The Majority Poor Are Poised to Bring a Violent Revolution to Nigeria – says Rev. Fr. George Ehusani
The Buhari presidency has catapulted Nigeria to becoming the country with the largest number of severely impoverished people in the world. Until the arrival of President Buhari at the helm, this ignoble status belonged to India. The latest data show that while Nigeria has 79 million citizens with an income of less than US$1.9 per day, the number of India’s poor has dropped to 72 million people. Estimated India’s population of 1.4 billion is several times that of Nigeria’s 190 million people.
While India’s government was able to accomplish the feat of pulling the country out from the bottom rung of the global poverty scale through a spirited effort to enhance the domestic economy’s productivity, Nigeria has remained a mono-cultural economy based on crude oil export and little else. The income revenue generated from crude oil export, which is estimated to be as high as US$600 in the past half-century, was grossly mismanaged and the balance squandered by politicians and bureaucrats who operate the country’s rent-based economic system.
Nigeria’s poverty is inevitable for the following reasons:
The abandonment and neglect of agriculture as the major export-income earner since the discovery of crude oil in commercial quantities in the post-civil war era. In the immediate post-Independence period, the Eastern Region was rated to be the fastest-growing economy in the entire world and no oil export was involved. Other compatriots in the North and West generated impressive growth through prudent management of the region’s agricultural and other products for export. Neglect of agricultural production as the engine for driving economic growth and development resulted in a dramatic drop in the productivity of the average Nigerian.
The next most important cause of heightened poverty within the country is the exponential rate of population growth. Nigeria’s population has quadrupled since the country attained self-rule from Britain in October 1960. In the same period, the world’s population increased by only 70 – 75%. Nigerian are breeding like rats in the same period the citizens’ productivity is dropping. In this dire setting, many become losers and mass poverty reigns supreme.
Particularly in the North, formal education has not been regarded as the fuel for energizing national development and socioeconomic progress, as is evident in Southern Nigeria. The Muslim elite corps, who dominate the region’s political economy, see societal development primarily through the prism of Islam as a religion and ideology. Religious orientation has made millions of Nigeria’s Muslim youths to shun Western education since it is perceived as the primary tool deployed by Christianity to proselytize and win converts. Without basic knowledge through formal schooling, the Almajiri youths are seen as unskilled and thus unemployable.
Enforcement of Unitary Nigeria through a constitution that was decreed into existence by a Fulani military autocrat, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, by the issuance of Decree No24 of 1999 has crippled the country’s economic growth, entrenched corruption, discouraged and impeded entrepreneurship, etc. The worst attribute of Unitarism is the dream that Fulanization or Islamization is a possibility.
The 1999 Constitution features a 68-item Federal Exclusive Legislative List enumerating the multitudes of aspects of the average Nigerian’s life that must be micromanaged from Abuja. From electricity supply, seaports, river ports to railways, roads, business license, airports, etc., no Nigerian can make laws regarding them withouNigeria, first obtaining the approval of Abuja. This is the engine that drives the corruption that the Buhari presidency and the ruling party, APC, are supposedly fighting since 2015.
Rev. Fr. Ehusani’s admonition must not be lost on anyone because the priest speaks the truth which has been reaffirmed repeatedly throughout history. The wrath of the poor, who constitute the overwhelming majority of the Nigerian citizenry, is formidable. Unless something is done soon enough to retire Unitary Nigeria and the 1999 Constitution that props it up, the enraged mobs may get the final say in charting our future path as a people.
The good priest has made the accurate diagnosis of the ailment that may have sealed the fate of all Nigerians for the foreseeable future or maybe forever. Gut-wrenching poverty is a time bomb. Education has been shown as the most effective and pragmatic option for pulling society out of mass poverty. Unitary Nigeria, as currently constituted and run, impedes the introduction of skills training and educational systems in various parts of the country to suit local circumstances.
There is no solution to the fast-approaching day of reckoning as is being prophesied by Rev. Fr. Ehusani in this video. The first step that must be taken by whoever are interested in digging Nigerians out of mass impoverishment starts with getting the country’s geopolitics to match the racial and cultural diversity of the country’s constituents. The only way of acknowledging the geopolitics of a country of more than 300 ethnolinguistic groups is by writing a federal constitution to be approved by “We the people...”