By Sunday Ani
As the 2023 general election inches closer, the International Organisation for Food, Shelter and Empowerment (IOFSE) has asked those that would emerge as leaders at all levels to address the issues of poverty and other forms of deprivation in Nigeria.
The Executive Director of IOFSE, Ambassador Declan Okwudiri Oguine, gave the advice in Ideato, Imo State while speaking on the forthcoming elections starting from February 25, 2023.
It would be recalled that the National Bureau of Statistics in November 2022, disclosed that 133 million Nigerians, representing 63 per cent of the population, are multi-dimensionally poor.
The NBS said the huge number of poor people in the country was caused by a lack of access to good health, and education, poor living standards, unemployment and insecurity.
According to the World Bank, Nigeria’s poverty exceeds the global projection, making it the poverty capital of the world.
Giving more insights into the poverty level in Nigeria and the interventions of the global organisation, Chief Oguine said they have no interest in partisan politics, but stressed that IOFSE is purely concerned about the needless ugly situation Nigerians are facing. He added that with the huge human and material resources available in the county, Nigerians have no reason to wallow in poverty and acute suffering as it has been the case over the years.
He noted that none of the administrations that had governed Nigeria in the past had been able to find a lasting solution to the malaise of poverty, unemployment, lack of shelter, and quality education among others.
The IOFSE boss, however, acknowledged that there have been laudable attempts by a few ministries and agencies in the past and present to address the issues, but their efforts have not yielded the expected results.
He posited that in spite of the campaign promises of the candidates for the office of the president, governors and lawmakers at all levels, the incoming leaders should take the battle of confronting poverty and empowerment of the people as their first-line charge.
“What we believe at IOFSE is that ending poverty, which means crafting and deploying policies that would empower the people to make them self-sufficient and employ others, should be the number one concern of the incoming administration at all levels.
“The above should be seen as an emergency because almost every other aspect of governance is tied to poverty and deprivation. Deprivation and the pressure that comes with it is one of the major causes of insecurity and crimes,” he stated.
The IOFSE Executive Director who noted that the programme coincided with the organisation’s annual distribution of palliatives and empowerment, said it has become unavoidable to distribute food, materials for shelter and money for empowerment to individuals and communities, as a way of intervention to alleviate the palpable sufferings that are obvious everywhere.
“Within the yuletide alone, we distributed 650 bags of rice, cooking materials and cash for empowerment in Ideato community alone. We did the same thing in some other parts of Imo State. We have sent many students to top-class universities in Nigeria and abroad, especially in science and technology, as well as constructed technical colleges to equip young people with the necessary skills to face the future,” he said.
He also urged the people to go and get their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs) in order to vote for candidates of their choice.