Says we must promote inclusiveness for collective prosperity
By Michael Eboh
President Muhammadu Buhari, yesterday, lamented widespread inequality in Nigeria, stating that a significant proportion of the country’s wealth was concentrated in the hands of a few Nigerians.
He also said Nigeria has shown the world that it was capable of electing leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner, in a veiled reference to the 2019 general election which held between February and March.
Speaking at the opening session of the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit, NES, in Abuja yesterday, Buhari disclosed that these few wealthy Nigerians were based in only five states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
He, however, noted that the Federal Government is putting in place measures to promote inclusiveness, noting that over the last four years, the government had been focused on lifting a large percentage of Nigerians out of poverty, uplift the disadvantaged and encourage inclusiveness.
He said: “Today, many mistake prosperity for wealth. They are not necessarily the same. Experts and analysts explain economic trends by making references to indicators of wealth. Wealth, however, in its simplistic form, is money or other assets.
“In recent years, global events have shown that when a society and its leaders are driven and motivated by these alone, the ultimate outcome is a divided state of severe inequalities.
“But a prosperous society is one where the majority of its citizens have an acceptable standard of living and a decent quality of life.
“Nigeria is a country with close to 200 million people living in 36 states and the FCT. A significant proportion of Nigeria’s prosperity today is concentrated in the hands of a few people living primarily in four or five states and the FCT. Some of the most prosperous Nigerians are here in this room.”
‘Inclusiveness, a must’
Buhari further noted that from his recent visits to the United Nations, Niger Republic, Japan and South Africa, he observed the increased consensus by leaders, governments, the public and private sectors, that to address population growth, security and corruption matters in developing economies, policies and programmes must focus on promoting inclusiveness and collective prosperity.
According to him, this shift implies that the concept of having competitive free markets that focus on wealth creation alone will be replaced by those that propagate the creation of inclusive markets, which provide citizens with opportunities that will lead to peaceful and prosperous lives.
The President advised participants at the summit to adopt proposals that were productive, inventive and innovative, adding that they should also be wary of the fact that Nigeria’s unique challenges could only be solved by made in Nigeria solutions.
“As a government, we very much look forward to our continued collaboration with the private sector in designing and implementing developmental projects that will keep Nigeria on track for sustained, inclusive and prosperity-driven growth,” he said.
‘Elections have come and gone’
The President while also reflecting the 2019 general elections, said that Nigeria had shown the world that it was capable of electing leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner.
He said: “The elections have come and gone. Our country, once again, has shown the world that we can choose our leaders in a peaceful and orderly manner.
“Apart from a few pockets of unrest, the majority of voters exercised their civic rights without hindrance.
“Furthermore, we also saw an increase in the number of aggrieved candidates and supporters who took their concerns and grievances to the courts as opposed to the streets. This is how it should be.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, what this clearly shows is that our democracy is maturing.’’
Reflecting on the manifesto of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the President noted that his administration’s economic policies in the last four years focused on the need to uplift the poor and the disadvantaged and encourage inclusiveness.
He said: “During the elections, almost all candidates proposed their vision for the economy and for the country.
“Our party, the APC, put before the country policies that focus on delivering prosperity to all Nigerians through enhancing security; eliminating corrupt practices in public service; supporting sectors that will create jobs, and promoting socially-focused interventions to support the poorest and most vulnerable among us.
“These areas are all interconnected and are equally important in creating a prosperous society for all.”