From Femi Oyelola Kaduna
The Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in the Nigerian Defence Academy, (NDA), Professor David Alabi, has said poverty is enemy of democracy in Nigeria and all ethno-religious crises and insecurity being witnessed across the country is as a result of the menace.
He stated at the 5th Professorial inaugural lecture delivered at the NDA yesterday.
According to him, relative educational and industrial underdevelopment has a tendency to breed political intolerance, saying it is only human to react negatively to one’s own elative deprivation when it could at least be prevented.
Prof. Alabi whose lecture titled: “Federalism, National Question and the Crisis of Development in Nigeria,” said much of the religious violence especially in the north is a way of expressing displeasure over the region’s relative economic backwardness which has been manifested in low educational and industrial development, youth unemployment and boring rural existence.
The Don stressed that sound education breeds economic empowerment and in a situation of relative educational disadvantage, as is the case in the Northern Nigeria, economic weakness and poverty cannot but result.
Prof Alabi also disclosed that violence and conflict would be considerably reduced when the north is better educated, poverty reduced and the corrupt elites are made to account for their decades of misrule and pauperization of the masses.
“My submission is that the North, like any other region has considerable development potentials and therefore has no business being poor irrespective of the political arrangements in Nigeria, the territorial size and solid minerals in the North are capable of transforming its economy to sustain high standard of living for its citizens.
“The problem in the region is however; hardly different from what is obtainable in the rest parts of Nigeria where mismanagement,
corruption and the elites squander mania jointly constitute the bane of development.
“Then, it is indeed tragic that many years of political dominance of the North in Nigeria did not translate to educational advancement of its citizens. Undoubtedly, the elites who hide under the banner of religion and ethnic peculiarities are the culprits,” he said.
The Special Guest of Honour, Major-General Mahmoud Yerima Rtd in his remarks concurred to fact that poverty is the enemy of democracy in Nigeria as well as instrument breeding insecurity across the country.
He however proffers solution to it by saying that Nigerians should be hard working and stop depending on people who do not wish them good.