Abdur-Rahman Olalekan Olayiwola
This paper on a comparative political analysis of poverty and inequality in Nigeria and Britain cautions that the issues of poverty and inequality and the policies to address them should not be ignored in the reallocation of public resources. All over the world, poverty and inequality have continued to increase rapidly in relative terms over the last decade. In Nigeria, there has been a polarization between the rich and the poor along neo-colonial capitalist lines. For over fifty-four years of political independence, Nigerians have been afflicted with abject poverty in the midst of abundant natural and manpower resources. The grinding poverty has manifested itself in poor feeding, poor housing, poor clothing, poor health, poor education, poor transportation, poor communication, poor political participation, poor economy, poor environmental, and poor social policies to tackle problems of poverty and inequality. The country has failed to embark on meaningful, effective and truthful total planning, total mobilization and considerable regimentation which are important pre-requisites of rapid progress in combating poverty and inequality. The paper begins with theoretical conceptualizations and conceptual clarifications of poverty and inequality, discusses types of poverty, barometers of measuring poverty and inequality, x-rays causes of poverty and inequality, analyses the problematic problems of poverty and inequality, suggests actions to be taken to address the issues and makes policy recommendations. The paper also relates poverty and inequality to an investigation of the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The MDGs are United Nations’ facilitated development goals that were established at its Millennium Summit in 2000. The goals which were adopted as United Nations Millennium Declaration by 189 member countries and a number of international organizations are eight, namely:
• Eradication of extreme hunger and poverty;
• Achieving universal primary education;
• Promoting gender equality and empowering women;
• Reducing child mortality rate;
• Improving maternal health;
• Combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases;
• Ensuring environmental sustainability; and,
• Developing a global partnership for development.
The paper concludes that unless and until the crises of poverty and inequality are resolved, it will be an herculean/uphill task for Nigeria in particular in her effort to realize vision 20:2020. This is a document of an economic transformation blue print (road map) that is expected to launch Nigeria into the league of the 20 most developed countries of the world by year 2020.
The paper finally submits that no stone should be left unturned and all hands must be on deck by all and sundry – individuals, local, state, regional and federal governments; as well as the private sectors, civil societies, non-governmental bodies, agencies, professional associations, among a host of other stakeholders to tackle the problems of poverty and inequality. Otherwise, the national objectives enunciated over forty (40) years/four decades ago in Nigeria’s Second National Development (1970-74) which have hitherto eluded the country, will continue to be more problematic and more insurmountable to achieve.
1. A united, strong and self-reliant nation;
2. A great and dynamic economy;
3. A land of bright and full opportunities for all its citizens;
4. A just and egalitarian society;
5. A free and democratic society.