For APC, multidimensional poverty has no outrage
Less than 80 days to the 2023 Elections, the stats are not adding up for APC. Such discrepancies in figures are pushing the nation towards an apocalypse, and the pain is unbearable. The irony is that Nigerians seem to be dead to this pain inflicted by the ruling party, so dead that they cannot struggle to extricate themselves from the looming doomsday not so far away.
Where there should be outrage, there is a certain nonchalant attitude of we-have-seen-this-before, and this, too, shall pass. No, you haven’t seen this before and it may not pass except Nigerians wake up and work to avoid the Armageddon we have attracted to ourselves.
A nation which has previously suffered economic poverty and deprivation with about 100 million people living on less than $1.9 a day, making her the poverty capital of the world, having taken over from India, has been plunged into multidimensional poverty; poor all round. The figures stand at a staggering 133 million of the population which is variously estimated at over 214 million. Always estimates. Everything.
These are no political figures but figures coming out of the vault of the APC which has always bragged of how well they have performed to put the nation on the path to sustainable growth. The figures came from a survey conducted by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Social Safety-Nets Coordinating Office (NASSCO), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI).
The Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) survey looked at poverty on the spectra of deprivations across health, education, living standards, security, unemployment and shocks. November 17, 2022, the various teams presented a harmonised damning report which found Nigeria wanting in the scale and affirmed that 63 per cent of the country folks are poor, making them provocative habitants under the aforementioned disreputable umbrellas.
“Over half of the population of Nigeria are multidimensionally poor and cook with dung, wood or charcoal, rather than cleaner energy. High deprivations are also apparent nationally in sanitation, time to healthcare, food insecurity and housing,” the report said.
Mind you, this is not stone age period but the Nigeria of today. Thankfully, the Nigerian government was part of the launch to crunch the figures for themselves. The head of government, President Muhammadu Buhari, was represented at the launch by the Chief of Staff, Prof Ibrahim Gambari.
It was a season of new lows but nobody seems to care. A day of very depressing information which overwhelms the senses but the people have become so vulnerable that they have accepted helplessness as reality. Really, the blame shouldn’t fall on them wholly but should be ascribed to those who promised but have completely turned their backs.
The National Poverty Reduction with Growth Strategy (NPRGS) steering committee was inaugurated in June last year with a commitment to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in ten years.
“I wish to restate my commitment that getting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty is realisable. The country is robustly blessed with good weather conditions, good soil, human and material capacity, and resilience to make a difference by all the hardworking youths,“ President Buhari said in a statement released by spokesperson, Garba Shehu, at the commissioning of the first National Agricultural Land Development Authority (NALDA) Integrated Farm Estate in Suduje-Daura, Katsina.
Good words, lofty promises and assurances as they have always done. The APC campaigned in 2015 to come into government, to rule the nation and wish away every evil that has ever troubled Nigeria. We shall fix the roads. Insecurity will be a thing of the past. Electricity will be available and Nigerians shall be happy once more. Just like that promise to lift 100 million out of poverty.
In the days leading up to the 2023 elections, the campaigns are on and the APC candidate, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has hit the road and the air, declaring it’s his turn to rule Nigeria. While in one breath, he says he will sustain the legacy of the present administration, when the occasion suits him, he declares that, he is Tinubu, and he wants to rebuild Nigeria as he built Lagos.
But in this part of the world where very little things give the people joy, Lagos remains a point of reference, which is what Tinubu continues to enjoy without referring to himself as an opulent beneficiary of the state. There were great leaders and governors of Lagos before Tinubu, there have been some more after him, and many more will follow to steer the state to a kind of greatness that will attract the people back to the state once more.
In the heat of the campaign it will be good to look at the figures. The promise to remove a 100 million people from poverty in 10 years has plummeted to plunging about 133 million Nigerians into multidimensional poverty in just over a year. What this means therefore is that APC has ruined every vestige of inheritance received from the PDP, while not putting measures in place to improve the situation.
Figures don’t lie, otherwise APC would wave a magic wand and invoke abracadabra. But the figures from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) will remain the same, and they as follows: inflation rate is 21.09 per cent, and food inflation is 23.72 per cent. 40 per cent of Nigerian youths are unemployed and restless while public universities were shut for eight months this year with a majority of the students forced to roam the streets. Even now the university education system operates in fits. For most of the students at home, their parents cannot also go to the farms or they get killed by bandits.
It thus become more worrisome that within this period that more people are falling into multidimensional poverty, NASSCO claimed it spent a whole of $700m from the repatriated Abacha loot on over 1.9 million poor and vulnerable households across the nation. Who collected what and what impact have such monies made in the life of the people? The truth is needed for a sustained existence of that organisation.
A number of people I know say it beats every shred of imagination that the party that has plunged the nation into multidimensional poverty could be so loud in mounting campaigns as if it has not done enough damage to the country.
Situated against the canvass of the APC performance in the past seven years, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, presents a season of hope. Apart from ‘My Covenant with Nigerians’ which he unveiled to Nigerians months ago, Atiku comes with experience, having been the Vice President at a time the nation recorded a lot of upward movements and global recognition, age – not to take rash decisions, a good business acumen, which makes him a good business man with recognisable adressesses, and a national acceptance, which makes him very comfortable anywhere in the country, working in the main, with people of diverse ethnic nationality.
The very unfortunate thing here is that APC has weaponized poverty. It is our prayer that the people will remember this ugly reality, refuse to accept crumbs as payments for votes, and vote them out immediately. The nation has suffered enough under this government.
Selomo writes from Lagos