BrandArena: Rich Country Poor People Book Launch Stirs National Discourse in Lagos

Saturday 17 May 2014

Rich Country Poor People Book Launch Stirs National Discourse in Lagos

The need to show just cause for the plight of the less privilege and engender economic prosperity of Nigeria was at the front burner as eminent scholars, government functionaries and well-meaning Nigerians gathered at NECA House, Alausa, Lagos to witness the launch of a thought-provoking book titled Rich Country Poor Country.

Written by Professor Banji Oyediran Oyeyinka, the 136 paged book was the cynosure of all eyes in view of its empirical and in-depth analysis of the socio-economic imbalance facing Nigeria while also providing lasting solutions to them.

Speaking at the event, the Chairperson of the book launch, Dr Awolowo-Dosunmu lauded the self-effacing personality of the author despite his ultra-intelligent mind. Borrowing a leaf from the Awolowo’s philosophy which is predicated on ‘Freedom for all’, Dosunmu appealed to government across all levels to imbibe good governance and equitable distribution of resources.

“It is quite clear that the Awolowo idea and philosophy has been very beneficial to Nigerians, especially for people in the South-West part of the country. My appeal to all government officials present and others is to help do more in alleviating the plight of the poor in the society. It is a worrying sight that despite the great wealth in Nigerian, majority can suffer acute poverty.” She said.

Rich Country Poor People presents a paradoxical reflection of the Nigerian society where the vast majority suffer in spite of the abundant wealth and natural resources. Reviewer of the book, Prof Kayode Sowemimo, drew a parallel between Oyeyinka’s work and The Paradox of Plenty: Hunger in a Bountiful World which treats the subject matter of inequality and inequitable distribution of wealth.

“Rich Country Poor People” he said “is a clear statement that Nigeria is not a poor country but simply impoverished. The book explains the anguished voice of the patriot Nigerian person who suffers profoundly as a direct insensitivity and ineptitude of the ruling class of the society. It engages, through empirical facts and figures, the various calamities of post-colonial Nigeria that has deepened poverty in the most graphical way.” Sowemimo noted.

In his remark, the author of the book - which has been described as a page-tuner - stated that the project has been on his mind for over three years and seeks to show “the major thrust of Rich Country Poor People is that economically, Nigeria is growing very fast, however, the more we grow, the poorer people are getting. We need an inclusive policy, institutions, and constantly remind our leaders that the dividends of the economy should have a trickling effect on Nigerians. A country that generates a lot of material wealth while the people get poorer needs inclusive growth.”

The book, according to him targets politicians, banking experts, policy makers, bureaucrats, students and business persons who need to understand the root cause of inequality and poverty. “If we continue like this, the country would suffer in the future.”  He submitted.

The event had in attendance such dignitaries and erudite scholars like the Executive Governor of Ondo State, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Chairperson of the occasion and formal Ambassador to Netherlands,  Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, Abdul Kabir, representing the Executive Governor of Zamfara State, Professor Abdulahi Shinkafi,  Adebowale Oyeleye, representing the Executive Governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun.

Others are Dr Adeleke Ipaye, representing the Executive Governor of Osun State, Rauf Aregbesola, Professor Kayode Sowemimo, Professor Olugbenro Jegede, representing the Executive Governor of Kogi State, Capt Idris Wada, Emeritus Professor Akin Mabogunje and Professor Oye Ibidapo-Obe, former Vice Chancellor UNILAG among a host of other distinguished guests.

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