An article posted by Borgen Magazine states that “Nigeria, a third world country in Africa, is known as the poverty capital of the world. The nation just exceeded India with the largest rate of people living in extreme poverty. In Nigeria, about 86.9 million people live in severe poverty, which is about 50% of its entire population.”
A lot of Nigerians live in poverty as they live on less than 1 dollar daily. The unemployment rate in Nigeria is 33.3%. What this means for a country of over 200 million people is that 66 million people are unemployed. Over 600,000 people graduate yearly from Nigeria tertiary institutions, less than 12% of the number get employed. The rest are either underemployed or unemployed.
Nigeria wasn’t always like this. What we met were the good old days. Nigeria, a once-powerful Nation, popularly referred to as the African Giant, is nothing but a shadow of herself. What went wrong? The thriving educational system, transportation system, electricity, affordable housing, good health care, available basic and social amenities, amongst other things that made Nigeria are now in a perilous state despite having oil riches.
Why Nigeria is poor
Nigeria is poor for many reasons – the following are the major destroyers of Nigeria’s economic framework.
- Corruption: This is the major reason why things have gone so bad in Nigeria – some economists have declared that corruption is one contributing factor to Nigeria’s economical problem. Most Nigerian political office holders, both past and present, have been marred with corruption allegations in the past. You can’t claim to love a country and steal from her. Corruption is present at every level – the lower class, the middle class, and the upper class. People live at the expense of others – living those in poorer communities to suffer the consequences.
- Unemployment: Only about 44.6% of young people are gainfully employed. More than half of Nigeria’s population are unemployed or underemployed. With no job to go around and the constant population increment, Nigerians keep struggling to get by. Gone are those days when a graduate is sure of getting employed after the National Youth Service Corps program. Nowadays, things aren’t as juicy as they used to be for a typical Nigerian graduate.
- Lack of Development: I am a fan of the Japanese word Kaizen – a Japanese term meaning “change for the better” or “continuous improvement.” It is a Japanese business philosophy regarding the processes that continuously improve operations and involves everyone. Kaizen sees improvement in productivity as a gradual and methodical process. Nigeria is lacking in development, and it’s not changing for the better, from insecurity to unemployment, poor health care system, poor educational system, poor transportation network, the list goes on and on. All these have reduced Nigeria from hero to zero.
Way forward for Nigeria.
Nigeria’s government had launched various campaigns to end poverty in the country, but these campaigns haven’t been effective as Nigeria’s leaders are trying to solve Nigeria’s problems with the thinking that created these problems in the first place. Up North, over 20 million children are out of school. Nigeria’s leaders will rather travel abroad for medical checkups than fix the broken health care system in Nigeria. What is the essence of a poverty alleviation campaign when you do the opposite of what you promise?
Here are 10 things Nigeria must do to end extreme poverty.
- Create jobs: Create access to jobs and improve entrepreneurship talent. Stop enacting policies that affect entrepreneurs negatively.
- Social protection system: There should be a working system that supports those who cannot support themselves.
- Invest in education: Over 12 million children are out of school, most of them are girls. Educating children has an intergenerational impact on the economy.
- Remove barriers: Grant equal access to resources and services.
- Allow access to technology and innovation: The internet has been a blessing to many youths. Stop making policies that hinder technological advancements.
- Improve food security and access to clean water: Eating three meals in a day will go a long way in reducing the chain of poverty. People need to eat and drink healthy to think and function well.
- End insecurity: The number of resources and energy being put together to fight insurgency will go a long way to develop and stimulate the economy. So many promising youths have lost their lives in the fight against insurgency.
- Invest in health care and wellbeing: A functional health care system will yield a high return to the country. The leaders with state resources travel elsewhere to access medical care, and middle-class people are left to their fate. This is wrong!
- Providing all people with access to basic social services: Education, health care, adequate food, sanitation, shelter, and clean water will help reduce extreme poverty in Nigeria.
- Empower people living in poverty: People living in poverty should be involved in the development and implementation of plans. This way, things that matter to them can be addressed – they know the pain points more than others.
Make Nigeria Great Again!
The issue of extreme poverty needs a holistic approach to be effectively curtailed. People are suffering – the future that looks bright before is now filled with uncertainty. We must work together as a nation and enough of paper patriotism. Let’s do the real work. We didn’t fight for independence only to become our own greatest Nightmare.
I believe in what Nigeria can be and the Nigerian dream. I wake up every day believing that our today will be the worst of our tomorrow. Senseless killings have to stop; we need to put an end to corruption, invest in education, and revamp our health care system. I look forward to a day when world leaders will come to Nigeria for medical checkups – a day when Nigerian Visa will be hot cake. One day!