From Okwe Obi, Abuja
Ahead of next year’s general elections, PUSH Africa has explained why political parties and aspirants should restrict their campaigns to only poverty alleviation.
PUSH Africa founder Doris Egbaramen, at a press briefing Monday in Abuja, tagged ‘Do-One-Campaign, contended that poverty fuels insecurity, unemployment and stunted growth.
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She stated that if leaders can be deliberate in their quest to lift millions of Nigerians out of poor, the country would be a better place, as citizens would pay less attention to crimes for survival.
Egbaramen noted that the organization will also point out to the government some community-based opportunities that when harnessed can help reduce poverty in local communities across the 36 states of the federation.
She said: “A key objective of the campaign is to focus the attention of prospective leaders who are aspiring to vie for various political offices to give priority attention to the raging increase in the number of poor people in the country and to show to the Nigerian people that they have a practical and actionable plan to tackle pervasive and deepening poverty their various constituencies.
“A key component of the campaign is to create a platform where Nigerians most hit by poverty can tell their own stories as it affects them so as to show the depth and harsh realities they live with.
“The projection is that by exposing the vulnerable conditions in which they live, the nation’s elected and appointed leaders will be encouraged to take serious and actionable steps towards solving the problem.
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“Statistics show that about 95.1 million Nigerians – close to half of the country’s population still live below the poverty line.
“This current situation is disturbing and if we are not intentional about this issue, the statistics will get worse and the consequences in terms of negative socio-economic impact and underdevelopment will keep getting worse.
“For the sake of the current and future generations, we cannot allow this to happen. As an organization, we are indeed concerned about this hike hence the urgent call to do something drastic and practically so about this poverty pandemic in this country.”
According to her, “Poverty is linked to many negative vices such as inadequate nutrition and food insecurity, lack of access to health care, insecurity, homelessness, unsafe neighbourhoods and it is also linked to the ugly head called corruption which adversely impacts our nation’s wellbeing.
“While acknowledging the current administration’s efforts in the terms of the will shown by the president, PUSH AFRICA believes that there is a need to troubleshoot the current efforts to find out why poverty numbers are getting worse despite the policy prescriptions being implemented.
“We need to check how well the solutions being administered are working and detect problematic areas that need to be focused on and improved. We need to check to see if it is really working because the numbers in the stats are not saying so.”