Despite having the best opportunities till date, in governance of the country since independence (that is in the number of years as head of state), the northern region of Nigeria still lags behind as highly poor and worst in human development of all its constituent states.
This is according to data from the Oxford University Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) “Nigeria Country Briefing,” 2017.
The OPHI data indicate that the region, with vast landmass, posted as the worst performing in “multidimensional poverty index data bank.”
The region, according to states ranked, posts an average of 85.36 percent in poverty rate in the period under review (year-to-date, 2017), with six northern states ranked as “worse states.”
These are: Zamfara, the worst state, with 92 percent poverty rate, Jigawa 88 percent, Bauchi 87 percent, Kebbi 86 percent, Katsina 82.2 percent, and Gombe 77 percent.
Data from five other core northern states: Kano, Sokoto, Adamawa and Boko Haram ravaged Borno and Yobe, were not available in the Oxford University Poverty and Human Development Initiative, Multidimensional Poverty Index Data Bank.
In the same vein, Taraba State (with 78%), recently enmeshed in herdsmen attacks, along with Plateau (51.6%) in the North Central Zone were also listed among Nigeria Country Briefing’s “worse states” in sub-national poverty rates rankings.
However, data from herdsmen harried Benue State were not available.
The only exception among the northern region is the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja, which poverty rate is 24 percent, and strike traumatised Kogi State with 26 percent, according to the OPHI data.
Meanwhile, Ebonyi, a salt producing and a largely agrarian state, majoring in rice production, in the South-East region, is the only ‘worst performed and poor state’ in the entire southern states of Nigeria.
The state, currently under the leadership of David Umahi, elected governor in 2015, was ranked with 56 percent in the Nigerian sub-national poverty rates.
The OPHI data posted state in the southern region as largely performing fairly well in poverty eradication policies.
Lagos State, with a gross domestic product (GDP) economy of $136 billion, and by far, Nigeria’s economic capital, which recently emerged as Africa’s seventh largest economy, bigger than Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya, two of the continent’s most promising economies, is surveyed by OPHI as the least poor state in Nigeria, with only 8.5 percent ranking in sub-national poverty rate.
Other states in the South West zone are: Ogun 27 percent, Oyo 29 percent, Osun 11 percent, and Ondo 28 percent. Data from Ekiti State was not available.
In the South-South zone, Edo State came off with a promising 19 percent sub- national poverty rate, while Rivers ranked with 21 percent and Bayelsa 29 percent.
For the South East zone, Imo, a state currently governed by Rochas Okorocha, whose recent voodoo economics have swayed it to 20 percent, from initial 15 percent in 2014-2015. Data from Abia, Anambra and Enugu states were not available.