By Peter Obi
Rural part of Nigeria is trapped in abject poverty; we are leaving our children, miserable and uneducated.
27 percent of school-age children are out of school and poor, 29 percent of all school-aged children are not attending school, and 94 percent out of school children are very poor.
The multidimensional Poverty Index is the best mirror of failure of governance in the country.
In spite of earning trillions in oil revenue, in spite of borrowing trillion naira for infrastructure development, almost half of Nigerians are poor and close to two-third of Nigerians do not have access to basic sanitation, access to basic education, lack basic nutrition and do not visit hospitals.
It is terrible disgrace and disservice to a country with our tremendous natural and human resource.
The political economy of this report should be made clear to every Nigerian voter because what it simply means is that government is not working.
It means that the state is working for the few, and not for all the citizens of the country.
It means that the future is terrible for every Nigerian – young or old, rich or poor.
The trending of multidimensional poverty if not arrested immediately will damage state capacity and effectiveness and therefore disarray economic and social policies that will reverse the trend in the future.
If we combine atrocious fiscal decline with grand and pervasive corruption and the level of incompetence of public leadership to such generalized poverty, we will end up a completely collapsed state, thrown back to state of nature.
Unless the situation is arrested, with our population estimated to reach 400 million in the next 28 years, Nigeria would become a security risk to the entire Sub-Saharan Africa.
This report tells a story of the failure of economic policy of government.
The failure of government to invest in basic social and human infrastructure and the lack of commitment to the wellbeing of ordinary Nigerians, especially those in the rural communities is heart-breaking.
How on earth is it that 63 percent of Nigerians do not have access to the most basic sanitation and nutrition? How come 63 percent of our citizens cannot approach a clinic or health center within two hours?
The World Bank assessment of poverty in Nigeria in 2022 makes it clear that additional 5.1 million Nigerians became poor this year.
Even if there was no pandemic and the war in Ukraine, Nigeria would still not have been able to reduce its poverty rate by any percentage because the policy administration has no impact on poverty.
It is now time to end politics as usual, time to disband the army of greedy and self-serving politicians in Abuja and elect those who are connected to the people and those who share the pains and deprivations of the working and unemployed youths, abandoned women and deprived children across Nigeria.
I will disrupt this trajectory of failure and wickedness in high places across Nigeria and give Nigerians back their country so that every child will have access to good schools, good drinking water, good sanitation, good health care, and their parents good jobs and the joy of being a citizen of a country that is lifting millions from poverty into shared prosperity.
If China lifted 750 million from poverty in about 20 years and if India reduced poverty from 50 percent to 20 percent in about 15 years, we could do even better.
We can wipe off multidimensional poverty in less than a decade. Let’s do it together, let us end the corruption and incompetence with our votes.
@views exclusive rights: Peter Obi, Labour Party presidential candidate in the forthcoming 2023 general election, November 25, 2022.