Sunday, August 18, 2013

The NOA and Nigeria's Exploding Population

So I just met a 22 year old trainee-mechanic who has five children from two women. (He had his first child at 16, do the Math). I am confused and do not know what to think.

We spoke for about ten minutes, and he spent the entire period denouncing the Ajimobi-led Oyo State Government for restricting activities of street traders. Evidently, one of his 'women' hawks sachet water while the other hawks Gala (a poor substitute for sausage rolls).

He is also concerned about the rising price of Education. His first-born (soon to be 6 years old) pays N3500 per term in Nursery School. He asked me to help multiply that by 5, and was evidently shocked when I told him the amount would increase as she would be in a higher class when her younger siblings enter Nursery School

In parting, he told me Ajimobi ought to focus on 'controlling' the price of Private Education rather than chasing hawkers off the roads. I was dumbfounded.

I am very worried for Nigeria.

This guy and his 'women' (he's not legally married to either of them) are in their sexual prime, and we can expect more children from them. He might even add one or more women in the near future.

As these children will receive a below-par education (except a miracle happens and he becomes a Local Govt chairman), they may safely be expected to continue in the same path as their father. Most of them will drop out of school before they're 15, and have their first kids at 17.

The pressure on public amenities is going to be crazy! Faced with burgeoning families and little marketable skills, some of these kids might turn to crime.

In all this, I wonder - what is the role of the National Orientation Agency?

Taiwo Adio thinks a big population is a good thing, and I agree under certain circumstances. Issue here is no one is making any worthwhile plans to leverage the abundance of people. Given our present state of affairs, I don't think it is.

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