The growing problem of poverty in Nigeria: what can we do to reduce it?
Poverty is an insidious disease that incapacitates, depresses and ultimately kills dozens of people around the world. Those affected can be old or young, black or white or brown, rich or poor, skinny or obese. Every day, more than 50,000 people die unnecessarily from poverty. Almost a billion people suffer unnecessarily, some of them in the midst of abundance.
Yes, gifted people can and do suffer deprivation and painful premature deaths. My beloved country of birth Nigeria is an example. How could a nation so blessed with countless natural and human resources be so cursed that nothing works right? Every stat that should be high is low and those that should be low are high. Whether it’s about mortality, employment, crime, disease, accidents, corruption, greed, human rights, you name it!
The facts are, in the Beverly Hills of the world, you will find poverty staring you in the face, albeit obscured. Inside their mansions, some materially rich people are, in Fela’s prophetic words, “suffering and smiling.” Poverty is as relative as it is universal. Depravity comes in various colors, shapes, sizes, and grades. It is not just about money, as some would mistakenly describe it. How you define it is your version of poverty.
The effects of poverty are profound for both the individual and society, especially in Nigeria. Humanity should find an affordable cure; Until then, each person must do what they can to prevent and treat this pandemic. Personal responsibility must be called to arms. Furthermore, it is easier to steer a small boat (the individual) than to go around a large boat (the society). Therefore, it is up to one to start with oneself.
Poverty is slavery, according to the African (Somali) adage. The Book says that the poor will always be with us. Gandhi said that “poverty is the worst form of violence.” And Einstein said that no problem could be solved with the same level of consciousness that created it. I ask what can be done to minimize depravity in Nigeria.
We have all heard or witnessed stories of “from poverty to riches.” Books have been written to show us how to improve ourselves. There are roadmaps to improve ourselves, both individually and collectively. It is never easy! Are we willing to work harder, sacrifice more, and implement better strategies to improve our destiny? Or are we going to be shy and perpetuate the cycle of poverty by blaming everything and everyone except ourselves? Or are we going to put our feet on the ground and say “enough” and break this miserable cycle? “With God everything is possible”, but we have to do our part.
Eight Ways to Reduce Poverty in Nigeria – Here are eight ways to reduce poverty in Nigeria.
Education and implementation: it is important to know what to do. However, it is essential to put that knowledge into perpetual practice.
Build relationships with the right people – Knowing lots of people is good, meeting the right kinds of people is even better. Be careful, that receptionist can help you more than the manager. As the saying goes, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. Be prepared to “give” before you can “receive.”
Financial planning: start saving early and often. Little drops of savings form the mighty ocean of wealth. Create additional sources of income. Don’t take too many or too few risks. The preservation of capital must be paramount. Gain money management skills first and then impart to the people you can reach. Most people are embarrassed to talk about these life skills. They fear that if they catechize about saving money, they will be labeled “have it all or know it all.” As I wrote in a previous article, that mindset makes “money” a dirtier word than sex. None should be dirty; Both are relevant when used as intended!
Healthier Living – Make exercise and a healthier life a priority in your family. Watch what you eat and what you feed your children. One sick family member affects the lives of all members. The sedentary lifestyle kills prematurely. The healthy you is a rich you!
Family planning: there are too many mouths and not enough to feed them. Consider having as few children as possible. When is it really enough? The God who gave you children does not want you to raise them in poverty.
It was of self-reliance: it is wise to help those in need. However, each person must fulfill their end of the bargain. Politicians are raising the alarm with their keywords for budget and deficit reduction. Governments cannot do everything.
Avoid the culture of poverty: Lavish funerals and rituals of excessive titles set wasteful precedents and should be reduced. The expensive funerals didn’t raise any Pharaoh from the dead back then and they won’t raise any Lazarus today. It is unfortunate that even educated Nigerians are fanning the amber of waste and promoting this culture of poverty. Why not invest the resources in the living as a tribute to the deceased?
It is proactive to express your wishes about where and how you wish to be buried: cremation or formal burial, internment here or in Nigeria. And save to finance your choice. Don’t let the grieving spouse deal with the consequences for your family members here and in Nigeria.
Terrible governments and (yes) citizen-supported corruption and other social problems have continued to plague Nigeria. Many people suffer and die in the midst of abundance. Several have been forced into exile within and outside Nigeria. Insecurity, disease and crime abound alarmingly, while few empty the collective coffers with impunity.
The bottom line is that everyone is losing: rich and poor alike, rulers and subjects, sectarian victims and perpetrators, robbed and armed robbers, kidnapped and their kidnappers, and all of us abroad. For the good of all, let’s reduce poverty, today’s slavery.
These words from musician John Mayer ring so true:
“Now we see everything that goes wrong
With the world and those who lead it
We feel we don’t have the means
To rise up and beat it “
So how long are we going to “keep waiting for the world to change”? Wouldn’t we rather start with the masterpiece in the mirror?