the road to prosperity.
“This task is by no means unattainable. China has done it. India has done it. Indonesia has done it. Nigeria can do it. These are all countries characterised by huge burdens of population. China and Indonesia succeeded under authoritarian regimes. India succeeded in a democratic setting. We can do it.
“With leadership and a sense of purpose, we can lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years”,he said.
Buhari, who pledged to move the nation to the next level of prosperity, peace and stability, reassured that his administration would fulfil its promise to secure the country, improve the economy and fight corruption to a standstill.
“At the heart of inequality and insecurity, is pervasive corruption. When we took office we realised that if you fight corruption, corruption will fight back– and we have seen this at all levels.
“For Nigeria to progress, a collective resolution to address corruption and foster broad-based prosperity is required to create a country that is not only for a few privileged but for all Nigerians”, he said.
The president, who spoke extensively on the menace of social unrest occasioned by the activities of Boko Haram and kidnappers across the country, said he would be addressing regional security summit to develop a joint strategy to address the security challenges. He also announced the re-naming of the Abuja National Stadium to MKO Abiola National Stadium.
According to him, for Nigeria to progress, a collective resolution to address corruption and foster broad-based prosperity is required to create a country that is not only for a few privileged but for all Nigerians.
“This charge is not only to civil servants, ministers, legislators and state government functionaries but also to corporate leaders. We shall make greater investments in our rural economies. We shall aggressively source locally our raw materials. We have incentives for investments specifically made in rural communities”, he said.
Towards achieving the objective of eradicating poverty from Nigeria, President Buhari said he would assemble a strong team to implement the policies and programmes of his administration.
“Over the next four years, we are committed to assembling a strong team of Nigerians, and allies, to implement our transformative plans and proposals. We will see significant focus, resource and, where necessary, reform in tertiary and technical education to reposition Nigeria’s workforce for the modern technological age.
“Despite the challenges over the last four years, my optimism about Nigeria’s future is unshaken and Nigeria’s role in the world as an emerging economic force is without a doub”, he said.
Buhari said the principal thrust of his second term would be to consolidate on the achievements of the last four years, correct the lapses inevitable in all human endeavours and tackle the new challenges the country is faced with and chart a bold plan for transforming Nigeria.
The World Poverty Clock report released on June 5, 2019, shows that 91,885,874 (46.5 per cent) of the 200 million people in Nigeria now live in extreme poverty. According to the World Bank, a person can be said to be living in extreme poverty if they live below the poverty line of $1.90 (N693.5) per day.
In June 2018, the World Poverty Clock had named Nigeria the poverty capital of the world with statistics showing 87 million people live in poverty. The latest numbers indicate that since June 2018, four million Nigerians have joined the poverty club occasioned by factors such as unemployment, insecurity, among others.
The Nigerian government had rejected the June 2018 statistics which solidified Nigeria’s position as the world poverty capital of the world despite world leaders such as Theresa May quoting the statistics to talk about poverty in Nigeria.
It is, therefore, heartwarming and highly commendable that the next level government of President Buhari will focus on the eradication of poverty in Nigeria. While we agree that this feat is feasible and achievable, it is expedient to advice the federal government to ensure that the modalities for its attainment are entrenched and meticulously implemented.