The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has said the high poverty rate in the country is unacceptable considering the nation’s human and natural resources.
The former Anambra state governor stated this on Sunday, December 4, 2022, while speaking at the Presidential Town Hall meeting organised by Arise News and other partners.
Obi opined that the Federal Government should be held responsible for the high rate of poverty in the country and not the state governments.
This comes days after the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba, attributed the poverty rate in Nigeria to governors’ misplaced priority.
He blamed the governors for prioritising the construction of infrastructure such as bridges and airports in cities and state capitals over improving the lives of the people in rural communities.
“The governors are basically functioning in their state capitals. And democracy that we preach about is delivering the greatest goods to the greatest number of people. And from our demography, it shows that the greatest number of our people live in rural areas, but the governors are not working in the rural areas,” he said.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) earlier announced that over 133 million Nigerians live in poverty – this figure represents 63 percent of the nation’s population.
In its “Nigeria Multidimensional Poverty Index”, the NBS said over half of the population who are poor cook with dung, wood, or charcoal, rather than clean energy.
Obi stated that insecurity is the major cause of poverty in the country and that the high poverty rate will not drop until the federal government address the security challenges facing the nation.
The LP flagbearer asserted that the difference between poor and wealthy nations is in education and health, promising to invest in the two sectors if elected President in 2023.
He said: “The poverty level is unacceptable. I will invest in education and health.
“Governments at sub-national levels are not causing poverty. No, it is the responsibility of the federal government to address it. Security lies in the hands of the federal government. The major cause of poverty is insecurity which lies in the hands of the federal government.
“If you have an enabling environment for people and investors to come, poverty will be reduced. For meaningful development to take place, I will resuscitate the Bank of Industry in Kaduna.
“I want to secure and unite the country. I will ensure that the government in 2023 will be a government of national unity.
“It is about saving the country. Whether people support you or not, it is about saving the country. Health, education, and pulling people out of poverty is my priority.”