It is indeed very interesting data coming from the “Nigeria Country Briefing” in the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index, released by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) 2015. The index measures acute poverty in over 100 countries. It could also be a measure of elite greed, insensitivity and irresponsibility in governance. It is particularly so in Nigeria.
The report employs three measuring dimensions: education, health and standard of living from which 10 weighted indicators are drawn. These are: Years of schooling, school attendance, child mortality, nutrition, electricity, sanitation, water, floor, cooking fuel and assets.
The report defines a multidimensionally poor person as one deprived of at least a third of the weighted indicators. Nigeria’s Poverty Shame: The report puts the rate of Nigeria’s incidence of the multi-dimensionally poor at an alarming 53.3%, which is over half of its population or more than 80 million people. The incidence rate of this dirt poverty occurrence is put at 28.1% in urban areas and a horrendously high 70% rate in the country’s rural areas. Nigeria is killing its rural citizens with poverty. CRY FOR THE STATES: The table below shows the rates and ranking of the incidence of the multidimensionally poor in Abuja and all the 36 states of Nigeria.
1. Zamfara 91.9%,2. Yobe 90.2%,3. Jigawa 88.4%,4. Bauchi 86.6%,5. Kebbi 86.0%,6. Sokoto 85.3%,7. Katsina 82.2%,8. Taraba 77.7%,9. Gombe 76.9%,10. Kano 76.4%,11. Bornu 70.1%,12. Niger 61.2%,13. Benue 59.2%,14. Adamawa 59.0%,15. Kaduna 56.5%,16. Ebonyi. 56.0%,17. Nassarawa 52.4%,18. Plateau 51.6%,19. Cross River 33.1%,20. Oyo 29.4%,21. Bayelsa 29.0%,22. Enugu 28.8%,23. Ondo 27.9%,24. Ogun 26.4%,25. Kogi 26.1%,26. Delta 25.1%,27. Akwa Ibom 23.8%,28. Kwara 23.7%,29. FCT Abuja 23.5%,30. Rivers 21.1%,31. Abia 21.0%,32. Imo 19.8%,33. Edo 19.2%,34. Ekiti 12.9%,35. Anambra 11.2%,36. Osun 10.9%,37. Lagos 8.5%.
Analysis of the table is very revealing. It shows the following troubling and sad realities: A benumbing total of 15 northern states lead the table with the highest incidence of multidimensional poverty in Nigeria. * Even northern states like Kano. Katsina, Kaduna and Borno which feature among the top ten states with the highest federation account allocations rank among the states with the highest incidence of poverty. Katsina is 7th with an incidence rate of 82.2%, Kano is 10th with 76.4%, Borno is 11th with 70.1% and Kaduna is 15th with 56.5%. This shows that poverty is not a consequence of levels of federal account allocations but mismanagement or corruption.
•op federal allocation states like Akwa Ibom, Delta, Rivers and Bayelsa featured high incidences of poverty despite their large allocations. Aqua Ibom State stands at 27th with 23.8% incidence rate, Delta is 26th with 25.1%, Bayelsa is 21st at 29% while Rivers is 30th at 29.1%. Where therefore is all the money these four states collected from the center.
• It is interesting that states like Ekiti, Osun and Anambra with low federal allocations post low incidences of the multidimensionally poor. Ekiti State has just 12.9%, Osun State shines at 10.9% while Anambra is only 11.2%. Ask the name of the immediate past governor of Anambra State. Why have these three states done well? All three states rank very high in literacy. Lesson: If you afford education to citizens, they become assets and poverty drops.
• Lagos of course has the lowest incidence of multidimensional poverty not because of high federal allocation but the preponderance of industry, business and opportunities available for hard working citizens. The State has also been blessed with great governors, not least the highly respected Alhaji Lateef Jakande. Lesson: Governors must develop their local productive capacities instead of depending on federal allocations which they loot anywhere.
• The most interesting case is that of Zamfara State in north-west Nigeria. It has the highest incidence of multidimensional poverty at a heart breaking rate of 91.9%. So too is Yobe State as second highest with 90.2%. Kebbi and Sokoto states, both in the north west and far away from Boko Haram mayhem along with Jigawa and Bauchi have over 80% incidence rates.
• It is also interesting that only four of the 15 northern states with the highest rates belong among the ten states with the lowest federal account allocation. These are Adamawa, Taraba, Nassarawa and Gombe States. Indeed only Gombe State which is the only northern state among the list of five states with the lowest federation account allocation is a north east state. The other states in the 10 lowest federal allocation group are Ekiti, Osun, Ogun, Kwara, Ebonyi and Cross Rivers.
Nigerians must ask their leaders, past and present, what happened to the mountains of free rent collected from the federation account over the past five decades. Almost all of them should be in jail. It is so sad.
Tadaferua is CEO of Gbenudu.com