Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said that the problem of extreme poverty in Nigeria keeps him up at night.
Osinbajo disclosed this at a dinner and interactive session with Faculty Members, Harvard Business School on Tuesday in Lagos.
Osinbajo featured alongside Srikant Datar, Professor of Business Administration, and Bayo Ogunlesi, a Nigerian investment banker at a question-and-answer session moderated by Hakeem Bello-Osagie, Chairman of Metis Capital Partners.
“I think what keeps me up at night has to do with extreme poverty. The issue is that the largest number of those who voted for us are very poor.
“The promise that government makes to them is that their lives will be better and obviously they are looking at their lives being better in the shortest possible time.
“I will like to see Nigeria being an industrialised nation in the next 10 years; a very strong middle class and most people living above the poverty line.’’
Osinbajo said that a lot of government policies were taking into account people at the bottom of the pyramid with a focus on agriculture and getting credit facilities to farmers in order to achieve self-sufficiency.
A recent report by Brookings Institution stated that Nigeria has taken over as the nation with the highest number of extremely poor people. Before now, India used to hold the position with a population of 1.324 billion people as against Nigeria’s 200 million.
The report read: “According to our projections, Nigeria has already overtaken India as the country with the largest number of extremely poor in early 2018, and the Democratic Republic of Congo could soon take over the number 2 spot.
“At the end of May 2018, our trajectories suggest that Nigeria had about 87 million people in extreme poverty, compared with India’s 73 million. What is more, extreme poverty in Nigeria is growing by six people every minute, while poverty in India continues to fall.
“In fact, by the end of 2018 in Africa as a whole, there will probably be about 3.2 million more people living in extreme poverty than there is today.