WITH Nigeria’s population on a continuous rise, and as the government struggles to provide amenities for the teeming population, if human capacity development is not prioritised by the government and private sector players, the situation can only get worse.
Chief Tokunbo Omisore, CEO of Top Services Ltd, and former president of the Africa Union of Architects gave the above advice as a participant at the recent UNFPA at 50 celebrations in Lagos where population matters were discussed.
He said people may not realise how critical harnessing population growth is until they understand what the population growth rate is in real figures.
He told Tribune Online that, “Population growth as reported on Tuesday, June 18, we now have an estimated 200.9 million people at a growth rate of 3.2 per cent annually.”
He pointed out that 200.9 million people at 3.2 per cent provides a yearly growth of 6,428,800 people; that is 17,565 people daily which translates to 732 people per hour!
“Is this sustainable if our GDP struggles between 1.9 to 2.1 per cent depending on whose data we adopt?”
He made reference to the June 12 Democracy Day speech where President Muhammadu Buhari spoke of lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty.
“To our concerned President Buhari’s desire to take 100 million people out of poverty in 10 years, this I translate in simple mathematics as 10 million people per annum, that is 27,322 people per day and 1,138 people per hour if this laudable desire is to be achieved.
“Unless, we take up our human capital development as a major task, alongside all measures to control our population growth, our infrastructural development will continue to be challenged in our urban cities and irrelevant in our rural communities.”
He added that as Africa’s population, now estimated in excess of 1.3 billion people with Nigeria constituting about 15 per cent of the figure, the situation “is not only worrisome as our education and health systems are challenged by the ongoing growth that we must address as a nation.”
According to the former president of the Africa Union of Architects, “Unfortunately, the ongoing insecurity issue will not go away as the reality of climate change and our communities’ financial handicaps now force most to seek survival through terrorism.”
Chief Omisore said that the media needs to promote ‘a wake-up call’ to the political class before it is too late to exist as a nation or people.