Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, says he will lift 50 million Nigerians out of extreme poverty by 2025, if elected Nigeria’s president by next February.
Atiku noted that Nigeria, Africa’s most populous nation, has overtaken India as the country having the largest number of people living in extreme poverty with an estimated 87 million, or half of the population, he said in the policy statement posted on his campaign organisation’s web site.
Nigeria, an oil-producing country has been rated as “one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the world,’’ Atiku noted, with over 80 million out of the country’s estimated 190 million, living below poverty line.
Atiku, a former Vice-President of Nigeria, is contesting to take over take over from President Muhammadu Buhari, who won election in 2015 on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress.
To achieve his target, Atiku said his administration would “ensure that our economic empowerment and poverty eradication strategies are coherent and consistent with the strategies to implement the SGDs.’’ Additionally, he said his administration would “reconcile the link between economic growth and human development through proper selection of effective polices on education and health.’’
His administration would also set as its major policy objective the “transformation of the agricultural sector into a viable high-income generating enterprise for the rural workers.’’
Extreme or absolute poverty is defined as a state where individuals or families cannot meet the basic requirements of life including shelter, clothing, food and health care. Figures from the World Bank and other development agencies show that Africa has the largest number of people living in extreme poverty.
“Unless we act fast, Nigeria together with Democratic Republic of Congo will be home to 40% of the world’s extremely poor people,’’ Atiku said.
Extreme poverty manifests in various forms, including what has become known as urban poverty. This has led to the existence of slums that have large numbers of people without basic amenities such light, roads, sanitation, etc. The United Nations Population Fund says that as many as one billion people out of the world’s seven billion people live in slums. Notable slums in Nigeria include Makoko, Ajegunle and Ilaje Bariga, all in Lagos state.
Also, we have more people over the last few years who have been pushed into extreme poverty in the north-east of Nigeria as a result of the activities of terrorist groups in those areas.
People living in extreme poverty lack access to economic activities, are excluded from participation in the process and decision making, and also lack assets for wealth creation.
Atiku said his administration would abolish all kinds of discrimination against the “marginalised and vulnerable citizens and enhance their access to education and income generating activities.’’ His administration would also implement “pro-poor polices that will enhance their participation in economic activities and improve household income,’’ Atiku said.
Atiku said his team would similarly work more closely with nongovernmental organisations, as well as the private sector and other development partners“ to mobilise resources for the effective implementation of our empowerment strategy.’’
His administration will create three million jobs in Nigeria annually, Atiku said. Unemployment rate in Africa’s most populous country is currently about 18.8 percent.