The Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has said that Nigeria may remain the poverty capital of the world till 2050 and beyond.
Emir Sanusi II said this over the weekend at his honorary induction into Sigma Club, at the University of Ibadan.
According to him, based on current realities, Nigeria and DR Congo will house 40 percent of the world’s poorest people by 2050.
The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor said he gathered from the just concluded UN General Assembly that current projections show that Africa will be home to 80 percent of the world’s poorest people. He said that:
“If every country continues its present trajectory, by 2050, 80 percent of all the poor people in the world will live on the African continent.
“That is not the frightening thing. One half of this 80 percent 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”.
Speaking of Nigeria in the past, he said that: “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”.
“In 1960, the per capital income in Nigeria was higher than what it was in South Korea, and China. My father was the first ambassador of Nigeria to China in 1972.
“In 1972, he had to go to Hong Kong every two weeks to buy essential commodities because they were not available in Beijing. He could not find milk, sugar and cornflakes in Beijing; he had to go to Hong Kong in 1972, not 100 years ago.
“In 1974, when Deng Xiaoping started opening up in China, there were 700 million Chinese living in extreme poverty. Today, that number is down to only 30 million people in one generation. In 1974, China had only 8 million university graduates.
“Today, China has more than 300 million university graduates, more than the entire population of the United States of America. Yet, China did not have direct foreign investments; in fact China stopped it.
“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”.
According to him, the politics of 2019 is not interrogating the major issues affecting Nigeria today.
“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 1 trillion naira or 2 trillion naira to spend on petroleum subsidies. Where 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”.
Earlier in 2018, Nigeria overtook India to become the poverty capital of the world. And according to British Prime Minister Theresa May, 87 million Nigerians are living below the poverty line.