Need to plan for Nigeria’s burgeoning population

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Countries where things work are marked by meticulous planning. Such countries take everything into consideration, including the minor details which others would overlook. They make provisions for practically everything.

Such countries where things work, know the invaluable benefits of planning and as such, they factor planning into every facet of their national lives. The population economy; healthcare and education among others are planned.

Such serious countries leave nothing to chance, planning everything until every aspect of their lives fall into one sort of plan or the other. This kind of meticulous planning is also what is at the heart of efficient management and distribution of resources to preclude many conflicts even before they arise.

Nigeria has, however, proven to be a particularly hard nut planning wise, often tying planners in knots.

Nigeria returned to democracy in 1999, and while the citizens of the country have been well within their rights to expect that the Giant of Africa would make giant strides each year towards the achievement of a peaceful and prosperous life for all, what the years have brought by is a cascade of chaos that has grown more forceful with each passing year.

In today’s Nigeria, it is insecurity that engages citizens more than any other challenge. But it has not always been insecurity. In fact, many years before insecurity became the central challenge, the patience of the citizenry had been worn thin by the slow pace of development, and of course, systemic corruption.

All these had something to do with poor planning going back to the very foundations of the country.

A population problem

There can be no country without people populating it. But there can very well be people who have no country, or at best, people who can lay claim to a country as theirs but in the actual sense are excluded from practically every benefit of living in such a country even when they do everything they can to participate in the life of that country.

When this happens, conflict is inevitable because what would be left are some very disgruntled people who look out for opportunities to lash out at others as resources are diminished.

World Population Prospects 2022

The Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations recently released its World Population Prospects 2022 wherein it projected among other things that the world’s population is projected to reach 8 billion on November 15, 2021.

According to the reports, the global population could grow to about 8.5 billion in 2030; 9.7 billion in 2050 and 10.4 billion in 2100.

Also, as per the reports, more than half of the projected increase in the global population up to 2050 will be concentrated in just eight countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Philippines and the United Republic of Tanzania.

As per the report, Nigeria ranks as the 6th most populous country with a population of 216 million after China (1,426), India (1,412), United States of America (337), Indonesia (275) and Pakistan (234).

By 2050, Nigeria is expected to climb onto 4th place with a population of 375 million people.

Growing without growth

In most cases, any increase is a cause for cheer and a sign of good health. However, experience has also shown that swelling for example can be a sign of a medical condition and a not too good one at that.

Nigeria’s population is growing rapidly, and data shows that it will only continue to grow. However, experts are worried that such a growth in population is an unplanned one which can only lead to complications in the future as matching efforts are not being made to ensure that as Nigeria’s population grows, resources are being developed and opportunities maximized to cater for all.

This is crucial to avoid future complications that uniquely feature in the deadly competition for scarce resources.

Kene Obiezu writes from Abuja



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