Friday, January 11, 2013

Thoughts on the burgeoning Nigerian population

This morning, in a bus on my way to Surulere for NYSC Community Development Service, my thoughts again turned to the question of the burgeoning Nigerian population. I explored this line of thought in a series of posts on this blog last year.

A large population is a good thing in a country where there is a focused leadership and proper planning. The demographics of our population make the Nigerian case quite attractive at face value. A young population (like ours) ordinarily implies the supply of (cheap) labor and a ready market for goods and services.

Sadly however, a lack of proper planning seems to permeate the Nigerian polity. It hardly appears as though the government understands the opportunities for leverage presented by our rapidly growing population. The largely inconsistent policies (think Education, Agriculture, Infrastructure etc) are indicative of a country that does not care much for the future, and hardly any steps are being taken to leverage our growing numbers for economic and technological growth.

There is also a second problem. Reinforced by the 'easy riches' that accrue to politicians and their lackeys on their ascension to public office, Nigeria has been bitten by the "easy money" bug. Even the government prefers to make the bulk of its income from crude oil - which requires concentrated investment in very few areas - versus Agriculture and other Trade - which requires substantial investment in infrastructure (think good roads, steady power supply, and ports that actually work).

On average, a young Nigerian's idea of a successful life is one that involves the path of least resistance. Why spend years building a successful business, career, or learning a trade when you can join the ruling party and wait for contracts; start a wonder bank; or scam a foreigner out of his hard-earned money?

There are fewer mechanics, masons, and welders than before... They all ride okada now. After all, why spend eight years learning to be a skilled mechanic when you can learn to ride okada in three days?

This path is not a sustainable one.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmmmm thought provoking. Nice one Koye ~Omozino