Nigeria’s poverty situation unacceptable –Adesina
THE President of the African Development Bank, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, has decried the rising level of unemployment in Nigeria, adding that with its abundant natural resources, Nigeria’s poverty situation was unacceptable.
Adesina, who stated this while speaking on ‘Building a New Nigeria: Imperatives for Shared Prosperity’, at the convocation lecture of the American University of Nigeria, Yola, Adamawa State, on Saturday, said there were too many Nigerians living below the poverty line.
The former Minister of Agriculture, who said Nigerians deserved wealth, rather than poverty, lamented that 38.5 per cent of the youths were unemployed, lacked skills, economic opportunities and had become angry and restless as “they look at a future that does not give them hope”.
He said, “I speak to you today as a Nigerian. As I have quite often said, I will live as a Nigerian, die as a Nigerian, and on the resurrection morning, I will ask God for permission to rise as a Nigerian, with the green-white-green flag in my hand!
“Nigeria is blessed with incredibly rich diversity: of people, of cultures, of religions, of mineral resources, oil, and gas, amazingly rich biodiversity, that should make us the envy of the world. We are blessed with abundantly diverse agro-ecologies that should also make us a land of bountiful harvests with the capacity to feed Africa.
“We are a religious nation, so we should understand that God loves diversity. The diversity of rich and brilliant colours that we see in our forests, oceans, seas, and in flora and fauna, reflect the beauty of the Creator. Therefore, our diversity is not our problem.
“Diversity is our strength. But when mismanaged, diversity becomes divergence. Rather than unite, we become splintered, with each entity believing that, somehow, it is better without the other. We must manage diversity for collective good.”
Adesina said the country must address the fundamental reasons for ongoing agitations by allowing for open national dialogues without preconditions.