A prophecy found in God’s inspired Word, The Bible, in 2 Timothy Chapter 3, Verse 1, shows that this world is now in its “last days,” characterized by “critical times hard to deal with.”
Corroborating this prophecy, a recent Nigerian newspaper report tagged “Spotlight” (specifically in The Guardian newspaper of Thursday, June 6, 2019, page 2) reveals that the figure of extremely poor people in Nigeria has risen to 93.7 million, in 2019.
According to this report, 93,720,530 people in Nigeria now live in extreme poverty. It was first revealed in June 2018 that Nigeria had overtaken India as the nation with the highest number of people living in extreme poverty across the world, with an estimated 86.9 million Nigerians measured to be living on less than $1.90 (#684) a day.
However, according to new data from the World Poverty Clock, a web tool produced by World Data Lab, that figure has increased to 93.7 million in June 2019. According to the World Bank, a person can be said to be living below the poverty line of $1.90 per day. This implies that more than half of Nigeria’s population lives on less than a dollar a day.
This trend is expected to continue, as the World Data Lab noted that the outlook for poverty alleviation in Nigeria is weak, and that an estimated 120 million Nigerians are expected to slip into extreme poverty by 2030.
As the above-mentioned facts show, as long as the present system of human rule lasts, there would be poverty. Poverty can not be permanently eradicated by any form of human government or any economic or social system. And the record of history bears this out.
Throughout the thousands of years of human history, every type of government and every type of economic and social system has been tried, yet poverty is still with us. Indeed, in spite of progress in such areas as science, industry, and medicine, the hard fact is that worldwide the numbers of people trapped by poverty keep increasing. Despite well-meaning efforts to solve the problem, there are millions of people, not only in Nigeria, but also around the world living in poverty.
Many palliative measures have been recommended to reduce the suffering of the poor. For example, in an interesting 3-part ‘viewpoint’ column in the Vanguard newspapers, written by a prominent Nigerian, Sir Aare Afe Babalola, which was published consecutively in the Vanguard newspapers of Wednesday, December 26, 2018; January 2, 2019; and January 9, 2019; Sir Aare Afe Babalola, who is the founder of a well-known private university in Nigeria, Afe Babalola University Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), highlighted the importance of giving/generosity/philanthropy, in alleviating the suffering of the poor in Nigeria.
In a follow-up of such his columns, entitled: “Rising state of poverty – Abandonment of agriculture,” published in the Vanguard newspapers of January 16 and January 23, 2019, he cited the abandonment of agriculture, being the once mainstay of the Nigerian economy, as one of the reasons for the extreme poverty which now pervades the country.
Among other things, he stated in his writings that, “although many factors can and have been adduce as partly responsible for the state of poverty in Nigeria, what makes poverty so endemic in Nigeria is partly the poor disposition of Nigerians to giving. He said government alone cannot reasonably be expected, particularly in the light of the world’s current economic realities, to improve the quality of life of everyone to the level which most people expect. Wealth individuals can aid government in the provision of amenities of life to the less privileged. He rich in our society should imbibe the culture of giving.
Philanthropy is rooted in love and compassion; it is of immense benefit not only to the person who practices it but also to the beneficiary and the society at large. In this scenario, it is arguable that a philanthropist rather than donate some specific items to one individual should direct the resources meant for those items to the provision of a means of self employment for the proposed recipient of the items.If this is done, more persons who on the long run may be employed by the recipient as his business grows would have indirectly benefitted from a single act of philanthropy. It would have had a multiplier effect. The recipient himself would have shed the toga of dependency.”
In this regard (of philanthropy and generosity), Sir Aare Afe Babalola himself can be said to be doing very well. For example, in The Guardian of Tuesday, October 16, 2018, the management of the Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti (ABUAD), was reported to have awarded automatic employment to 72 first class graduates of the university. It was also reported that the founder of the university, Aare Afe Babalola, doled out #250,000 and a plot of land EACH to ALL the graduating students of Agriculture to start their farming projects. Such acts of generosity are certainly to be highly commended. And I am quite certain that even on more personal fronts, Sir Aare Afe Babalola has shown an exceptional spirit of kindness and generosity.
A revival of the agricultural sector in Nigeria is another suggestion that has been put forth, if any meaningful result is to be achieved in the fight against poverty and the growing divide between the rich and the poor. However, while human relief efforts have been unsuccessful in bringing the problem of poverty under control, God will give attention to the root of the problem – the tendency for selfish people and governments to look after merely their own interests.
The Bible teaches that real happiness depends not on one’s economic situation, but on one’s spiritual well-being and relationship with the Creator. “Happy are those conscious of their spiritual need,” the Bible says at Matthew 5:3. Those who understand and follow the Bible’s counsel are better equipped to deal with poverty.
God’s own inspired Word clearly teaches that there will be a complete end to poverty. The Bible explicitly promises that the King of God’s Kingdom, Jesus Christ, will compassionately address the needs of the poor. “He will rescue the poor who cry for help . . . He will have pity on the lowly and the poor, and the lives of the poor, and the lives of the poor he will save.” – Psalm 72:12-14. Focusing on such a hope can give a person the strength to endure!
Ighakpe writes from Lagos via [email protected]