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 the life that they will be expected to live 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 list of Low Human Development countries (145 out of 172 in 2011, but 142 out of 172 in 2010, so Nigeria is actually falling down the table) in the UNDP’s Human Development Index (HDI).
Rather than tackling the really difficult issues that confront our nation, what I hear from Nigeria (and many Nigerians), is a whole lot of high-sounding yet irrelevant rhetoric and narrative, which to my mind smacks of collective self-deception, a seeming pretence (even if unknowingly) 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.