The latest data from Brookings suggests Nigeria has the poorest people in the world. We took this position from India, with the figures stating Nigeria has 87 million poor people compared to India’s 73 million. .The federal government has come out to dismiss these claims as per usual.
It is sad how the government is not taking on its responsibility. I have to point out that whilst this government did meet challenges, their response has been nothing short of catastrophic.
It is telling that the richest man on earth Bill Gates had to tell our government that they need to invest more in human capital. And what did we have shortly after he left? The same government claimed that the ERGP actually did address what Bill Gates said and he was merely being misquoted.
Do we need foreigners to actually tell us the right things to do to grow our nation? Do we go on the defense anytime we are presented with facts? The undoing of this government would be its undeterred belief that they are the best thing since butter and bread, and failing to see the reality on ground; the country has never had it this worse.
Let us examine this new claim and the government’s response and the reality we have on ground.
The report titled ‘The Start of a New Poverty Narrative,’ released recently states that data from January 1 2016 to July 2018 suggests that there are 87 million people in extreme poverty in Nigeria, with an average of 6 people being poor every minute.
Further studies show that “by the end of 2018 in Africa as a whole, there will probably be about 3.2 million more people living in extreme poverty than there are today”.
We are being presented with facts and you have to ask what the Institution stands to gain from this report? Political gains? Or what? I am inclined to believe this report.
Federal Government’s Response
On the 27th of June, the federal government issued a response through the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Okechukwu Enelamah, who painstakingly wanted to point out that the data used to come to this conclusion was sourced during the recession. According to him, “we need to understand when we get these reports, there are reports that are lagging in indicators which means, people are reporting on history”.
He further stated that “So, I think we should roll up our sleeves as a people and do the work because, if we don’t do it, our people continue to bear children obviously, they would get poorer.”
I must say this response was not well thought out. Even data from the National Bureau of Statistics states that unemployment has increased from 14.2 % to 18.8%. All indices so far aside from that of unemployment shows that the country just might have the poorest people in the world.
The reality on ground
We have a government that is filled with sycophants, hypocrites and praise singers. They are so blinded to the poverty in the land and refuse to accept the honest truth that the present government only made things worse. With inflation still at 11.61% and prices of goods and services still on the high side, it is safe to say we might be the poor capital of the world. We must also disregard the belief and narrative from some quarters stating things must get tough before they get better. With the peculiarity of our nation, things must not get tough before they get better, history has shown things only get worse from thereon.