Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate, has lamented over the 2022 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report, saying that that the report was an indication of “how badly Nigeria is doing in terms of investing in the wellbeing of the people.”
Tweeting, Obi observed that about 133 million Nigerians are multi-dimensionally poor, representing about 63% of Nigerians.
According to the LP presidential hopeful, although most of those affected are in the North, multidimensional poverty is widespread across the country. He noted that the report provides some sobering facts.
“First, the rural part of Nigeria is trapped in abject power; second, 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 of out of school children are very poor,” he said.
He also asked: “What future does Nigeria have without educated and happy children? What violent, nasty, and poor future are we building with such a terrible lack of investment in our children?”
He noted that the, “Multidimensional Poverty Index is the best mirror of failure of governance in the country” noting that “In spite of earning trillions in oil revenue, in spite of borrowing trillion naira for infrastructure development, almost half of Nigerians is 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.”
Obi described the situation as a “terrible disgrace and disservice to a country with our tremendous natural and human resources.”
He said that the political economy of this report should be made clear to every Nigerian voter because what it simply means is that the 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,” he added.
Painting further the gloomy picture of the report Obi noted, “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 a state of nature.”
He remarked that 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 entire Sub-Saharan Africa.
“This report tells a story of the failure of the economic policy of the government. The failure of the government to invest in basic social and human infrastructure and the lack of commitment to the well-being 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 5.1m Nigerians became poor this year,” he explained.
The LP candidate noted that with the report, 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.
“This is a clear indictment of the APC government and its elitist policy administration. It shows a failure to appreciate the need to refocus on social and economic policies that improve the access of the poor to basic services. It is the result of the old idea of development as contract and procurement of poorly managed big projects that feed into the bureaucracy of corruption,” he emphasised.
He said that Labor Party offers a different approach to development that emphasizes the well-being of the people and ensures that policies and resources are targeted at materially improving the well-being of everyone, not just political leaders and their cronies.
Obi said that “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.”
He promised to end the continuous failure and wickedness in high places across Nigeria and reclaim the country so that every child will have access to a good school, good drinking water, good sanitation, good healthcare, and their parents’ good jobs and 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,” he said.