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Nigeria Has No Business With Poverty

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The vast availability of human and natural resources in Nigeria is enough to shut the door permanently against poverty, but ironically, the reverse is the case.Nigeria is currently gripped by economic instability, insecurity, decaying infrastructure and poverty. Despite the fact that we are blessed with a whole lot of natural and human resources – Nigeria makes about $100 billion annually on the sale of oil alone. How do we explain this oddity? Corruption has eaten deep into our system, and has suddenly becomes a viral disease that it cure is far-fetched.

As at 2012, the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) provided data that showed that about 61% of the Nigerian population lives below the poverty line. Honestly, I wasn't shocked with this figure. Nigeria has long time ago misplaced its priority, and the only remedy and correcting factor remains the willingness of the people for a true change. Unfortunately, the Nigerian populace has been divided along ethnic and religious lines. This has paved the way for our leaders to exploit our weakness and therefore making it hard for us to dislodge them.

How long will this viral disease called corruption last? This will surely depend on our ability to withstand the tsunami of ethnic and religious divisions and begin to see Nigeria as a single entity, whose survival and greatness depends on us all.

The Nigerian democratic system is in a complete shambles, and our leaders are more of mafias than people-oriented. Every average Nigerian politician is self-centred and cares less about national development or what the future holds for our dear motherland. The youth have also fallen into a deadly trap; the leaders of tomorrow are left with no option but to queue behind and make themselves willing tools in the hands of our leaders.

I must confess that with the little I have travelled around the world, I am yet to come to term about the high rate of poverty in our country. When I looked at European countries and discover that they have little or no major natural resources, the more annoying and disgusting the whole scenario looks. Even the high rate of destruction in Europe during the Second World War could not deter development in most parts of the continent.

Some have blamed the current situation of the country on our population, a theory shared by some of our elites. Could this be true? Recently, the World Bank gave them an excuse as Nigeria, China and India were ranked among the top five countries in terms of number of poor. So this has suddenly given the economic minister and the Nigerian government the needed proof to support their failure and continue to cruise on in corruption.

China and India, have a population of 1.351 billion and 1.2 billion respectively, with much less natural resources compared to Nigeria. Yet these countries can boast of constant electricity supply, good road networks and less poverty per capital compared to Nigeria. We are endowed with huge natural and human resources that could cater well for a population of 160 million.

The point remains that until we see the need to tackle corruption with all sincerity and ensure that those who stole from the national treasury do not walk freely in our society, the situation will persist. The government said there was a lot of hype about corruption in Nigeria, I guess Robert Mugabe should have given them a reason to think twice and face the reality on ground. All hope is not lost as I have faith in the Nigerian people, and believe that the time when we will collectively fight against our common enemies is drawing close.

Comrade Ahmed OmeizaLukman
Donetsk National Technical University, Ukraine.