Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Lagos, a crisis of overpopulation, poverty and slums..

The startling issues reported in this video do not seem to feature on the agenda of the authorities in Nigeria. The Nigerian government, like most of its other African counterparts, continues to demonstrate obliviousness of its responsibility towards the nation's citizens. As things stand, the future of the ordinary Nigerian citizen living in his own country is bleak, given that the country's population is expected to double within 30 years. The situation in Lagos is replicated albeit on a smaller scale, in towns and cities all over the country.

No, you never hear anyone talk about overpopulation in Nigeria. What you hear of instead is how everyone is expected to have children of their own, with little consideration given to the living conditions into which these children are to be born, or the quality of life that they will be expected to have after they are brought into the world. It is unsurprising that Nigeria, a comparatively wealthy African country, continues to hold firmly to her position in the Low Human Development countries (145 out of 172 in 2011, but 142 out of 172 in 2010, so Nigeria is actually sliding down the table) in the Human Development Index (HDI).

Rather than tackling the really difficult issues that confront the nation, what I hear from Nigeria (and many Nigerians), is a whole lot of high-sounding nonsense, narrative and rhetoric which to my mind smacks of collective self-deception; a seeming pretence that ours is a "normal" country, as if these difficult issues will simply go away when we ignore them, when we do not discuss them, or when we pretend that they don't exist.

Seeking to improve the quality of life for the ordinary Nigerian is not a matter that has been taken sufficiently seriously, unfortunately, despite the increasing urgency for this in a world with a fast expanding population, one in which competition for resources (and markets) will intensify significantly in the coming decades. It is trite that a more developed society is better placed to compete successfully than a less developed one is and unless we begin to do something about this now, going by the current predictions, our society's place in a future post-oil world will be very different from that which any of us, as Nigerians, would wish for it to be.

Published also on the website Nigerians Talk


CodLiverOil said...

God bless you man, some true talk here.

Nigerians can't face difficult issues and deal with them comprehensively, just gimmicks and bravado in public, which counts for nothing.

Notice no one has said anything about this.

We can see how other nations are taking measures, not just developed ones India is passing measures. China is increasing investment in renewable energy resources, yes Nigeria is not in their league. But the argument that rages in Nigeria is who keeps the oil wealth, rather than heeding the warning signs, and move away from a one product economy as quickly as possible, and allowing the Niger Delta to keep more of their own wealth.

The government is seeking to entrench it's short-sighted and unbalanced stand of dividing oil wealth to the states based on population. If things go on at this rate, we are well and truly finished.

Anengiyefa said...

@CodLiveOil, Its good to see you after a while. I'm glad you're well.

I am realistic and honest enough to know for a fact that burying our heads in the sand, as we're doing, unless we change our thinking and take action now, it is certainly a downhill story for the country from here onwards.

I didn't expect anyone to say anything. Nigerians generally are in a state of denial about this..

CodLiverOil said...

I think the emphasis in Nigeria, should be moved away from quantity ie numbers of people and should focus more on quality of life. Having millions of people crammed into a small, unhygienic and badly run settlement. Is nothing to boast about. Any other sensible forward looking government, would have taken steps to curve migration, but Nigeria knows better. We will see where this strategy (of poor planning or no planning) will lead them...