By Luminous Jannamike
Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has said the nation failed to plan for its future in spite of the fortunes it made from crude oil sales and other sources under the government of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Osinbajo stated this on Tuesday at the opening ceremony of the 5th National Family Planning Conference in Abuja.
The VP, who admitted that the current population growth of 3.2 percent posed risks for the nation by 2030, explained that apart from the economic policies of the past government, the administration did not make adequate family planning commodities available to those who needed them.
He said: “In the absence of basic social safety nets, and pro-poor policy making, tens of millions of our people were left stranded, observing the statistics of economic growth from a distance, but were completely untouched by it. The sad reality is that for most of our history as a country, periods of economic growth have somehow managed to leave out the majority of our population.
“Between 2011 and 2015 when Nigeria enjoyed some of the highest revenues in history and overtook South Africa to become the largest economy in Africa, there was no commensurate impact in poverty alleviation and wellbeing.
“If Nigeria’s prevailing annual population growth rate 3.2 percent persists, we will have an additional 68 million people by 2030, and will be the third most populous country in the world by 2050,” he said
Speaking on the theme of the conference: Investment, Innovation and Inclusiveness, the VP who was represented by the Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, added: “Investment, innovation, and inclusiveness are three critical keys for unlocking the very beneficial contributions of family planning to Nigeria’s ambition of reaping all of its potential demographic dividends.”
“This demographic dividend is, of course, the catch-all term for the benefits and potential realisable from attaining the optimal age structure in a population. In the case of Nigeria, this optimal age structure would mean a combination of declining fertility and a simultaneous rise in the working age population. Our main challenge, evidently, is with our current fertility rates.”