By Tobi Soniyi
Lagos State Deputy Governor, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat has expressed concern at the growing rate of poverty in the country.
Speaking at a media parley to mark his 56th birthday on Friday, Hamzat said that when he was younger, he did not see many people begging.
According to him, for some reasons, poverty is growing in the society.
He said poverty “is a big challenge that many people have been forced to beg to survive even as he wondered what the country had done wrong that forced many people to take to begging as a means of survival.”
He noted that some of the people begging “are decent people who are not even lazy but who have been forced into begging by circumstance beyond their control.
He said: “The challenge for me is how do we increase that basket and make sure we lift more people out of poverty. How do we improve the way we all live as a people. It does not matter how successful you are if hundreds of people around you are unsuccessful.
“The challenge is how do we lift up our society a bit more. It is not just about Nigeria, but majority of Africa. how do we lift people out of poverty? That question must shape your thinking, your policy and whatever you plan to do, how does it affect the larger society.”
He challenged the youth to embrace hard work and honesty both virtues he said had helped him to achieve success.
He said he had no plan to join politics until he met a former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
Hamzat was born on September 19, 1964 in Lagos, Nigeria into the family of Late Oba Mufutau Olatunji Hamzat and Late Alhaja Kehinde Hamzat who is from Iga Egbe, Lagos State.
His father, late Oba Hamzat served as a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and as a Commissioner for Transportation in the state (1979 – 1983) before becoming the Vice-Chairman South West of then Alliance for Democracy (AD).
The late monarch became the leader of Lagos West Senatorial District of the defunct Action Congress (AC) and a crowned king through his maternal royal lineage.
But the deputy had his primary education at Odu-Abore Memorial Primary School, Mushin, Lagos State, and his secondary education at Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo State.
He graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1986 with a degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1986 and a master’s in Agricultural Engineering in 1988. In 1992, he had his PhD in System Process Engineering at Cranfield University, England.