Why 113 million Nigerians Are Poor

Do you know that about 1% of Nigerians control more than 80% of the country’s wealth?

In 2015, Nigeria is listed among the world’s fastest growing economy whereas more than 90% of the population considered themselves to be poor already in 2010 and the figures are rising!

Why 113 million Nigerians Are Poor

By Adeola Aderounmu

Which Way Nigeria?

Nigeria still remains one of the most endowed countries in the world. In terms of natural resources, minerals and enormous prospects for agricultural development Nigerians stands out as a reservoir of abundant wealth.

Unfortunately and paradoxically Nigeria is presently home to about 113 million people living in absolute poverty. This figure represents more than 90% of the population.

Most of the blame for this anomaly lies at the doorsteps of Nigerian politicians and their partners in crime in the top military wing. A weak citizenry shares out of this whole mess.

At independence in 1960 the unprepared politicians inherited a structure that was built mainly for the purpose of colonization by the British. It was difficult to manage and the federation though functional crumbled in 1966 when the military interrupted the nascent democratic process.

In 1999 the military provided the basis for the democracy that Nigeria precariously thrives upon today. Again, this was not the foundation that Nigeria needed because of the enormous influence of the military and the enthronement of Olusegun Obasanjo ensured that the country even today is still in bondage.

To live in extreme poverty means that one barely has a roof over one’s head. In extreme situations people living in poverty have nowhere to call a home. Having food to eat is a difficult adventure and having money to buy clothes is a sort of luxury for those living in poverty.

Poverty is a broad term no doubts. It is also reflected in the lives of several millions of Nigerians through high infant mortality, high maternal mortality, inadequate vaccination in some parts of the country and an embarrassing life expectancy value.

Poverty extends to lack of access to essential public services. Nigeria is probably suffering from over population as well. The public schools are very few, inadequate and very dysfunctional as private educational institutions have taken over the initiation of providing quality but very expensive educational services  that are out of the reach of the poor masses.

In the same vein, access to quality health service is also very expensive as public health care remains under developed and sometimes costly. The percentage of Nigerians with access to paid employment is appalling, it’s very low. It is not uncommon for people to state that they are hustling. Hustling covers a wide range of illegal and seasonal ways of making money which unfortunately include armed robbery, fraud and vandalism.

All the parameters for defining or expressing poverty are unevenly distributed. The Niger Delta which is home to the oil wealth of Nigeria is also home to some of the world’s poorest people. From low literacy level to access to health care and vaccination, the northern part of Nigeria is even worst hit.

The recent media hype coming from CNN-Money putting Nigeria among the fastest growing economy in the world does not translate to food on the tables, roof over the heads and cloth on the bodies of the people suffering from poverty.

It must be emphasized that the economic wealth or well-being in Nigeria is concentrated in the hands of a very few people. About 1% of Nigerians control more than 80% of the country’s wealth.

This 1% is a category that includes Nigerian politicians and several elites across Nigeria. They have directly and indirectly kept the remaining citizens under check through bad politics, bad policies and non-implementations of the programs that are structured to eliminate poverty and meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Among this 1% are those who control not only the political scene, but also manipulate the oil wealth. Until recently the oil sector was the only major foreign exchange earner for Nigeria. It is still the biggest.

To be fair, a few sectors emerged recently and gave the Nigerian economy a boost. The film and music industry, the financial sector and not least the telecommunication sector that were not developed before the 1990s were taken into consideration when Nigeria was declared as the biggest economy in Africa in 2014.

Still, there exist a continuous neglect and misuse of the all the natural resources that are locked up in the different regions across Nigeria and agricultural is yet to take its number one position as it was before 1960.

There are probably 5% Nigerians doing well on their own. By hard work, luck, rare opportunities and the invisible hand of fate, these people are living above the poverty level and they have some measure of comfort. s

Whilst they can count themselves as fortunate, they should never use their own rare successes to classify or generalize the situation in Nigeria. They must never try to eradicate the reality that there are more than 113 million people living in poverty.

The lazy, irritating, selfish central governments over the years under both tropical military gangsters and civilian crooks have shunned the responsibilities of solving Nigeria’s political and economic problems.

There is no political will to return to true federalism which will remove the power at the center and help to systematically abolish the grip of the 1% controlling majority of Nigeria’s wealth.

Therefore Nigerians continue to buy generators to provide electricity for themselves. When the whole world is taken into account Nigeria probably provides the lowest level of electricity per citizen. Less than 4000 MW for a population that nears 200 million people is a disgrace to the intellectual capacity of Nigerians as a people.

In recent history both Goodluck Jonathan, Olusegun Obasanjo and their cronies in the power sector squandered and embezzled the funds earmarked for electricity production.

Obasanjo promised 6 000MW. Yar Adua promised 20 000MW within 2 years. Jonathan wanted to do a magical 5 000MW in 2014. All the monies allocated for all these promises are gone! Nigerian rulers and those working against the progress of the power sectors (still part of the 1%) are pure criminals!

Apart from electricity millions of Nigerians provide their own water system, they find home for themselves or struggle to build one, they tar their own communal roads, they provide their own security systems and they find their own diverse ways of self-preservation.

The manner of unequal distribution of wealth is dehumanizing. The politicians have failed to stimulate the economy based on the distribution and spread of the resources in Nigeria. They relied too long on the oil wealth and they squandered and mismanaged the proceeds from it.

The postulation in 2014 that Nigeria is the 26th biggest economy in the world and the biggest economy in Africa has no tangible effects on the 113 million poor people. For a country suffering from bad planning, bad governance and an apparent overpopulation problem the economic indices are mere abstract figures.

Economic jargons like GDP of 1722 dollars per person in Nigeria do not put food on the table of poor people. How can one convince all the families of the unemployed graduates who died during the immigration examination scam that the economy is truly improved? What fates await the millions of unemployed school leavers and graduates?

In 2015 Nigeria entered an election year. In several articles l have warned about the postponement of the elections under several headlines and contents. This is something that the PDP cooked up a long time ago. It shocked me when the main stream media and the opposition finally understood a script that has existed for more than 6 months. O well, who controls the mainstream media if not the greedy 1%?

Irrespective of the decision that prevails the success of the election will eventually depend on the preparedness of INEC and the security situation across Nigeria. But I will never understand how it is business as usual in a country that entered an election year with so many uncertainties in the air including a war in some parts.

The credibility of the election is highly desirable but it will be like living in a fool’s paradise to expect a miracle afterwards. Nigeria does not have a simple solution anymore, not even as long as the almighty powerful center continues to exist.

The politicians have no political ideology. It has been too easy to move from one political party to another because each politician continues to look to butter his or her own bread every election year.

Remaining in the 1% bracket is crucial to the politicians; it is a matter of life and death. Call it do or die, you are still right.

It is more obvious that the political parties are almost the same as APC now looks like a party of PDP and CPC veterans and dropouts.

Nigerian politicians display clearly the mantra-no permanent enemies in politics, just permanent interests. They are liars and their permanent interest is to sustain the 1% club of national cabal and elites. Since the institutions of governance are weak or destroyed, they always seem to have their ways in the end.

The solutions to Nigeria’s problem may lie with the enlightened populace but they have refused to act appropriately. Many of them look forward to belonging to the club of the 1% that owns the economic wealth of Nigeria in their hands. Alternatively they look forward to belonging to the wider 5% through hope and rare opportunities. They don’t care about the rest!

This sad trend (that people are quiet as evil continues to persist) is one of the reasons for the increase in the number of people living in poverty from 55% in 2004 to 61% in 2010.

Hence regardless of the economic growth widely reported recently, the wealth remains concentrated in the hands of a few.

In 2015, Nigeria is listed among the world’s fastest growing economy whereas more than 90% of the population considered themselves to be poor already in 2010 and the figures are rising!

Nigeria’s wealth is looted daily. More than 140 billion dollars were transferred illegally out of the country between 2002 and 2011 only. Where were they: Obasanjo, Sanusi J, Soludo, Yar Adua, Sanusi L, Jonathan and Mrs. Iweala? They are part of the 1% keeping the money safe for personal use at home and abroad!

Nigeria needs both a political and an economic way forward. It will not come from the 1% that controls 80% of the country’s wealth. It is not forthcoming from the less than 10% that thrives in the midst of this anomaly.

The politicians are part of the 1%, they are unwilling and it appears they will never change the useless political system that keeps them rich and above the law (with the immunity clause of life).

When the poor, more than 90% of the population of Nigeria, have nothing to eat, no clothes to wear and no roof over their heads anymore, they will one day pounce on the rich. For it seems that unless they stage a revolution they will never be free.

aderounmu@gmail.com

Reference: Nigeria’s goes to election in the shadow of Boko Haram, by Henrik Angerbrandt 2014

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NEW ELECTRICITY BILLS: THE NIGERIAN GOVERNMENT AS A MURDEROUS MACHINE

By Adeola Aderounmu

At various times I have described the Nigerian government with harsh terms. The situation remains the same.

The government of Nigeria promised to give Nigerians constant electricity power by the end of 1986. Twenty-six years later Nigerians are still living in darkness.

A cheap blackmail will be that each successive government would absolve itself of the shortcomings of the previous government. Another senseless blackmail is for the civilians to blame the military gangsters and vice versa.

But the constant truth is that every government in Nigeria, past and now, is useless and corrupt. Each government has neglected its primary roles over the years and almost no one set of corrupt politicians or tropical gangsters is better than the other in terms of providing for the populace and maintaining infrastructure.

On June 1 2013, the useless (present) government of Goodlcuk Jonathan will increase the cost of electricity and consumers will start to pay more for what is not available.

It is only in Nigeria that people pay for what is not provided.

It takes a foolish, wicked and senseless government like that of Ebele Goodluck Jonathan to increase the price of what it is not providing.

This strategy has been used in the past-with promises made and no delivery on the promises. The cost of electricity keeps going up.

This government is wicked and foolish.

What is wrong with Nigerians? Are they going to accept this nonsense, again?

I think it is time for them to emerge from their holes and push this government to the dustbin of history once and for all.

There is no alternative other than ending this murderous and repressive regime. It is the most useless ever!

Nigeria 2009 BC?

By Adeola Aderounmu

There is almost 100% complete darkness in Nigeria. The other day women in Abuja were rejoicing over the promise by NEPA that they will be supplied electricity from 7am to 10am daily.

Almost every household in Nigeria now has 1, 2 or 3 power generator sets. From small sizes making loud noises to the very big making deafening noises they come in different shapes and makes. There are even custom-built power generators with minimum price of N150, 000. Nigeria in my opinion is probably the most polluted country in the world. The noise and chemical substances release from the combustion of fuel may have severe consequences now and in the future.

So where does this leave Nigeria because she Nigeria prides herself as the giant of Africa. I hope every Nigerian knows that this total absence of public power supply is a big ridicule. It is a very serious shame and catastrophe.

I do not need to re-evaluate the impact on the cost of business and the subsequent high rate of unemployment. What about the inconvenience and the unhappiness knowing that after a hard day at work, you are going back to the heat or the noise that surrounds you. Nerves can break down!

Darkness poses a huge security risk. Bad intentions and armed robberies are made easy under the shade of darkness.

But this lazy government in Nigeria is not even doing anything positive in ensuring that power generation is improved. After 10 useless years of democracy power generation has dropped sharply, the cost of living has increased and the standard of living is extremely poor. Violence, riots, strike and civil unrest is commonplace. Almost all the important public institutions are experiencing one form of unrest or the other.

Education is completely paralyzed and the health care industry is zero. Yar Adua is on his way to The Middle East where he will receive Medical attention. Nigeria’s fake president for you! How else do you want to describe the state of health in Nigeria when the one who claims to be number one citizen goes abroad to receive treatment?

This is why I was visibly shaken by statements made by Jack Warner FIFA’s vice president as he praised Nigeria and our health institutions preparatory to the U-17 World cup. I am wondering why Yar Adua did not go to one of those hospitals that Jack Warner was describing at the draws in Abuja on Friday 7th of August 2009. What is wrong with Jack Warner?

Seriously what will it take?
To have education back on course?
To have our health care up to standard, available and affordable?
To have good roads and basic infrastructure?
To have 24 hour constant power supply all year all life?
To improve the standard of living?
To reduce the cost of living?
To ensure that we practice democracy?
To ensure that life is worth living in Nigeria?

I am very confused, sad and disappointed in Nigeria where “be corrupt” is the first law of survival…

If NEPA goes on strike..!

By Adeola Aderounmu.

The National Union of Electricity Employees (NUEE) has threatened to go on strike if Umaru made good his promise to declare a state of Emergency (SOE) in the power sector. Now, this is Nigeria at work.

Unless my interpretation is wrong, this should mean that NEPA workers are threatening to go on strike? It is possible that ninety-nine percent of Nigerians do not have electricity in their homes while these men and women are at work at NEPA or PHCN. What then shall we miss if they go on strike? Can it be worse than now that cockroaches and rats breed safely in our second–hand Ojuelegba deep freezers?

In fairness to the Electricity Workers the problems in the power sector is out of their control or human resource capabilities. The problems have more association with the general negligence and mis-governance perpetrated by the leadership at the centre over the past four decades. The various looting governments have betrayed the masses while amassing wealth to themselves. In Nigeria, there is nothing like maintenance culture or improvement of the states of infrastructure.

Looters and thieves like Abacha, Buhari, Babangida, Abdulsalami and Obasanjo are big parts of the reasons why NEPA became an extremely miserable statutory body. The NUEE is taking the issue of the SOE very seriously and the union representatives have challenged Umaru in a way that one cannot ignore.

They are of the opinion that Umaru knows nothing about the problems in the power sector. In another way, one can postulate that if Umaru knows the problems he is pretending he doesn’t by looking the other way.

From the 2008 oil windfall, Umaru’s government is planning to spend a fresh $5bn in fixing the electricity problem. What about getting back the billions from Obasanjo and his gangs who pocketed several billions in the last decade while pretending to be working on the problem?

What will be the implication of a declaration of SOE in the power sector? How will that translate to improved power supply for the helpless masses that do not have the same privilege or opportunity as the high and mighty residing in the Maitama District of Abuja?

In NUEE words: if the government can take the supply level to 50, 000MW there will be a substantial improvement in the supply of electricity to Nigerians. This is a very powerful statement and a very serious indictment of the federal government. Has it been a deliberate wickedness that power supply in Nigeria today is below 2, 000 MW? Who or what is responsible for the dismal supply that we have today?

There are certain individuals and establishments today in Nigeria that would never wish for any improvement in the power situation. They are smiling to the bank daily as they make good money from selling generators to the helpless masses. Of course, this story is not new but one can only imagine that the recklessness in the oil sector has spilled to the generator business. In Nigeria personal interests have continued to override national interests. What a shame?

The NUEE went ahead to inform Nigerians that the SOE in the power sector will not change anything in Nigeria. They also have words for the prayer warriors of Nigeria. You can pray and fast for as long as you want to but if this government does not build power stations, nothing will change and declaring a state of emergency is not the way to go about it either. Sadly, it takes 3 years before a power station can be completed and functional.

If NEPA workers in present day Nigeria go on strike they will probably not be missed. Instead the people will be happy that there will be no electricity bills for the power supply that they didn’t get in the first place. So for their own good NUEE should drop the threat and await the implications of the SOE that Umaru has up his sleeves.

Who knows? Part of the $5bn may be used to settle their salaries arrears and to effect payment of future salaries. This might be the year they have also been praying and fasting for! A year and a new era when they don’t have to use false billings to supplement their pay package!

We shall all see if this SOE implies the prosecution of the saboteurs in the power sector. Will it mean an end to some individuals and companies making profits at the expense of the downtrodden masses? We will get to find out how Umaru will improve the power supply by building new power stations or upgrading the existing ones to maximum output/ efficiency.

With a declaration of SOE in the power sector imminent, Nigerians who have been paying for the power that is not available will be anxious to know if the hopes that they have kept alive over the years will finally payoff or not. On this matter, NEPA or NUEE should have a little patience with Umaru just as the rest of us have done with NEPA over the years.

I am not a fan of Umaru at all (because I will not forget that he was imposed illegally on Nigerians by Obasanjo) but in the absence of any choice at this moment and in the presence of our overstretched resiliency I am very keen on what SOE means in the power sector.

If the effects will be magical in less than 3 years that is required to build a functional power station, then I would argue that SOE should be declared on Nigerian roads, housing system, educational system, health system, anti-corruption system, socio-welfare system, political system and the scandalous electoral processes among other grossly neglected aspects of our difficult lives.

If the whole shout of SOE is another sham then I’ll never forget how a battling Umaru became part of our shameful history in the first place.

MAY 29 2007-MAY 29 2008:Another Year Wasted!

Adeola Aderounmu.

It’s been one full year since an illegitimate government was installed or enthroned in Nigeria. One can easily be deceived that Nigeria is ungovernable because of the divergence of people, opinions, cultures, attitudes and size of the country. But Nigeria is not the only country that is diverse in such many ways.

What is missing and what has eluded Nigeria is sincerity of purpose on the parts of the political class and the useless military that have plunged the country since 1960. To this day, a typical Nigerian politician is a looter and an opportunist. All he or she is aspiring towards is self-betterment and personal enrichment. The other aspects of him/ her are deceit and pure hypocrisy.

Corruption remains the main thing in Nigeria-our biggest ailment. Politicians continue to loot and milk-away the country to dryness. They are never prosecuted and when they are prosecuted, they walk away with total freedom after a deceitful trial and bail session. Who is fooling who? All the ex and serving politicians who have stolen monies from the national treasury are still enjoying their loots while the rest of us suffer, just like that!

Millions of dollars continue to disappear from the treasury daily under shady and covered deals. Nothing is done to improve the standard of living in the country. What is the essence of the few flashes of magnificent buildings in Abuja when it is made only for a negligible part of the population? Those things in Abuja mean nothing and they serve no purpose to more than 90m people living below poverty line and surviving on less than 2 dollars a day.

Nigeria needs 100 000 MW of power but she is generating less than 1 000 MW. How can a sane mind explain this? One year after the illegitimate coming of Umaru Yar Adua, power supply has gone worse. Those who stole and mismanaged billions of dollars that were earmarked for electricity development in the past 8 years are living as freemen. What a country? Those kinds of people belong in life-time jail because their negligence has sent thousands to the grave beyond. Their ineptitudes have destroyed lives and homes. They have spread sadness in the land, and the sadness and darkness persist to this day-May 29 2008 and beyond.

In other aspects of our lives as Nigerians, we are on our own while the government continues to operate at a frequency that does not tally with the expectations of the masses. The governments in Nigeria do not care about the Nigerian people. The politicians are thieves in disguise. They lie to the people and they rigged their way into power. Imagine this very wicked gang led by Yar Adua asking the people to pay more for electricity which is not even available in the first place. Absolute nonsense and senselessness!

In Nigeria, nobody cares if you have water to drink or if you “hunger to death”. Nothing is plan and nothing is in focus. The hospitals are not functioning to optimum level. Even the illegitimate president goes to Germany for treatment of his own ailment. What a shameless man? Why didn’t he build any hospital in Katsina State when he was a governor FOR 8 WHOLE YEARS? Has anyone thought about that?

Housing is an issue that is not tabled in the Nigerian government agenda. I don’t remember the last time estates or residential areas were designed and executed in that country. It is up to you as an individual to loot somewhere and build your own house. Only very few people can work legitimately to achieve such noble dreams. Majority do it at the expense of other people who must suffer. Rare and Scanty Mortgage houses are up for the rich and mighty. Where is the hope of the common man?

This country Nigeria is known worldwide as a producer of oil. Yet in a very shameful way, Nigerians continues to import petroleum products for use in Nigeria. The refineries are not working at all or they are working inefficiently. All these years of talking and talking, these civilian and military idiots in power cannot do something to build new refineries or make the available ones work maximally/ optimally. How many shameful things and mad acts can one see in governance by these gangsters?

Really, hopelessness persists. Look at the network of roads. Highways are in terrible conditions and all tiers of governance are looking the other way. Nigerian roads are terribly, terribly bad and annoying. Expressways have become snail-ways. Rather than settle down to work, these senseless politicians go about jumping from one country to another. They move from one hotel to another and from one useless function to another. They don’t even know what they are doing. Absolute scalar quantities!

The Nigerian people too do not even know their rights at all. They are just doing follow-follow. Many political thieves are still waiting for their own opportunities to steal and loot directly and indirectly. In general, the lack of purposeful leadership and the presence of a powerless followership are rubbing this country of her greatness. What is left of Nigeria is individual’s will to succeed at any cost. If you take away self-will, there is no country left to call Nigeria.

How long shall we complain about all these ills before we begin to see remarkable changes that will touch the lives of more than the 140m people? How long before corrupt politicians are sentenced to prisons? When will thieves in political offices be shown the way out? When will violence stop and when will the votes be counted? How many more fuel pipeline explosions are we going to have this year?

Who will save our souls?