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The study interrogates the politics of poverty alleviation amidst the prevalence of poverty in Africa, focusing on Nigeria. Nigeria currently ranks among the poor countries in the world. While many studies have examined aspects of poverty mitigation within the national development frameworks, the politics underlying such endeavors have been under-explored. This study narrows this gap by investigating how politicians bastardize social investment programs through tokenish material 'hand-outs' designed to serve immediate political ends. The study is based on textual and contextual analysis of secondary sources, as complemented by corroborated anecdotes. Appropriating Marxian production theory, the study posits that the prevalence of poverty in Africa has been occasioned by macro and micro-level politics. At the macro-level, the balance of trade cum balance of payment asymmetries has reproduced conditions that perpetuate dependency and underdevelopment in the developing countries in general and Nigeria in particular. At the micro-level, local politicians trivialize social investments by exploiting the poverty situation of the populace for electoral gains through ad hoc material 'hand-outs.' This has weakened the social investment policy environment and alienated the citizenry in decision-making concerning wealth creation, distribution, and social investments priorities. The study recommends mainstreaming social investment governance into national development programing for sustainability.
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