Foreword by Professor Babagana Zulum, mni, FNSE Governor, Borno State

In HOW TO LIFT NIGERIA OUT OF POVERTY, the author, Ikechukwu Obiorah, stimulates our consciousness toward the mother of our many problems: acute poverty affecting the mass majority of fellow Nigerians. The author does what is more important than reminding us of the problem which is suggesting potential solutions that rekindle our shared hope for a Nigeria whose wealth should fairly benefit all, rather than a privileged few.

The compelling force of Obiorah’s book is, the author’s powerful but simple logic, that the only way to lift Nigeria out of poverty is by lifting the poor and vulnerable populations out of poverty, and in a sustainable manner.

The book, appears to me, a journey through Nigeria’s economy, enumerating the causes of poverty in our country, put in the context of the sector by sector bottlenecks inhibiting our social well-being and economic progress, and more importantly, suggesting detailed step by step solutions to the challenges.

Let me say here that I may not entirely agree with some of Obiorah’s recommendations and I did point that to him, especially on wether the president should continue to have powers of nominating heads of federal anti-corruption establishments for the senate’s confirmation, as he creatively suggested, such appointments be made by a diverse composition of largely independent bodies.

While I see a good sense in the author’s recommendation, I think the issue require very critical thinking that should extensively consider the pros and cons and importantly, look at the practicality of that suggestion under our political structure.

Should the main concern be how to make systems work such that the President can appoint but unable to curtail the powers of appointees, or should we focus at stopping the president from being able to make such appointments?

Can we rightly withdraw the powers of making sensitive appointment from an elected President who has the mandate of Nigerians and hand over to unelected persons presumed to be independent? How independent are these persons, given the fact that people who occupy positions whether public or private are often tied to hidden or open influences of godfathers in politics, businesses, labour movements etcetera?

Also, what should be the role of the National Assembly? Should they not, as representatives of Nigerians have any hand in the confirmation of appointees to anti-corruption offices? If the National Assembly should have a hand, how right is it to exclude the president whose key executive function is to make nominations for the National Assembly to consider?

Despite these and possibly more questions, I concede that Obiorah’s book challenges us (critically) to look into the issue of appointments of heads of anti-corruption agencies and how that affects the successes or otherwise of Nigeria’s battle with corruption.

Obiorah also touched on another sensitive area: population including making a recommendation that our good President Muhammadu Buhari remains chairman of the National Council on Population Management beyond 2023. Although Obiorah’s argument is based on Mr President’s command of respect, I am sure the suggestion will require debate, including from Buhari himself.

Amid these, Obiorah once again directs our attention to an important issue.

You should own and read this book. That I identified some areas should even give you more motivation to read the whole of it so you can make your own sense from Obiorah’s audacious and out of the box proffer of solutions. Try reading his anti-corrutpion plan or his educational reforms or youth employment plan, etc.

Obiorah’s recommendations aim to activate mass participation through the strengthening of various sectors for genuine benefit.

The author’s hope and optimism for the future are palpably felt on the lines and paragraphs of his solutions to various impediments he identified.

I recommend this book to policy makers, stakeholders, bureaucrats, politicians, researchers, lecturers, students and many a person interested in Nigeria’s economic and social development.

I implore you to read HOW TO LIFT NIGERIA OUT OF POVERTY for its insights and the potential it holds in alleviating the poverty of Nigerian masses and towards lifting our dear nation out of poverty.

Finally, I applaud Ikechukwu Obiorah for his intellect, for his deep thinking and his evident passion for a better Nigeria. I congratulate him for this book and I wish you a happy and beneficial read. God bless our dearest Federal Republic of Nigeria.   

Professor Babagana Umara Zulum
Governor of Borno State
March, 2022.