Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said a significant proportion of Nigeria’s prosperity was concentrated in the hands of a few people.
Buhari, who stated this in Abuja while declaring open the 25th Nigeria Economic Summit (NES), with the theme ‘‘Nigeria 2050: Shifting Gears,’’ claimed the super-rich few were living in four or five states and the Federal Capital Territory, while the remaining 31 states have about 150 million people waiting for better opportunities.
The President said, “Today, many mistake prosperity with wealth. They are not necessarily the same. Experts and analysts explain economic trends by making references to indicators of wealth.
‘‘Wealth, however, in its simplistic form, is money or other assets. In recent years, global events have shown that when a society and its leaders are driven and motivated by these alone, the ultimate outcome is a divided state of severe inequalities.
“Nigeria is a country with close to 200 million people living in 36 states and the FCT. A significant proportion of Nigeria’s prosperity today is concentrated in the hands of a few people living primarily in four or five states and the FCT. Some of the most prosperous Nigerians are here in this room.
“This leaves the remaining 31 states with close to 150 million people in a state of expectancy and hope for better opportunity to thrive. This, in the most basic form, drives the migratory and security trends we are seeing today both in Nigeria and across the region.”
He said the peaceful conduct of the 2019 general election was clear proof that Nigeria’s democracy was maturing.
According to him, the resort to the rule of law by aggrieved candidates in settling disputes arising from the elections was another sign that democracy was improving.
‘‘The elections have come and gone. Our country, once again, has shown the world that we can choose our leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner. Apart from a few pockets of unrest, majority of voters exercised their civic rights without hindrance.
‘‘Furthermore, we also saw an increase in the number of aggrieved candidates, and supporters who took their concerns and grievances to the courts as opposed to the streets. This is how it should be.
‘‘Ladies and gentlemen, what this clearly shows is that our democracy is maturing,’’ he said.
President Buhari, who is attending the summit for the first time since he assumed power in 2015, said poverty reduction and inclusiveness was at the heart of the All Progressives Congress’s economic policies.
‘‘During the elections, almost all candidates proposed their vision for the economy and for the country.
Our party, the APC, put before the country policies that focus on delivering prosperity to all Nigerians through enhanced security, eliminating corrupt practices in public service, supporting sectors that will create jobs, and promoting socially-focused interventions to support the poorest and most vulnerable among us.
‘‘These areas are all interconnected and are equally important in creating a prosperous society for all.”