The belief by some Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari would wave a magic wand to mollify and make all their problems disappear, in his first term, was shattered when the World Poverty Clock, created by Vienna-based World Data Lab, stated that about 91.16 million Nigerians were living below a dollar a day in February 13, 2019.
This was in consonance with the hypothetical conclusion of the former British Prime Minister Theresa May, who said that Nigeria had become home to the largest number of very poor people in the world, putting the figures at 87 million.
Her words, “Much of Nigeria is thriving, with many individuals enjoying the fruits of a resurgent economy, yet 87 million Nigerians live below $1 and 90 cents a day, making it home to more very poor people than any other nation in the world,” the UK prime minister had said.”
In June 2018, the Brookings Institution projected that Nigeria had overtaken India, as the poverty capital of the world, with 86.9 million extremely poor people.
In view of these unchallengeable statistics, some Nigerians have gone to both traditional and social media to submit their consternation, noting that Buhari should do something to change the living condition of an average Nigerian.
Captured by their statements, the social media aide to President Muhammadu Buhari, Lauretta Onochie, Saturday reeled out reasons why Buhari could not placate poverty in his first term.
She said that former President Olusegun Obasanjo of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, presided over poverty in Nigeria. While Former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, of same party inherited Poverty in Nigeria from Ex Pres. Obasanjo, before, President Buhari inherited at least, 14 years of poverty in Nigeria.
However she noted through her tweeter handle that “No one can wipe Poverty that was entrenched and nurtured for 14yrs in 4 years”.
Recall that Buhari in his first term campaign promised to;
- Maintain sound Micro and macro-economic policy environment, and run an efficient government and preserve the independence of the Central Bank;
- Restore financial confidence in the citizens and the world, by putting in place a more robust monitoring, supervising, and regulating of the financial institutions;
- Make our economy one of the fastest growing emerging economies in the world with a real GDP growth averaging at least 10-12% annually
- As at 1999, Nigerian rate of unemployment stood at about 8%, today it is estimated from official statistics to be close to 30%. I will embark on vocational training, entrepreneurial and skills acquisition scheme for graduates along with the creation of Small Business Loan Guarantee Scheme to create at least 5 million new jobs by 2019. A Small and Medium Enterprises Development Commission will be created for this purpose. I will also encourage State Governments to focus on employment creation, by matching everyone job created in the same state.
- Integrate the informal economy into the mainstream and prioritize the full implementation of the National Identification Scheme to generate the relevant data;
- Expand domestic demand and will undertake associated public works programmes to achieve this goal;
- Embark on export and production diversification including investment in infrastructure; promote manufacturing, through Agro Based industries; and expand and promote sub-regional trade through ECOWAS and AU;
- Make Information Technology, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Entertainment key drivers of our economy, by reviewing the present reward system, which is based on certification, to that based on skills, competencies, and performances;
- Balance the Nigerian economy across regions by the creation of 6 Regional Economic Development Agencies (REDAs) to act as sub-regional hubs in order to promote healthy regional competitiveness; Put in place a N300bn Regional Growth Fund with an average of N50bn in each geo-political region; to be managed by the REDAs, to encourage private sector enterprise and to support places currently reliant on only on the public sector, to migrate to a private sector reality”.
Mr. President is really trying but Nigerians need more from him.