For the past few weeks, I have been sharing with you what I consider as Nigeria’s true success story: the cassava production. Today I ask: is Nigeria meeting the UN Millenium goals in terms of eradicating extreme poverty and hunger?
In the early years of this UN initiative, the government of the day showed genuine interest in meeting the set goals. Over the years, many distractions pushed this noble initiative off the radar. In addition, new policies were enacted, but the will to drive them were not put into consideration. The other side of the situation had to do with the economic realities.
After the global economic meltdown that hit the world in 2008, many countries including Nigerian were barely scrambling for survival. Wealthy nations had to look for ways to succor the pains of other countries. This beat the projection of most economists and no one really saw this coming. In a sense, countries with strong fiscal discipline were able to keep to the UN initiative, and others used it as an excuse to backtrack.
Nigeria may have pioneered certain laudable acts in Africa, but still, the African giant is lagging behind in eradicating poverty. A recent survey showed that over 53% of Nigerians are living below $1 per day. Each move by the government to shore up this figure and change the status quo has not been generating the right results.
It is essential to mention that the launch of different initiatives has not made much difference. The call for Nigerians in Diaspora to lend a helping hand in building the nation has not been quite productive. Sadly, a top government official recently claimed that the Nigerian government has succeeded in raising a new breed of millionaires. A close look at these individuals showed that they were people who had close connections with those in government.
If a drastic action is taken, Nigeria could be able to make adjustments and fall in line with the previous projections. However, based on the current reality, Nigeria is not meeting the UN Millennium goals in terms of eradicating poverty.