TACKLING POVERTY IN THE NORTH — Nigerian Pilot News
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TACKLING POVERTY IN THE NORTH

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Dangote has added value to Nigeria's economic growth, says ECCIMA

The statement reportedly made by Africa’s richest mogul and president of Dangote Group of companies, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, about poverty in Nigeria with particular reference to how it ravages the northern part of the country should draw fundamental attention. The region, he said, suffers from extreme poverty. Delivering a keynote address at the fourth edition of the Kaduna Investment Summit in Kaduna, the industrialist challenged northern leaders to wake up from their lethargy by providing purposeful leadership to the region to prevent it from the current catastrophic drift.

According to him, “Nigeria is bedeviled with many developmental challenges but with abundant capital, human and natural resources. Our country’s human developmental indicators rank poorly when compared with global averages. Nigeria is ranked at 157 out of 189 countries in the areas of human development index.

“While the overall social economic considerations in the country are a cause for concern, the regional imperative is in fact very alarming. In the North western and North eastern part of Nigeria, more than 60% of the population live in extreme poverty. It is instructive to know that the 19 Northern states which account for over 54% of the country’s population and 70% of its landmass collectively generated only 21% of the total sub national internally Generated Revenue in 2017. Northern Nigeria will continue to fall behind if respective state governments do not move to close the development gap”, he stated.

Poverty indicators are illiteracy (education prepares and exposes people to opportunities for empowerment), poor health condition (good health strengthens citizens to work and help themselves, but not when there is polio, meningitis, measles, yellow fever, IVVF, water related diseases, etc, leading to increased mortality rate among women, children and youths), lack of food, joblessness, lack of economic empowerment, etc.

For instance, the north has the largest number of out-of-school-children in Nigeria; the North has the highest number of maternal and infant mortality rate in Nigeria; the North has the highest rate of IVVF cases in Nigeria; the North has the highest number of polio infections in Nigeria; the North has the highest number of poor people in Nigeria; the North has the largest number of illiterate people in Nigeria. Meanwhile, the North has produced more heads of governments and leaders in Nigeria since independence than other regions.

What exactly is wrong? Is it not very obvious that visionary and service oriented leadership ended with Sir Ahmadu Bello the region? Is it not true that its leaders, just like leaders of other regions, are self-serving and avaricious? Or is it that they lack governmental power and influence to turn the situation around?

The solution, according to Dangote, “requires multi-layer investment and government will not be able to muster the needed funds. Only private sector can raise the amount of capital required to find the kind of investment required. Government must create a conducive environment that will trigger a huge inflow of private capital into the private sector of the economy.”

Can they northern leaders indeed close ranks to collectively deal with this perennial problem of poverty? What is the role of culture and religion in the spreading pauperisation among the mammoth illiterate children and adults in the north? Why has the almajirin system become an entrenched exploitative system in the hands of unscrupulous political and religious leaders for the wrong reasons? Can the leaders, indeed, turn the tide? Are they prepared to help their people with the right education, lift them out extreme poverty? Are they?

QUOTE

Is it not very obvious that visionary and service oriented leadership ended with Sir Ahmadu Bello in the region? Is it not true that its leaders, just like leaders of other regions, are self-serving and avaricious? … What is the role of culture and religion in the spreading pauperisation among the mammoth illiterate children and adults in the north? Why has the almajirin system become an entrenched exploitative system in the hands of unscrupulous political and religious leaders for the wrong reasons?

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