The presidential candidate of the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP) for the 2023 election, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso has lamented that the rate of poverty in northern Nigeria is actually worse than what is reported.
The politician said this on Sunday during his interactive session with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) in Lagos.
While answering questions from the editors, Kwankwaso said that the rate of poverty in reality in the northern part of the country is actually more deplorable than reported.
A report by the National Bureau of Statistics painted a gloomier picture of the rate of poverty in Nigeria, with 63 of the population, or 133 million people living in abject poverty.
The NBS further alerted that 86 million of this number which represents 65 percent of the lot live in the northern part of Nigeria.
This ugly lopsidedness becomes problematic for the fact that the leadership of Nigeria has been dominated possibly more than 65 percent by people from the same north.
Kwankwaso however blamed the scourge on the elite of the north whom he blasted for not taking the right decisions to undo this malaise.
He said the cringing penury has nothing to do with religion, using the South West, a part of Nigeria that has a good percentage of the population as Muslims, just like the north, as an instance, and wondered why the case is different.
“When I walked into this hall, as I looked around, I saw shiny faces and remembered that I am in Lagos. But if you want to see the true nature and manifestation of poverty in the country, just take a tour of the north and you will find out that what the records say is not even right. The poverty in the north is worse than projected and blame the elite for that ugly trend.”
Kwankwaso who assured the editors that Nigeria would have a different story to tell if he is elected the president assured that his educational policies implemented in Kano while he was governor would be replicated to turn things around nationwide.
He assured that he would prioritize education and human capital development as he did in his eight years as Kano State governor.
The former legislator said his administration in Kano worked hard to drastically cut down the out-of-school kids ratio in the state, and would work towards the same goal as the president.
The former governor, however, debunked rumours that he is under pressure by the northern leadership to drop his candidacy and make a way for the PDP presidential candidate to win the election.
He clarified that such speculation is baseless as it is already too late at this point for any candidate to drop from the race.
He asked: “If you say or believe that I am planning to drop my ambition and leave the NNPP for Atiku to win, then why did I in the first place leave the PDP? I should have been there to work for Atiku if that were the case.
In fact, all four major candidates are ready for the race. Don’t expect any of them to step down now.”
He also boasted of the positive impact his candidacy and that of the Labour Party man, Peter Obi has made on the political landscape. He stated that the impact was confirmed by the position of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the presidential election of next year will go into a second ballot to determine the winner.
He described the APC and PDP as destroyers of Nigeria and argued: “No matter how much you love the two parties, you cannot but admit that they have totally failed Nigeria and Nigerians and need to be changed. That is the reason Nigerians should not vote for them. Their candidates have nothing to offer Nigeria.”