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The International Community Should Understand the Dynamics Behind Nigeria’s Rapid Population Growth: Politics : Nigerialog.com - Nigeria's Premier Online Forum

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The International Community Should Understand the Dynamics Behind Nigeria’s Rapid Population Growth

By: dayan (M) |Time : August 02, 2019, 03:31:56 PM
The most recent report by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) indicates that Nigeria’s population has crossed the 200 million mark.
When countries face rapid increases in population, the kind we have seen in Nigeria, they usually put in place concrete measures to ensure that the growth is properly managed and channeled to drive rapid economic growth as well.
That is not what has been happening in Nigeria, where the total number of people living in extreme poverty has mirrored population increases.

By the end of 2018, the number of Nigerians living in extreme poverty had increased to 87million people, in contrast to India which had 73 million people in abject poverty.
Meanwhile India is about 5 times Nigeria’s population.

There are many reasons Nigeria’s population will likely continue  unplanned growth, but the most important of them is the issue of the internal political dynamics of the country.

Of all the countries of the world, none has the type of internal political dynamics that drive uncontrolled population growth as Nigeria. The very founding of the country which resulted in independence in 1960 was preceded by controversial population censuses.
And soon after the country gained independence, the first census that was conducted in 1963 was rejected due to accusations of falsification of figures by different regions of the country at the time.

All the subsequent censuses were similarly discredited.

However, the most important reason to worry about Nigeria’s population is the fact that the country’s resources are shared according to population and land mass, but mainly population. The political system is a unitary top-down system where the center controls everything that matters in the country.

The country itself runs a crude form of winner takes all presidential system imposed by a military head of state who came from the current region that benefits most from this skewed system.

The president is elected by direct voting, and whichever part of the country that has the highest population would always produce the president, or weaken any president that comes from a different region.

Nigeria’s president is arguably the most powerful president in the whole world. The presidency has almost no checks to its powers and, it is so by design.

A typical example is the recent incident whereby the president of the country summarily removed the Chief Justice of the country using illegal ex parte orders from a tribunal answerable to the presidency, totally bypassing the institutional judicial commission that is constitutionally saddled with such responsibility. 
The national assembly could not do anything about it, and the ruling by the appeal court in the matter shows no signs of restraint on the president.

The almost God-like power of the president of Nigeria is the reason the more populated section of the country wants to retain the current system. The system takes resources from the presumed lesser populated part of the country, to develop the presumed more populated part in a winner takes all, thereby causing bitter resentment in the deprived regions.

To make matters worse, the region that wants to retain the current political system does not want to share natural resources like gold which exists in commercial quantity in its region, but is still insisting on taking the lion share of resources from areas of lesser population (according to the highly politicized official figures).

The reason the international community should pay attention to this internal Nigerian problem is that the region that claims the higher population has no incentive whatsoever to rein in its out of control population growth. Why would it?
The region gets rewarded for producing highest number of out of school children in the world.
It produces children that don’t go to school, or lack useful skills with which to survive economically.

The result is that these people end up joining all kinds of criminal and terrorist organizations which threaten countries far and near.

Graduates from the presumed less populated part never get jobs when they finish school, and also join criminal gangs, such as online advance fee fraud called “419” or “Yahoo boys” in Nigerian lexicon.

The current sociopolitical and demographic trajectory of the country forebodes a future conflict which the rest of the world cannot control due to the huge populations involved.

Such conflict would destabilize the entire African continent, and certainly push towards Europe.

The solution is simple, but the Northern region of Nigeria is using every tool to try to stop it.

That solution is internal political restructuring of Nigeria to enable regions within Nigeria to be accountable to itself.  The more radical option would be a renegotiation of the Nigerian country to allow self determination.

After such restructuring, the population of a region in Nigeria would no longer matter, because there would be no significant natural resources to share.

Regions would develop the resources within each, and pay taxes to the federal government in a true federalist arrangement.

And, if a region fails to plan its population growth, the region alone would bear the full consequences of its planlessness choices.

The only real fear now, is that the time for restructuring may have elapsed already.

-Nigerialog

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