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Poverty eradication through leaders’ good faith

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“The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find himself in places no one has ever seen before,”—Albert Einstein

Successful governance isn’t an accident. It requires vision, intention and ideological action. Which is why prosperity among people in a nation doesn’t come cheap. It must be planned. When a leader and his team have a predetermined goal, they can only create poverty for themselves and their country. Thus, poverty is often the consequence of choices made by governments. Over time, poverty is the only thing governments can tolerate for any length of time. In a country where poverty reigns, it means their government has failed in their obligation to prosper the people.

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In their book: The origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty; Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson argue that nations are rich or poor depending on the political and economic institutions operating in those countries. The authors maintain that the prosperity of a nation is dependent on the belief system, the incentives granted to businesses and the integrity of the politicians operating in that country. Religious and ethnic conflicts also hinder the economic prosperity of a country.

Most nations started poor. But through the transformation of economies by economic growth planning, many countries progressively moved away from poverty into prosperity. Some world leaders have in the past deliberately created poverty in their countries as politically expedient actions devoid of morality. For example the German dictator, Adolf Hitler saw nothing wrong in the killing of millions of Jews in his quest to dominate Europe. In the same way Boko Haram and bandits are killing and kidnapping Nigerians now in order to dominate the country.

Before World War 11, the leader of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin, set in motion events designed to destroy, depopulate and cause famine in Ukraine, an enclave seeking independence from the Soviet Union then. As a result, more than seven million Ukrainians perished in the ensuing famine, in an area which was the breadbasket of Europe at that time. The people were denied food they had grown with their own hands. In four years of his tenure, Pol Pot brought pain, sorrow and poverty to Cambodia the type of which had never been seen before. The combined effects of his forced labour, malnutrition and poor medical care resulted in the death of more than 25 percent of the people of Cambodia. It was estimated that more than eight million people died. We could be counting something similar after eight years of Buhari’s tenure in 2023.

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According to Acemoglu and Johnson, the authors aforementioned, economic growth and prosperity are associated with inclusive growth planning. Such planning creates institutions that determine the incentives for businesses.

The authors in citing examples of how inclusive growth planning makes the difference, cited Nogales county in Arizona, USA which is prosperous as against Nogales Sonora in Mexico which is poor. Nogales is a city divided into two, one is in Mexico, the other half is in the USA. Other contrasts between poverty and prosperity are rich South Korea versus poverty stricken North Korea; one country divided into two as a result of the Korean war.

“The economic disaster in North Korea which led to the starvation of millions, when contrasted with the South Korean economic prosperity is striking; neither culture nor geography can explain the divergent paths of North and South Korea, we have to look at institutions for an answer.” so say the authors of ‘Why nations fail.’ Thus, Nigeria’s prosperity can be found in the ideological foundations of our political parties. We only need to imitate both Britain and the United States. We need to go back to the British social democratic tradition and ideology to thrive.

For example the British Labour Party -was founded on the liberal and social democratic traditions of the British people. It supports the redistribution of wealth, progressive taxation, limited power of the state. It emphasizes the linkage between liberty and equality, which is why it promotes civil liberty and regional economic planning for inclusive growth and economic diversity. In contrast to our lack of morality and the absence of ideology in our political party system; ethical political ideology has evolved in Britain for centuries, making modifications unlikely.

Which is why it is uncommon for members of one political party to switch allegiances. This is why there is a place for morality in politics.

Therefore, our indifference to ideology, morality and integrity, is responsible for our poverty. Until we straighten from this crookedness, we are unlikely to be able to grow an inclusive and prosperous economy.

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Government everywhere is about making the citizen prosperous. Which is why the Nigerian National Anthem calls on every Nigerian to obey the call for patriotism and nation building. The Nigerian government must be seen to be loyal to the nation rather than to a tribe. The refusal to enlarge the police, and create the Nigeria National Guard to tackle kidnapping and banditry is unpatriotic. It leaves much to be desired.

The government of this country must be seen to be about improving the security and living conditions of the people.

The Billions of Naira paid kidnappers so far are more than enough to bankroll half a million policemen to combat the menace of kidnapping and banditry. The insincerity, immorality and lack of patriotism exhibited by our leaders makes nonsense of their faith in God. From their behavior in life and governance our ruling elite neither believe in God nor practice any godly religion. Our politicians must observe the sacredness of their election promises.

They’re accountable to the people as they must give accounts of their stewardship. Nigerian politicians must stop practising politics without morality. Giving kidnappers money without working for it is causing inflation and making Nigerians poorer than Buhari met them.

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