The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party for the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi, on Monday, stated that the unemployment of 80 million Nigerians was responsible for the widespread poverty in the country.
Obi spoke at a one-day international colloquium in Port Harcourt organised by Christ Church for the presidential candidates of the different political parties, with the theme “What Do Nigerians Want?”
He said that a country that turned its people into poverty would be faced with crises, unemployment and insecurity.
“There is no way you will have 100 million people living in poverty and you will not have crises, we have more people living in poverty than China and Egypt combined, a population of about 1.5 billion.
“There is no where you won’t have this crisis we are going through with 35 to 40 per cent unemployment rate. When compared to the 120 million people who are supposed to be working in Nigeria today, only 40 million are gainfully employed.
“We have 80 million people who are supposed to be working in the country that are not working.
“The consequence is that we have a state but it is unproductive. Nigeria as a country is unproductive because when we talk about 80 million people that are not working, about 70 percent of them is made up of the youth in their productive age doing nothing and with so many tendencies.
“The country is not doing anything, is not working. All the country is doing today is sharing. Everybody is looking for what to share,“ he said.
He said the nation was in crisis because more than 90 percent of its revenue was to be used for service debt, noting that no country, or individual could survive with that.
“Last year virtually all the money we spent was borrowed. The first five months of last year, our total revenue was N1.847 trillion. We spent N1.802 trillion into servicing debt, so a total of 200 million people were left with 45 billion,“ he said.