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Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? - Politics - Nairaland

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Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by Omooba77: 8:35am On Apr 23, 2020
By Abimbola Adelakun

Less than a year ago, we were told that Nigeria had achieved food security. According to reports at the time, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.) based his directive to the Central Bank of Nigeria to stop providing foreign exchange for the importation of food on that supposed milestone.

For a country to be classified as one that has achieved food security, it must meet certain international criteria. It means that the inhabitants of that country must have physical, economic, and social access to a range of nutritious foods that are necessary to support a healthy life. That status also means that in the event of natural or man-made disasters that disrupt the food supply chain, a country must also display a measure of resilience. A country that considers itself to have achieved food security should not easily buckle when faced with emergencies such as COVID-19.

In Nigeria today, virtually everywhere you turn, people are complaining about hunger even though the parts of the country that have been shut off are not up to a third of the whole federation. The inflation rate is skyrocketing, and people’s purchasing power is dwindling rapidly. Prices of food products have shot up beyond the reach of millions, and at the rate we are going, more people may die from hunger than the COVID-19 disease. How did it happen that a country that claimed it had achieved food security and proceeded to make policies based on that claim could not survive even a few weeks of partial lockdown without hell breaking loose? Why are we that vulnerable? It is to our shame that Nigerians, featured in various local and international media, have no qualms reporting that they would rather die from the disease than from hunger. How did we get here? Our leaders have some explaining to do. How did we go from a country that said it had achieved food security to one where thousands of Nigerians are now unabashedly slamming their bank account number on social media and begging for alms from strangers? We have always been a poor country, that much is certain, but how did things get this bad for us?

Again, months before the 2019 elections, the government launched TraderMoni. The scheme was a Federal Government interest-free loan initiative through the Bank of Industry and Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, but Vice President Yemi Osinbajo would become the face of it. Around September 2018, and months before the elections, he began to traverse the markets to promote TraderMoni. In doing so, Osinbajo garnered praises from market people whose lives would supposedly be better because they were handed a N10,000 pittance. We were told that if they repaid the loan within six months, they would be qualified for N20,000. After another six months of consistent repayment, they would be qualified for more until they get to N100,000. Up till last year, the VP’s office maintained that the initial sum they gave to people was being returned, and the traders were doing well.

By that calculation, those that were given N10,000 loan in September 2018 should have had their lives significantly improved enough to be repaying a N30,000 loan by now. Their standard rate of living should have, statistically at least, gone up by 200 per cent and that should have had an appreciable multiplier effect on the rest of the country. Yet, here we are, people are too poor to adhere to a pandemic-mandated lockdown for even a few days. How come our system cannot withstand even a month of disruption?

With the COVID-19 measures taking their toll, Nigeria is pushing palliative measures of Conditional Cash Transfers of N5,000 to around 3.6 million households for four months. At some point, should there not be some accountability on how these cash transfers have fared since inception? For the government to say that those that have more than N5,000 in their bank accounts (a mere $10 or so) are not eligible for the ongoing CCT, the poverty rate must be staggering. So, are these supposedly poverty-alleviating measures even working, or are we just wasting scarce resources on welfarist policies that have no meaningful impact on people’s lives? For a country battling multi-dimensional poverty, and where key sectors are grossly underfunded, paying people with cash should not be a nostrum that the government gets to apply without serious accountability. Where are all those who were doing well from past efforts? If people are truly getting this money, then why are we still so poor?

If the late Chief of Staff to the President, Abba Kyari, were a citizen of a western country, his obituary would have been written at least 10 years ago in anticipation of his eventual death. Like most famous people and highly placed public officials, his obituary would have been extensively researched, written with as much objectivity as can be managed, and stored somewhere. Occasionally, an editor would update the article with some ongoing details of his life, such as when he was appointed CoS and how he would go on to earn the reputation of a strong man. However, Nigerians (even Africans, generally) do not have that culture of forewritten obituaries. We are a superstitious people, we treat life as interminable, and so, hiring people to write obituaries of those still living might draw the ire of the public. Consequently, each time a famous person dies in Nigeria, we have had to endure hastily written and mostly tawdry obituaries.

Since the death of Kyari, we have been treated with a surprising deluge of obituaries and tributes from friends, proteges, and colleagues. I am not sure even the President could have done better in collecting posthumous accolades. There are several interesting things I noted from all these articles falling over themselves to beatify Kyari. One of them is that these obituaries were written by men and mostly by southerners, especially Yoruba ones. Many things can be apprehended about Kyari from reading all those obituaries. However, I choose to focus on the ways these various articles have tried rather too hard to push forth the image of a cosmopolitan, urbane, generous, hardworking, intellectual, and an “absolutely incorruptible” man.

If there is something to note about the nature of obituaries, it is that they are not for the dead. They are written for the living. No dead person ever gets to care about the kind or unkind things that we say about them in their obituaries, only the living does. Dead men do not read; neither do they write rejoinders. Only the living is affected by obituaries. Sometimes, one comes across an obituary where the bereaved write directly to the deceased to tell them how much they love them. In such instances, you know they are not speaking to the dead. They are sending a message to the living. That is why we should be questioning the many hagiographic obituaries of Kyari and their strong push to shape public memory since his death was announced. We should view all of these effusive outpourings of tributes with a measure of scepticism, question what the underlying political agenda of these obituaries is, and who will ultimately benefit from a revised history of his life. Otherwise, we will end up being duped by sweet words.

While most of us did not know him personally to contest any of the things said about him, I think we should also reiterate that the criticisms of him while he held office as the CoS were never about his manners or personal qualities. The issue was about what he ultimately represented: the political class. No matter how much/little he cared enough for his closest allies to see “his other side,” and how much important it was to him to show select people that he was no “monster,” the fact remains that he worked in the upper echelons of one of the most regressive and most repressive governments in Nigerian history. Nothing Abba Kyari was to his family and friends can redeem what he ultimately embodied: lousy governance, blind leadership, and political power abused by self-serving individuals.


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Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by SLAP44: 8:37am On Apr 23, 2020
I think it's because we elected someone who should have been enjoying his old age and retirement in a reputable old people's home with the vain hope that he will save our country.

337 Likes 24 Shares

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by SeverusSnape(m): 8:38am On Apr 23, 2020
It's now a known fact that the government of the day is a scam led by the most mendacious scammer in the history of Nigeria.

Bubu the mumu.

192 Likes 7 Shares

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by GOFRONT(m): 8:39am On Apr 23, 2020
Upon all our crude Oil and our Money.........What a tragedy..


Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by SLAP44: 8:41am On Apr 23, 2020
Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by Anigreat: 8:42am On Apr 23, 2020

Our selfish and self centered leaders has finished us all.
God punish them


Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by donbachi(m): 8:47am On Apr 23, 2020
Its even a crime been a nigerian.

18 Likes 1 Share

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by CLASSMAN: 9:12am On Apr 23, 2020
Nice write up

15 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by Omooba77: 9:13am On Apr 23, 2020
Abimbola and co were the media arm then. Why cant our rice policy sustain us now. Yet we keep on wasting money on institutes like NPA, NNPC, NIMASA, NDDC...................

25 Likes 1 Share

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by DanseMacabre(m): 9:20am On Apr 23, 2020
Nigerians have never been anything but poor.

28 Likes 4 Shares

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by tempem: 10:33am On Apr 23, 2020
Nicely written!
However, I think in a bit to tackle varying aspects, you've drifted off the goal of the article... From food scarcity to writing obituaries to Kyari... I feel you should have written about these individually.

90 Likes 4 Shares

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by PericomaNwankwo: 10:33am On Apr 23, 2020
Poor because the government have refused to do its job.

Poor because the people have a low Human Development Index which is very evident in their choice of leaders, their inability to act like a nation with a common purpose and revolt when needed, but in Nigeria, people are okay with a bad leader because he is from their region.

Poor because even the little effort of the citizens are not compensated from the government due to its inability to put up a "at least basic infrastructure".

Poor because the people are as bad as their leaders. I always maintain that leaders were once part of the people and when the people are good, it becomes easier to elect good leaders because leaders are elected from the populace.

Poor because they have refused to empower its people. If they had given loans to the southerners to do their business and gave them the same benefit they gave others, we won't cry against RUGA because every tribe have what they are known for. In Igbo: " ndi owuna were ihe ha ji biri".

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Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by Nobody: 10:33am On Apr 23, 2020
One can only be poor if he or she chooses to be..

Again the progress we make in life both academically materially or even professionally is not always how rich we are

Away from that pls change the topic to why is Nigeria poor... That way you have excluded me from the figure

5 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by atobs4real(m): 10:33am On Apr 23, 2020
Because there is no plan in place

2 Likes 1 Share

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by Patrioticman007(m): 10:33am On Apr 23, 2020
The food security has been achieved on the backs of farmers, once the lock down is lifted.The poverty will end by the grace of God.


Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by Saintcajo1: 10:33am On Apr 23, 2020
Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by NewBea: 10:33am On Apr 23, 2020
It's simple. Wicked Ever-hungry greedy useless politicians! angry


Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by helinues: 10:33am On Apr 23, 2020
Mentally and intellectually, we are poor cos if not, we shouldn't be afraid to demand for our right

10 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by FryMosquito: 10:33am On Apr 23, 2020
Over population plus incompetent corrupt politicians..


Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by StrikeBack(m): 10:33am On Apr 23, 2020
All Nigerians are endangered species

1 Like

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by Nobody: 10:33am On Apr 23, 2020
Because our economy has been badly run since independence.

Here in Nigeria, since we got independence, our economy has been run on selling raw materials, and sharing the money, then using the money to import stuff that is way higher in value than the value of our exports....and when we start running deficitis, we take loans to keep our heads above water.

We have some good economic times (eg the 1973-82 and the 2003-2014 oil booms) when the price of what we are selling is high enough to help us live that kind of lifestyle.

The problem is compounded by the fact that we do not control the price of what we sell . Oil our major earner, has its price controlled in New York and London. (OPEC does exercise some control, but they are not the ultimate arbiters, especially when Saudi Arabia decides to do its own thing).

The only way to become rich is simple. We must become an industrial society, and produce industrial goods for the global market. That's how the US, China, Japan, South Korea, Germany and so on are mightly rich nations.

39 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by Tonero2162: 10:33am On Apr 23, 2020
Speak for yourself bro. I'm a millionaire

4 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by tolexy007(m): 10:34am On Apr 23, 2020
Where is Godswill Akpabio and Fashola is being long wen I see two of dem.last


Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by PureGoldh(m): 10:34am On Apr 23, 2020
The Matter wey dey on ground so....e heavy for mouth

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Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by jumich1(m): 10:34am On Apr 23, 2020
Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by Techguyz(m): 10:34am On Apr 23, 2020
Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by medolab90(m): 10:34am On Apr 23, 2020
The country it self is poor. There is nothing you can do when you are not in an amiable environment. You can only just keep trying and hoping for the best.


Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by iCauseTrouble: 10:34am On Apr 23, 2020

1 Like

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by OLA4CHRIST1(m): 10:34am On Apr 23, 2020
God will help us
Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by Daum: 10:34am On Apr 23, 2020
Because the Nigerian system encourages poverty by deliberately making the populace less educated and systematically creating an unhealthy environment for the few educated ones to thrive.

19 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Why Are Nigerians Still So Poor? by Arrewa: 10:34am On Apr 23, 2020
Most Nigerians are hardworking!!

But hardworking will only feed your mouth and will never make you rich if you don't work smart!!

What I mean here is hardwork+working smart!!

Some people don't have the spirit of Alleviation!

For you to be rich you have to grow in whatever you're doing!!

Some Nigerians don't have the spirit of savings!! They don't save money!! You're earning 2k a day and spending 1.5 in a day... And you're among those that want to be rich!!

Most of us just want to blow... We don't want to grow

The clear difference between the rich and the poor is the mindset!

24 Likes 9 Shares

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