On Wednesday, the federal government said that state governors were partially to blame for the nation’s soaring poverty rate.
It accused the state’s top officials of favoring the development of urban infrastructure, like airports and bridges, rather than improving the lives of the poor.
Clement Agba, the minister of state for budget and national planning, made these remarks while briefing State House reporters shortly after this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting, which was held at the Aso Rock Villa in Abuja under the chairmanship of President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.).
Agba remarked that 72% of the poor in the country lived in rural areas.
He said the governors essentially run their states from their state capitals, he said. Furthermore, he added the democracy we promote aims to provide the best services to as many people as possible. And even though the majority of our population resides in rural areas, according to demographic data, the governors do not work there.
He urged them to focus on constructing rural roads so that farmers may at least transport their goods to markets.
Sokoto had the highest level of poverty, followed by the oil-rich state of Bayelsa, according to the minister, who cited the results of a recent survey he conducted throughout the 109 senatorial districts countrywide.
In response, Chris Nehikhare, the commissioner for communication and orientation for the state of Edo, stated that the initiatives taken by the state were intended to reduce resident poverty.
According to the commissioner, the state government organized skill development training to raise residents out of poverty as part of its effort to make life easier for the populace.
He pointed out that according to an index published by a federal government body, Edo ranked seventh among states attempting to eradicate poverty and improve the lives of its citizens, thus the minister was not talking to the state.
According to Mr. Ini Ememobong, Commissioner of Information and Strategy for Akwa Ibom, it is incorrect for the federal government to attribute the country’s rising poverty to state governors.
He asserted that economic policies determine poverty and unemployment in a nation. Therefore, the Federal Government cannot shirk its duty. Adding that to hold state governors accountable for poverty because they have not yet accepted true federalism is merely an indication of a federal government in decline.