Saturday, April 21, 2012

Pull a Seat; Let's Talk About Sex 1

This is the first part of our guest posts by Temitayo Olofinlua of the Bookaholic Blog. Excellent writing! Makes for excellent reading too!

In a piece written on NY Times recently, there is a postulation that in the quarter of a century, Nigeria's population would reach a 300million mark, with the rate that we are growing. What does this mean to you? Would this skyrocketing population growth be a blessing or a curse? Pull a seat; let's talk.

Every morning most of us leave our homes in some face-me-I-face-you; tug, push and pull at the bus-stops to reach our offices. We breathe into our nostrils and are forced to inhale the stench of our stale sweats. Some others still leave their palatial abodes; father and mother goes to work in separate cars; children go to school in another car; maid goes to market in another car; cushioning the smell of the filled gutters with the cool air from our ACs. Yet, poor and rich, we are all in this gridlock of a traffic for hours. Poor and rich, stuck in the gridlock of the population increase. Imagine Lagos in 25 years if the population growth continues like this; someone shall create flying cars; then, there shall be traffic, above and below.

In a country where our leaders are more concerned about their bulging bank accounts than the welfare of its citizens; in a country wealthy enough to cater for her citizens' education from primary to university but won't; in a country where you cater for your housing and everything that comes with it, this population growth should worry us more. There are many dimensions to the population question; migration and childbirth seem to be at the forefront. I don't want to bother my head about our loose borders, the many people who pour through them in search of the proverbial greener pastures daily. Loose or tight, they are the government's challenge. Nigeria's borders won't expand yet its population would likely keep bulging. I don't want to face the government when it comes to the population question. I don't want to bother myself about what the National Orientation Agency is doing about it.  Let's talk about our circle of influence, what we can control ourselves: childbirth. I know the we are not God and all that talk, but let's talk about it still. Pull a seat.

Children are blessings. There is a Yoruba saying: a ki n ka omo f'olomo. The bible even says that we should be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth, abi? What happens when "your earth" is almost filled? The average Nigerian parents see children as a sign of wealth or prosperity. The more children you have, the more it becomes clear that you have the wealth to take care of them. This may be changing in most "middle class" families (middle class is subjective). Increasingly, more families are finding it harder to properly care for children these days.  Don't blame them; blame these  reasons: low salaries, no housing plan for masses, continually reducing resources, and the dipping economy. However, what bugs me is: why would you bring children to a world you don't even have enough to take care of yourself, let alone to cater for them? We have a miracle-working God abi? Simply put, it is irresponsibility, except if you lost your job after having the kids already. Even that is really not an excuse.

Does it make any sense to bring children to the world for the sake of having children, multiplying without the land to till to take care of them? Gone are the days when men had many children for manual labour on the farms. Now, it seems to be a new form of manual labour; begging in some cases. There are families where the children are just poured into the streets, not only to fend for themselves but to fend for families, families with fathers and mothers. You wonder what the parents do?

You know what pretending that the increase in population does not affect us means? It means more people at the bus-stop jostling for the few buses. It means more students writing JAMB to get into the few universities. It means more people at the bottom of the economic rung struggling for the crumbs that trickles down from our irresponsible leaders' tables. It means more competition, more people, fewer opportunities, more struggle for those few opportunities. The basic need of man is survival, the reduction of humans to the jungle experience of the survival of the fittest...

I have split the post into two parts to make for easier reading... Please continue reading here.

1 comment:

  1. The initial premise of this article is that human reproduction is a commodity which must be regulated. I think this is flawed because it reduces the dignity of the poor. You saying in essence, "You're poor. You don't deserve to have children."

    "It means more people at the bus-stop jostling for the few buses. It means more students writing JAMB to get into the few universities. ..."

    This is rather pessimistic. Do you honestly think that the problems we have with the bus-system boil down to the number of commuters at the bus-stop? Or the problem of education lies with the fact that too many people are writing JAMB? In engineering, there's a tool called Root Cause Analysis. It helps to solve problems from their root causes rather than attacking the symptoms. A symptom: People fighting at bus stop. The cause: Not enough buses coming at regular intervals. The solution: Put more buses on the road.

    But what you're saying with this article is that we should reduce the people at the bus-stop, that there is NO way the buses will ever increase in number or frequency. O ye of little faith :)

    The Scandinavian countries have been here before. Population control led to lower populations and relative increases in quality of life. Know what they lost? Happiness. Their kids, the wonderful kids whose existence they sought to sugar coat, have the highest rates of abortions, substance abuse and suicide. Know what else they lost? Their workforce. Less kids then equals less adults now to work. Less adults to work equals higher employment rates, yes but also more taxes on the employee (Government must chop). These taxes are the funding used for medicare for the old/sick amongst other things. So you know what else has happened? Euthanasia is being legalized. The old people, the parents who made the initial choice, are given the option of dying quickly to save costs. Ironic isn't it? They wouldn't have children to "save costs" and now the whole idea of "saving costs" is coming back to kill them, literally.

    You've clearly highlighted the problems we might face in the future but I ask that you take a longer viewpoint, and fight the temptation to advocate a quick-fix with adverse repercussions. We need more schools, not less students. We need more jobs, not less graduates. We need more houses, we need more hospitals. We need more.