With Reno Omokri
Let me start this week’s #TheAlternative by shooting a little-known fact at you. In 1960, Nigeria’s population was 45 million, while The UK’s population was 52 million. In 2019, Nigeria’s population is 200 million, while the UK’s population is 67 million. In 1960, Nigeria exported food to the UK. In 2019, the UK exports food to Nigeria.
The way things are going, unless Nigeria restructures, she will IMPLODE. And I do not see Nigeria ever restructuring, because the North is against it. Sadly, the most conservative and retrogressive kinds have taken over the leadership of the North. There will be crisis ahead, especially in the North. It will keep getting worse. Why? Because Nigeria’s current structure can’t sustain her population growth.
Did I say population growth? That was an error. What is happening is not growth. The proper term is explosion. And ignore all those people that say Nigeria’s population is not up to 200 million and that it has been increased for political expediency.
There is some truth to that. But when you consider that there are verifiably over 100 million ACTIVE mobile phone lines in Nigeria and that not everybody has a phone (children in particular), then the 200 million starts to look very plausible. Very plausible indeed.
Nigeria spends 80% of her revenue paying salaries to 0.5% of her population. It is unsustainable, but some Northern leaders do not want to restructure. Our population is growing 3 times faster than our economy. If we do not restructure, we will IMPLODE.
If Nigeria does not restructure, the hold Northern leaders think they have over Nigeria will be lost, because the crisis, especially in the North, will keep getting worse. Boko Haram is not a terrorism problem. It is a poverty problem arising from 12.5 million out of school kids in Northern Nigeria. But there are many that say 12.5 million is not a realistic number. They say it is much worse. May they be wrong! May they be very wrong.
Kidnapping, Boko Haram, Bandits, Killer Herdsmen are all happening not because Nigerians are bad people. There are no other people as religious as Nigerians. They are happening because our economy is growing at 1%, while our population is growing at almost 3%. It is a Malthusian conundrum. In fact, if you isolate the North, the population growth is even worse. Without restructuring, Nigeria WILL implode. It is not a curse. It is a scientific analysis of the coming reality; except we make a course correction.
In fact, many Nigerians are unaware that there is going to be a massive population displacement in Nigeria in the next decade due to our refusal to restructure. Northern Nigeria can no longer sustain Northerners due to the unchecked population growth of the North. The space and resources are not growing as fast as the population. So the only realistic option is that there will be a movement down South and in places like Lagos, the Yorubas will soon be minorities because their birth rates, (even with their world renown for twins), cannot match the birth rates of those moving to occupy their traditional and ancestral spaces.
As a result, we will see more ethnic Southerners relocating abroad and more ethnic Northerners relocating to the South. As things currently stand, Northerners now account for a quarter of the population of Lagos. That is 25%. Google it if you doubt me. By 2030, this number is projected to be 30%.
Nigeria currently has a population of 200 million. Her entire budget (not revenue, because our revenue cannot fund our budget) of $34 billion is less than what the American state of New York will spend on just transportation alone. Our POPULATION is SKYROCKETING, our ECONOMY is NOSE-DIVING and we will spend most of that $34 billion paying salaries and servicing debts.
Recently, I read about an Octogenarian Zamfara woman who died and left over 100 grandkids. That it was considered newsworthy in the South, shows how blind sighted Southerners are to the reality in the North. I grew up partly in Northern Nigeria. I know for a fact that that story is too commonplace to be newsworthy in Northern Nigeria. There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, like her in Northern Nigeria. However, if a Southerner talks about this unchecked population growth, you are labelled anti-North. That is the root of Boko Haram, banditry, etc.
This idea that Northern rulers have drummed into their people that they should increase in number so they can rule over yan kudu (Southerners), has turned Nigeria into hell. We do not compete to grow our economy as we did between 1960 and 1966 (Ifeajuna and Nzeogwu really damaged the trajectory of this great nation). We now compete to grow our population for the purpose of elections.
Very soon, Tinubu and his successors will not be as influential in Lagos politics as they think they currently are. The demographics are changing. And the power dynamics must also change. But I do not think Tinubu has noticed. He is too focused on an illusory presidential ambition, too wrapped up in himself to notice. Obasanjo has noticed. But what can he do? He did his best. But saboteurs within, like Tinubu, neutralised his good works.
Just sit down and imagine what will happen when oil finishes or becomes obsolete (it is happening). What will happen to Nigeria? What will happen to Northern Nigeria? 12.5 million out of school children. Population growth rate of almost 3%. Hundreds of thousands of grandmothers with over a hundred grandchildren. I shudder at the thought! I shudder and I shudder!
Money that should be spent on education, health and infrastructure is now being spent fighting Boko Haram and other forms of insecurity which are a direct result of unchecked population growth solely for the benefit of winning election. Can you imagine campaigning by reproducing!
Einstein said “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” We do not want to restructure, yet we want things to get better. We think that Nigeria will grow by spending 50% of our budget paying salaries and 25% servicing debt? I’ve got news for you. It will NOT get better! Unless we change.
It is sad that Nigerians still think oil is their biggest source of revenue for the budgets of the last four years. No! Foreign and domestic loans are the single biggest source. Worse is that we are borrowing, not to build roads or schools, but to pay salaries of unproductive workers.
It would even have been better if we are a population of producers. But Nigeria’s population is a consumer population. Without importation of food, the famine that will hit Nigeria will be worse than the 1983-85 Ethiopian famine. Our population is a LIABILITY!
Our population can only go from being a liability to being an asset via education. But is General Buhari interested in educating Nigerians? Let us consider the facts. He budgeted only ₦48 billion for education (Nigeria has 32 million potential students) and ₦125 billion for a National Assembly of less than 500 people. Meanwhile, there are 12.5 million out of school children in Nigeria, making Nigeria the world’s out of school children capital! The facts speak for themselves. Obviously, General Buhari wants Nigerians uneducated so they can breed and remain poor and continue to do nothing while leaders like Buhari and his cronies hold the nation by the jugular!
Juxtapose this with the fact that former President Jonathan budgeted N426.53 billion for education in 2013, N424.3 billion in 2014 and N392 billion in 2015.
How can we check our population? Studies show that the ore educated a people are, the less their population increases. This is the real reason behind General Buhari’s refusal to build schools in Northern Nigeria. He does not care how much they breed as long as he can win elections.
As a proud African, speak your native language to your kids. Give them native names. It is very cool. Do you see Whites speaking African languages or giving their kids African names? Our culture is worth preserving. Many African languages will be extinct in 50 years because Africans are the only people who think speaking a foreign language gives them prestige. Nothing is as prestigious as speaking your own native language. I am very well traveled and Africans are the only people I know, who take pride in speaking a foreign language with a PERFECT ACCENT, even when they can’t speak their native language. A LOAN is not your MONEY!