President Muhammadu Buhari has said that a significant proportion of Nigeria’s prosperity is concentrated in the hands of a few people in the country.
The President made the statement on Monday at the 25th Nigerian Economic Summit in Abuja, with the theme, “Nigeria 2050: Shifting Gears”.
He said, ‘‘A significant proportion of Nigeria’s prosperity today is concentrated in the hands of a few people living primarily in 4 or 5 states and the FCT. Some of the most prosperous Nigerians are here in this room.
‘‘This leaves the remaining 31 States with close to 150 million people in a state of expectancy and hope for better opportunity to thrive. This, in the most basic form, drives the migratory and security trends we are seeing today both in Nigeria and across the region”.
President Buhari while underscoring the importance of collective prosperity, said that a prosperous society is one where the majority of its citizens have an acceptable standard of living.
‘‘Today, many mistake prosperity with wealth. They are not necessarily the same.
‘‘Experts and analysts explain economic trends by making references to indicators of wealth.
‘‘Wealth, however, in its simplistic form, is money or other assets. In recent years, global events have shown that when a society and its leaders are driven and motivated by these alone, the ultimate outcome is a divided state of severe inequalities.
‘‘But a prosperous society is one where majority of its citizens have an acceptable standard of living and a decent quality of life,’’ he said.
The President also used the occasion to affirm that in addressing population growth, security and corruption matters in developing economies, policies and programmes must focus on promoting inclusivity and collective prosperity.
‘‘Nigeria is a country with close to 200 million people living in 36 states and the FCT.
‘In the recent weeks, I have been to Niger Republic to attend the ECOWAS summit; Japan with fellow African leaders to attend the Tokyo International Conference on African Development; the United Nations General Assembly in New York and South Africa on a State visit to exchange ideas on the common themes we share as the two largest economies in Africa.
‘‘What was very clear at these meetings, and numerous others I have been privileged to attend over the years is the increased consensus by leaders that to address population growth, security and corruption matters in developing economies, our policies and programmes must focus on promoting inclusivity and collective prosperity.
‘‘This shift implies that the concept of having competitive free markets that focus on wealth creation alone will be replaced by those that propagate the creation of inclusive markets which provide citizens with opportunities that will lead to peaceful and prosperous lives,’’ he said.
On the focus of this year’s economic summit which is discussing what Nigeria would be in the year 2050 when many studies estimate the country’s population will rise to over 400 million people, the President said:
‘‘As a government, our view is to equip our citizens with the means to seize any opportunities that may arise.
‘‘This means we continue investments in education, health care, infrastructure, security and strengthen and entrench the rule of law.’’
While wishing the 25th NES fruitful, robust and productive deliberations, the President praised the organizers and stakeholders of the Summit for sustaining the platform established since 1993 to deliberate on key issues on national development.