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Who can best eradicate poverty in Nigeria? [Editor's Comment]

A fair analysis on the promises made by the 2023 presidential candidates

The three frontline presidential candidates for the 2023 election: Peter Obi, Bola Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar. (Businessday)

Building up to the 2023 general elections, the frontline presidential candidates have made their promises to Nigerians, giving hope to ending our pressing problems; insecurity, development, and poverty.

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In November 2022, The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said that 133 million Nigerians are multidimensionally poor. The published report noted three out of five Nigerians live in poverty.

The Multidimensional Poverty Measure: It captures the percentage of households in a country deprived along three dimensions of well-being – monetary poverty, education, and basic infrastructure services – to provide a more complete picture of poverty.

Peter Obi was quoted saying:I will not only stop corruption, but I will also eradicate poverty in every state of the federation because our youths will be properly taken care of and they will no longer be travelling out of the country for greener pastures."

In Calabar, Tinubu was quoted saying: Let us conquer hunger rather than allowing hunger to conquer us. So, let’s come together and make great wealth for the nation and our people,”

Flagging off his campaign, Atiku was quoted saying: "So, today, we have inaugurated the flag off of our campaign to rescue Nigeria. To rescue Nigeria from hunger, to rescue Nigeria from poverty..."

The sad reality: The factual wildness is that all your favourite candidates are only telling you what sounds pleasing to the ears, and hopeful to the mind; the jazz that gets your votes.

The reality is that while it may be possible to significantly reduce poverty in an economy, it is unlikely that it can be completely eradicated from any economy for several researched (and proven) reasons.

  1. Economic growth: While economic growth can lead to reduced poverty, it is not a guarantee that poverty will be eliminated. Even in economies that experience strong growth, there will always be some individuals and families who are left behind and continue to experience poverty.
  2. Inequality: Even in an economy that is growing, there will always be a distribution of wealth and income, and some people will have more resources than others. This can lead to a significant gap between the rich and poor, which can result in poverty for some individuals and families.
  3. Structural factors: Certain groups of people may be more vulnerable to poverty due to structural factors such as discrimination, lack of access to education and job training, and limited opportunities for social mobility. These factors can make it difficult for certain individuals and communities to escape poverty, even in an otherwise strong economy.
  4. Unforeseen events: Unforeseen events such as natural disasters, economic downturns, or personal crises can lead to poverty for individuals and families who were previously stable.
  5. Limited access to basic needs: Even in high-income countries, access to basic needs such as healthcare, housing, and education can be limited, resulting in poverty for some individuals and families.

In summary, while it is possible to significantly reduce poverty through economic growth, structural change and social protection policies, it is unlikely that poverty can be completely eradicated in an economy. This is because poverty is a multifaceted and complex issue, influenced by a variety of factors.

Brace yourselves up for disappointment in this regard, as no presidential candidate can totally eradicate poverty in Nigeria.

Pulse Editor's Comment is the viewpoint of an Editor at Pulse. It does not represent the opinion of the organisation, Pulse.

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