From Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
The Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, has said the 2022 National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) report showed how badly Nigeria is doing in terms of investing in the wellbeing of the people.
In a series of tweets, he noted that roughly 133 million Nigerians wre multi-dimensionally poor, representing about 63 per cent of Nigerians. He said though most of those affected are in the North, multidimensional poverty is widespread across the country, noting that the report provides some sobering facts.
“First, the rural part of Nigeria is trapped in abject poverty; second, we are leaving our children, miserable and uneducated. 27 percent of school-age children are out of school and poor, 29 percent of all school-aged children are not attending school, and 94 percent of out of school children are very poor.”
He also queried, “What future does Nigeria have without educated and happy children? What violent, nasty, and poor future are we building with such terrible lack of investment in our children”
He noted that “Multidimensional Poverty Index is the best mirror of failure of governance in the country” noting that “In spite of earning trillions in oil revenue, in spite of borrowing trillion naira for infrastructure development, almost half of Nigerians is poor and close to two-third of Nigerians do not have access to basic sanitation, access to basic education, lack basic nutrition and do not visit hospitals”
Obi described the situation as “terrible disgrace and disservice to a country with our tremendous natural and human resource”
He said the political economy of this report should be made clear to every Nigerian voter because what it simply means is that government is not working.
“It means that the state is working for the few, and not for all the citizens of the country. It means that the future is terrible for every Nigerian- young or old, rich or poor. The trending of multidimensional poverty if not arrested immediately will damage state capacity and effectiveness and therefore disarray economic and social policies that will reverse the trend in the future.”
Painting further the gloomy picture of the report Obi noted, “If we combine atrocious fiscal decline with grand and pervasive corruption and the level of incompetence of public leadership to such generalized poverty, we will end up a completely collapsed state, thrown back to state of nature”
He remarked that unless the situation is arrested, “With our population estimated to reach 400 million in the next 28 years, Nigeria would become a security risk to the entire Sub-Saharan Africa.
“This report tells a story of the failure of economic policy of government. The failure of government to invest in basic social and human infrastructure and the lack of commitment to the wellbeing of ordinary Nigerians, especially those in the rural communities is heart-breaking.
“How on earth is it that 63 percent of Nigerians do not have access to the most basic sanitation and nutrition? How come 63 percent of our citizens cannot approach a clinic or health center within two hours? The World Bank assessment of poverty in Nigeria in 2022 makes it clear that additional 5.1m Nigerians became poor this year.”