That Nigeria is housing a population largely stricken with poverty has become a dirge with lamentation of a paradox. The paradox has been borne by the irreconcilable strokes of living in “poverty amidst plenty.” The frustration before many Nigerians, who in their numbers have been left handicapped under poor living conditions, has continued to pose the discourse of where the absurdity of deepening poverty scale founds its place while the enormity of resources in the Country abound. The question largely has remained a subject of deep reflection, particularly, as it has been recorded that larger percentage of the Country’s population are increasingly falling below the poverty line.
On Tuesday, The Nigerian Economic Summit Group, (NESG) mentioned that with recent data showing more Nigerians fell below the poverty line in 2021, about 91 million Nigerians currently live below the poverty line. The Chairman of the Group, Mr. Asue Ighodalo, at the launching of the 2022 Macro-Economic Outlook of the Group, in Abuja, had said: “The World Bank estimates that an additional one million people were pushed into poverty in Nigeria between June and November 2021, resulting in a total of about 8 million people being relinquished to poverty in 2021 and bringing our nation’s poverty headcount to about 91 million. That is 91 million Nigerians afflicted by the ‘poverty virus,’ which is every bit as deadly and more infectious than SARS COVID-19, judging by the numbers.”
The group had submitted that, “The current administration must strive to leave behind a positive lasting legacy,” saying that “the government still has the time, if it has the will, to create a solid foundation, and catalytic growth base for this country; and must continue to work hard to deal decisively with the challenges of poverty, unemployment, insecurity, social cohesion and macroeconomic instability.”
“We believe that policies that directly impact the welfare, gainful employment and safety of our citizens and the performance, sustainability and job-creating potentials of our businesses, in the short term, must be at the forefront of government policies and actions in 2022. Being a pre-election year, the group feared that 2022 will likely come with increased election spending, which could motivate a tighter monetary policy stance to curb inflationary pressures. Secondly, it envisaged that attention may shift from effective governance to outright politicking with the pace of decision-making usually slows down in a pre-election year and reform pronouncements and implementation becoming difficult. We must only reward with our votes those parties that put forward knowledgeable reformers; reformers who are creative, passionate, courageous and have shown with evidence of their life’s work, a genuine love for the people of Nigeria. At this time in our country’s trajectory, we cannot afford to be delinquent in this most basic civic responsibility. The cost of getting it wrong in 2023 is more than this great nation can or should bear,” the group had submitted.
While politicking for the 2023 general elections may be resounding with echoes of dimensional gimmicks, it is sacrosanct for the public and the government not to be overwhelmed by the drum-beats over the essence of governance and the necessities of socio-economic and political responsibilities. Jettisoning responsibilities to address pressing demands for the games of politicking, would only leave irreconcilable impacts for the Country with unsavoury records. For the Government, beclouding its attention with political gimmicks would be disastrous to the nation at a time when the pressing hold of disturbances and strings of strains are entangling the Country.
Hence, it behooves the Government to, more than before, strengthen coordinated responses to the demands of governance, against being preponderated by electoral political gimmicks. Against politicking, addressing the pressing demands of the economy to alleviate the plight of Nigerians would be of more interest to the mammoth population engulfed with the frustration of the prevailing harsh conditions, than political craftings. More importantly, it is essential for Nigerians to assume their post with reasonable comportment to fulfill their obligations as citizens as most rationally desirable, against being driven by pecuniary interests which may not serve them profitably in the long run.
Hence, in as much as, coordinating activities towards the 2023 general elections is important, doing same within the limit of rationality is sacrosanct to place necessities in the right fixtures, while saliently coordinating patterns to determine the next set of leaders to steer the course of governance for another season.