According to the World Bank report titled ‘Advancing social protection in a dynamic Nigeria’ revealed that Northern Nigeria accounts for the most impoverished people in Nigeria.
Made public on January 28, 2020, the report states that “Nigeria experiences high inequality along geographic lines, with Poverty mostly concentrated in the North and rural areas.
“Poverty in the northern region of the country has been rising, especially in the North-West zone.
“Almost half of the poor live in the North-West. The North accounted for 87 percent of all the poor in the country in 2016.”
Also, The number of Nigerians that are poor are around 82.9 million.
According to the Nigerian Living Standards Survey (NLSS) report released by the NBS covering the year 2019, 40.1% of Nigerians are classified as poor by national standards.
Moreover, details presented in the nation-wide survey report point that Northern states in Nigeria rank the most impoverished.
The report also states that 9 of the top 10 poorest states in Nigeria are from the northern region, with Sokoto, Taraba and Jigawa being the poorest.
Despite boasting of numerous human and natural resources in the region, Northern Nigeria has been plagued with issues such as Boko Haram Conflict, Bad Governance and Ignorance. All of these have contributed to underdevelopment in the area.
The leader of Arewa Youth Consultative Forum (a political and cultural association of leaders in Northern Nigeria), Alhaji Yerima Shettima, recently declared that “Northern Nigeria will go to war if Southerners remove Buhari” through the ongoing #ENDSARS protest. Unfortunately, shettima has a habit of beating the embers of war if national matters do not favour his northern kin. Northern Nigeria enemies are the elites and their kin who benefit to the detriment of the poor majority. How can a man who claims to care about his region ignore the fact that Northern Nigeria made Nigeria the world’s poverty capital? The latest statistics indicate that 9 of the top 10 poorest states in Nigeria are from his region. Why must ethnicity come in front of good governance, which will bring development to his area. Nigeria can become tremendous, but I fear that Northern Nigerians are yet to understand the meaning of prosperity. How on earth can people from an impoverished, underdeveloped region still support their kin regardless of his past antecedent as a failure, all because he is Muslim?
Northern Nigeria needs to understand that religion and ethnicity will always be in the way of human development. Let’s take other Muslim nations as a case study; we look at Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is undoubtedly one of the wealthiest nations in the world. They are predominantly Muslims under a monarch system of government who used their resources to develop the region. Another country worth mentioning is the United Arab Emirates. Dubai is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world. It is also a Muslim nation that operates like a monarch system. Just like Saudi Arabia, they are prosperous because they refused to allow religion to becloud their sense of reasoning. What baffles me is that when Nigeria was still trying to get on its feet in the 70s, U.A.E. created a plan to become where it is today, and 50 years later, Nigeria remains backward, U.A.E. has since moved on to enviable heights. What a shame.
The only way Nigeria can move to enviable heights is if both the North and South of Nigeria come together to forge a unique bond. A unique bond will create one voice, a voice that will end bad governance. I am not supporting any protest that will topple the current Buhari-led government because, to be honest, the Nigerian political system is rotten to the core. The decline we witness today did not begin under Buhari. It started the moment we got our independence. Every leader we have had since 1960 has contributed to the underdevelopment and poverty we face in Nigeria today, which also includes the games of thrones played by the successive military regime on Nigerians. The next leader of Nigeria should be free of any ethnic ties to any religious group. It will only become a reality if Northern Nigeria supports us in the search for good governance. We are far back behind as the most massive black nation in the world. If the black man is to be respected, then Nigeria needs to be at the forefront of the campaign by leading by example. If Northern Nigerians refuse to follow the moving train, maybe it’s in our most beneficial interest for Nigeria to break, for they cannot keep holding us back. The country is due for a revolution, and a time will come when Northern Nigeria will need to decide where they belong. As always, it’s my opinion.
Statistical Credit: NairaMetrics