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A perspective: Why Jigawa is the poorest state?

 A perspective: Why Jigawa is the poorest state? 

-Amir Muhammad Harbo

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in its recent poverty and inequality report unveiled that Jigawa state is one of the states that have the highest poverty rates in Nigeria.

What a despicable!?

As I am saying this, despite the fact that the state has grown a little; but frankly, it is among the top three poorest states in the country. Because the data published by the NBS showed that nine in every ten people earn less than N377 per day in the state.


Likewise, the state is also ranked with one of the "lowest literacy index (third from the bottom in the WASSCE results for two consecutive years), high maternal deaths and infant mortality". Also, lack of support of female education in the state. 

Why all these? 

As we all know, these problems are surely related to bad leadership. Nigeria in general, and Jigawa state in particular, have been, for long time, bedeviled by those problems and the problems can be said to be evolved from the atrocities like: corruption, greed, poverty, ethnicity, et cetera. 

But whenever we attempt to interrogate these perspectives we find ourselves sailing through a labyrinth. In the end, (as we can see now) we are led into a vicious circle where we know not whether these factors are causes, or, are in themselves effects of unethical leadership in the state. 

So, please think of this quoted statement:

Do we have bad leadership because of corruption in the system? If that is the case, what is the cause of corruption? Many will say that corruption is caused by greed. If so, what is the cause of greed? Perhaps, greed is caused by poverty; if so, what is the cause of poverty? 

At this point, we may reply that the cause of poverty is bad leadership, but that would mean running full circle from bad leadership through multiple social and economic factors back to bad leadership. 

We were told that, "no matter how rich a nation or an institution may be, if the conduct of its affairs is dishonest, if there is large-scale fraud, if there is misappropriation of public funds, no accountability, and continued falsification of documents, that society or institution is bound to fail".

Truth to be said, we can see this in our Jigawa state today, because it is among the poorest state in the country with over 70 percent poverty rate. With this, I can say that about 80 percent of its people are destitute. 

Therefore, to truly overcome the perennial problem of poor leadership in the state, there is the need for us and the government to curtail it by many means. Jigawa is great, if good leadership will be implemented. 

Therefore, for its constant development these have to considered:

Firstly, we already know that the state has the opportunity for cross-border trading activities in Maigatari LGA. The government can develop it by initiating and establishing a good trade zone at the border town which is close to Niger.

Secondly is on agriculture, though the state has harsh climate conditions going as high as 45c on a good day, making it harder for irrigation projects. But yet, it has almost about 80 percent of its population practising rural agriculture. Don't we do domestic farming? Why government can't fully develop their great effort? Why not to modernise it?

Thirdly, also on education; and importantly the Almajiri system cannot continue to remain in it's present form and direction. As we have the highest number of them; the schools should be modernised through skills, numeracy and broader literacy in addition to its curriculum. As well as to enlarge their minds into various businesses for livelihood. 

Also, graduates should be offered with national and international scholarships to pursue their education so as to become good assets to the state. The same thing with with girl child education. It has be supported as well as encouraged by the government. 

Lastly, jobs must be given to the youths whose contributions are immensely not out of place. Why do the state has largest numbers of okada riders either in the state or in its neighboring cities? Therefore, something is missed which needs an absolute concern.

Succinctly, what Jigawa state needs is good progressive political structures (leadership) that will help it to modernise its education, health, local economy and environment. 

Indeed, if these implementations are made Jigawa will break from the status quo of poverty, ignorance and disease, enabled by the past of wastefulness, negligence, deceit and bad planning.

That's what we should supervene and Jigawa shall be a true new world InshaAllah. 

Amir Muhammad writes from Harbo. He is the founder/Executive co-ordinator of "Jigawa Progressives Network", a private organization. 

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