Stakeholders at the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research (NISER) have identified uncontrolled population growth and corruption as part of the fundamental challenges which Nigeria must address in order to develop.
The stakeholders stated this at a webinar, entitled ‘Is Nigeria in the Eye of a Perfect Storm?’ on Wednesday.
Sen. Olubunmi Adetunmbi, Chairman Senate Committee on National Planning and Intergovernmental Affairs, said there was the need for the Nigerian elite to be more reserved, responsible and accountable.
Also, Dr Joe Abah, Nigeria Country Director, DAI, said that Nigerians need to know what change they required and how to achieve it.
“Everybody recognises that there is the need for change but what some lack is the information on how to go about the change and that what I believe dialogues like this can give us.
“We need to start having serious conversations about the family size, which is devoid of ethnic or religious bias.
“It’s basically getting it across to the people that the more children they have, the low the quality of life they will have.
“It is irresponsible and wicked for anybody to continue to have children that he/she will not able to cater for. We need the traditional rulers and religious bodies to help in this regard,” Abah said.
In his remarks, the Director- General, NISER, Dr Folarin Gbadebo-Smith, noted that Nigerians had almost subscribed to a culture of silence over issues.
“We don’t want to offend the sensibility of the politically-economic establishment that is taking advantage of the situation we are in.
“Clearly, there is the tendency in Nigeria to create monopolies. We just witnessed a situation where there were uproars when the land border was opened for a certain company.
“We all agreed that we have been facing this situation for long. If we don’t do anything about this, aside speaking to the legislators and making them do what we want, there is still the question of the followership and what they subscribe to,” he said.
According to the director-general, the major accelerator of some of the problems bedevilling the country s the family size, saying that people should be encouraged to embrace smaller family size.
“It has been proven empirically that any child that a family has after the third child is exponentially connected to poverty.
“The child number four makes you poor; the sixth child make you twice as poor and by the time you get to the ninth child, you are already facing a disaster.
“By the number 16th, there’s no story to be told any more. You just have to put them out on the street. You can imagine what happens when poor people begin to procreate in an uncontrolled manner,” he said.
Gbadebo-Smith said that the institute would be undertaking major research on the restructuring question.
“We hope to present different scenarios of what restructuring can look like; what the implications are and probably fashion out an economic impact statement on restructuring,” he said.
Also, Myani Bukar, a Research Associate and National Team Leader for the UK Department for International Development-funded innovative technical assistance programme, LEAP (Learning, Evidence and Advocacy Partnership), emphasised the place of education in address population growth.
“You have to essentially work on women and the girl- child because the more educated they are, the more options they will have on their reproduction or and other health choices,” he said.