- Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II, emir of Kano and former Central Bank governor, says Nigeria may remain poverty capital
- The emir said unless things change drastically, Nigeria will continue continue in this trend
- Sanusi urged Nigerians not to think miracles will occur to solve the problems of the country
The emir of Kano and former Central Bank of Nigeria governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi II, has declared that Nigeria may remain the poverty capital of the world for many years to come unless steps are taken to change the current trend of things.
Sanusi disclosed this after his induction as an honorary member of the Sigma Club of the University of Ibadan.
He urged Nigerians not to think miracles will occur to solve the problems of the country. Going further, he said that with good thinking, things can change for the best.
“If every country continues its present trajectory, by 2050, 80 per cent of all the poor people in the world will live on the African continent. But, that is not the frightening thing. One half of this 80 per cent will be in Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Two countries will account for 40 per cent of all the poor people in the world and Nigeria will therefore remain the poverty capital of the world.
“This is a country that has produced many great people. This is a country that has boasted of best professors, greatest intellectuals, and the most educated people."
According to him, in 1960, the per capital income in Nigeria was higher than what it was in South Korea, and China and In 1974, when Deng Xiaoping started opening up in China, there were 700 million Chinese living in extreme poverty, but today, that number is down to only 30 million people in one generation.
He said in that same year, China had only 8 million university graduates but today, they have more than 300 million university graduates, more than the entire population of the United States of America, without any direct foreign investments.
“We talk about miracles, ancient miracles. I don’t like the word miracles because miracles are associated with angels with wings that you do not see, coming from the sky. The Chinese are human beings like us and they did it.
“When we say miracle, it sounds like something supernatural that has some certain powers to it. Every time you think about it, the only deficit we have is a policy deficit.
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“We have elections in 2019, I read the papers, I look at the television, and listen to the discussions, who is talking about education? Who is talking about nutrition? Who is talking about basic health? As a country, what are our priorities? We don’t have enough money for education. We don’t have enough money for health. We don’t have enough money for nutrition. But we have N1trillion or N2trillion to spend on petroleum subsidies. Where is our sense of what is important, and where is our investment in the future?
“So, for all Nigerians, who care about this country, the real task before us is to know that we have 30 years on the outside in which we need to make sure that we do not become the poverty capital of the world, and slum of the world.
“The earlier we realise that countries like Taiwan, Hong Kong in China, Singapore and Israel have become what they have become, not because they have found oil or diamond or gold, but because they have realised the values of human beings. The earlier we begin to take the path that will change this very sad trajectory, the better for us," he added.
The emir said he is committed to taking decisions that are necessary to make sure that crisis in the future is averted, as he expressed hope that all Nigerians will come together and work to build the nation and make it a country that we all know it can be. "We know that Nigeria can be great. We all know it," he said.
“All those seeking political office, we hope will begin to join us, and we will continue to urge those outside politics to exert the right pressure on those in government to give us these policies, these thinking because that is the future of this country.
“If you take Kano alone, today 58 per cent of all children under the age of five in Kano state suffer from chronic malnutrition. Out of that, 17 per cent has acute malnutrition. Globally, nine per cent is a crisis, but we have 17 per cent. Forty eight per cent of the children of all women of reproductive age suffer from anaemia, iron deficiency. We have almost four million children out of school. We have one of the highest infant mortality and maternal mortality rate in the country," Sanusi said.
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According to him, these are issues that confront us and we must address to avert that tragic future but such discussions are not even featuring in political discourse.
He said: “Within Africa, we are having countries that are becoming excellent examples of what we can do with just a little bit of good thinking, combined with the right values. Our people have the ability, they are resilient, had working and intelligence to do it.”
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