Nigeria: On Social Architecture – Questions for 2023 Presidential Candidates (15)

There is complete sense in proactively suggesting that stiff measures against our uncontrolled population expansion be put in place now because population explosion continues to worsen our pains of unemployment, insecurity, etc.

… do you agree that it is high time our democratically-elected president in 2023 birthed a new Nigerian culture of reproduction, regardless of our differing cultural or religious beliefs, by rolling out a “firm policy on family size” like China’s communist party did in 1973, stating a maximum number of children that each couple can have?

Recovery of Social Architecture

Population is not only a social determinant of individual and communal health but it could also turn around to be a determinant of social wellbeing. Our tight hold on religion and culture as the two major excuses for our uncontrolled population explosion actually portrays ignorance and has resulted in an alarming population figure estimated at 206 million in 2022. Today, Nigeria’s total fertility rate (TFR) of 5.2 births per Nigerian woman is the second highest in the world, coming after Niger Republic (the country with the highest TFR in the world).

The three nations considered “holy lands” by highly religious Nigerians have the following population-related statistics, according to the World Bank (2019): Israel has an estimated population of 9.45 million and a total fertility rate of three children per woman; Italy’s population estimate is 59.3 million, with a total fertility rate of 1.3 children per woman; and Saudi Arabia has a 35 million populace and a total fertility rate of 2.3 children per woman. While Nigeria’s population was about 45 million people in 1960, that of the United Kingdom was 54 million then. Today, the United Kingdom is estimated to have 67 million residents, while Nigeria’s has skyrocketed to 206 million. According to populationeducation.org, “Simply put, total fertility rate is the average number of children a woman would have if she survives all her childbearing (or reproductive) years. Childbearing years are considered age 15 to 49.”

In spite of the above facts, Nigerians are racing to hit 400 million by 2050 and our government is only concerned about expending billions of naira to conduct a National Population Census in 2023. Yet, “population census without procreation censure is a popularized carelessness (or senselessness), of the world’s poverty capital – Nigeria”. We should recall that the Nigeria Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) released in November posits that 63% of Nigerians are multidimensionally poor. This scary finding should deter a serious-minded nation from maintaining the second position on the world map of countries with very high total fertility rates (TFRs).

Nigeria’s current troubling socioeconomic situation can be likened to that of a burst pipe conveying vital products, such as water or premium motor spirit (petrol). While the fault is being fixed, it is essential to either stop the flow or reduce it to the barest minimum. While one admits that economic and population management theories are much more complex than I have attempted to simplify them, there is complete sense in proactively suggesting that stiff measures against our uncontrolled population expansion be put in place now because population explosion continues to worsen our pains of unemployment, insecurity, etc.

Therefore, do you agree that it is high time our democratically-elected president in 2023 birthed a new Nigerian culture of reproduction, regardless of our differing cultural or religious beliefs, by rolling out a “firm policy on family size” like China’s communist party did in 1973, stating a maximum number of children that each couple can have?

  • I disagree because such a policy would be anti-democratic and anti-human rights
  • I strongly agree because our unabated population growth aggravates our existing challenges
  • I disagree because Nigeria still has enough landmass to accommodate as many more Nigerians as possible
  • I am indifferent because my religion and/or culture supersedes rational thinking.

Adetolu Ademujimi is a medical doctor, author, reformer, coach and public policy expert who wrote in from Akure, Nigeria. Email: ademujimi@yahoo.co.uk; Twitter: @toluademujimi; Instagram: @adetoluademujimi; Linkedin: @adetolu ademujimi

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