Lifestyle education – Key to raising Nigeria rural dwellers out of poverty

Lots have been written/said to be the contributing factors for rural Nigeria poverty so as the long list of ways in which the government could help to bridge the gap between the poor and the rich Nigerians. In the last decade, Nigeria government have been investing in agriculture partly due to reality of dwindling demands for oil also because of the massive wasted opportunity in farming.

There is one area that has been ignored in the reports which we can not afford to leave out – villagers having second home as contributing factor to poverty in the rural areas. There are different levels of poverty, some are more of the mind than material.

In my village in Osun State for example at least 50% of inhabitants whose main job is in the farm have a second home in town and at any given festival/events such as Eid, Easter, and Christmas 70% of the villagers are out to town to celebrate and will stay away for at least a week or more before returning to the village. So overall it is only about 30% people in my village that lived in the village all year round, some of them owned their house in the village, a few renting.

My village is a typical Yoruba village with dirt roads, no toilets, only primary school building which is half gone due to no maintenance, drinking water from stream hence guinea worm epidemic, subsistence farming due to lack of capital, no electricity so large-scale farming is one big dream.

Agbopa Village, Ibadan

Agbopa Village, Ibadan

The above are significant social problems that have accumulated over decades, even if we have super intelligent leaders with hearts to serve the people and give to us what is rightly ours, rural poverty may still continue in many parts of Nigeria if we leave some keys lifestyle decisions unaltered.

Why would a villager needs two homes within 15 miles of each other, mind you these two houses more often than not are two mud structures with corrugated roof and sometimes cotton fabric as windows, but the point is that these are two structures that require maintenance no matter how little.

In civilised world, most farmers lived on their farms with no second home. They too, do travel away from their farms occasionally but they didn’t have to own their accommodation so they rent a property or hotel while away from home.

However, in Nigeria especially in my part of the country people are poor to begin with and still strive to maintain two homes both homes in most cases put together is less than one ideal home.

Looking back now, most family whose children did not make it past primary school in my village have parents with houses both in the village and my 15miles away town. Many parents especially the enlightened ones made different choices – some rented both in the village and in town and only acquire a land to build when it is feasible to do so without the pressure of societal status quo.

Maybe in addition to the government initiative of helping rural families out of poverty, massive education around making the right lifestyle choices based on one’s income is equally important.


Categories: Education, Nigeria

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14 replies

  1. There is no comparison between poverty in America and the poverty in Nigeria, as you describe in this post. But definitely making the right lifestyle choices by those in America who live below the poverty line could make a huge difference. I no longer live below the poverty line, but I had to make lifestyle choices, which oftentimes denied my desire for immediate short-term gratification, in order to improve the quality of my family’s life. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is common knowledge by now how the Okada business started in the middle belt of Nigeria. It was the advent of male farmers & workers (Civil servants mainly) making frequent trips to & from their farms & offices, from their village homes to their city homes, across cities & villages. To supplement their earnings they started a business by picking up the so many other persons on the road, also GOING their way, across villages and cities, for stipends. There is no better evidence of this duplicity in living in Nigerian communities, urban and rural alike.

    We really ought to examine ourselves more closely than we are doing. We tend to linger a lot on the excesses of the elite, without making concerted efforts to streamline our own ways. One thing I have observed over two decades of my active working life, the same people I was complaining alongside, about our country’s past leaders, are the very same people I am now complaining about today. They have managed to replace the old guard and are doing the very same things they did. Which points to the enduring fact that we create our leaders from our midst. Our corrupt leaders are a reflection of our community and ourselves. When I look around now, I get a good picture of what it will be like in another two decades and it isn’t pretty at all.

    Bravo Folakemi, your blog is raising issues about the way the ordinary Nigerian lives and that is laudable. There just might be hope still.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much yasniger for the contribution and yes we do have to do thorough soul searching before the finger pointing.

      And you are correct about Nigeria creating the same types of leaders that they once disagreed with, this is evidenced in all of our towns and cities even among peers – very sad. Maybe, just maybe hope is in the air if we let it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. This is quite interesting, Ori. How do the villagers travel from one house to the other? And do they maintain different sets of social circles because of these two locations? When they are away, who takes care of the unoccupied homes?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for stopping by.

      – the distance between the towns and villages can be as little as 15miles, handfuls of the villagers have motorbikes for ease of transport, some take combination of bush taxis and plenty of walk.

      On social circles – it is not the same for everyone. In my village for example most of the inhabitants were from the same town so they maintain the same group of friends both in the village and in town. For a few others who are from a different town, they have different circle of friends but really the distance between this triangle can be as little as 30miles.

      Maintenance of unoccupied homes – sometimes homes in town get locked up while they are in the village, this is so because the house is not in an acceptable state for renting. And if you are in town, homes in the village don’t fetch any rent usually you are just happy to have responsible adults to keep it clean. For people with young families, the children stay at home during the week to attend school and make their way tot he village on Friday afternoon.

      Quality of life will likely increase if efforts is put in maintaining one home as opposed to two.


  4. Thank you S.J for the reblog. Hopefully we will keep learning from one another to improve in all the ways that hinder our progress.

    There is a saying in Yorubaland that Botiwu ki oju alejo tobi to, ko le rina to ti onile roughly means no matter how big a visitor’s eyes were, they can never see as clearly as the locals.

    Many people within and outside of the country are concerned for the poverty level in rural areas, they deserve to know some of the hidden truths so we can better help ourselves as well as helping others to have clearer picture of how we get to where we are.


  5. Very informative piece.

    I guess the educated offspring pick up the bad habit of such parents so that they too get into the primitive acquisitive mode which partly is to blame for the corruption in Nigeria. Poor people do not own multiple homes in the USA or most of the Western world.


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on Takeshi's Flight and commented:
    Lifestyle education is needed in my country, the Philippines, too, aside from finding solutions to poverty.

    Liked by 1 person


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