I was thinking just some minutes ago if truly there was anything worthwhile to write today and it just struck me that all I needed to do was just look around.It’s all there. We are basically just stuck in the rut of all the negatives bombarding us to see the good.
Just barely 2years ago, the world youth championship taggged, Nigeria 2009 -World junior championship (FIFA Under 17 ) came to an end in Abuja, and to believe that the team that came second was hurriedly put together is short of amazing. They played well by all standards and could have clinched the gold trophy.I am not unmindful of the controversy sorrounding the age issue and if it is true, I condemn wholeheartedly.
The major take away for me is the fact that we were able to put together a bunch of talents within a few months who went all the way to the world cup finals and gave very impressive showing – world class by all reckoning.
This brings me to a crucial point .Nigeria is blessed with a large population.
I know different schools of thoughts have different things to say about our population and population growth and the negative impacts it has on our planet – resource depletion etc.However, I wish to take a step back and try to highlight Nigeria’s peculiar situation and show that it is a stroke of good fortune – I am sure there was no articulate plan to have such large population or population growth -it just happened and may I say what a piece of good fortune it is for us.
For one, population has become a major factor when it comes to world reckoning – China and India by account of their population today cannot be ignored(I am quick to admit that population is not the only reason for this) .The world pays attention whenever China sneezes and India has a cold becuase we know that one in every 5 human in the world is from China and 1 in every 6 or 7 is from India.
It is said that 1 in every 6 African is a Nigerian.This on its own confers heavy responsibility and advantage on us as a country as major decision concerning the African continent must involve us.The question is, what has our contribution been (we shall talk about that later) ? or better, what should our contributions be to ensure that the world continues to listen and take us seriously.
Another important factor in Nigeria’s peculiar positioning is our demographics – Oh what great demographic distribution we have.
Nigeria’s demographics according to the UN is stated below:
0–14 years: 44% (male 27,181,020; female 26,872,317)
15–64 years: 53% (male 33,495,794; female 32,337,193)
65 years and over: 3% (male 1,729,149; female 1,722,349) (2000 est.)
Population growth rate
2.5% (2008 est.)
43 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)
The age distribution is the reason the likes of MTN,Etisalat and other giants in the world of telecoms will do anything to remain in Nigeria – NIGERIA IS A YOUNG NATION (We have over 50% of our nation within the productive age and more importantly, we have a steady flow to feed that group when the 15-64 grow too old to work. The question is are we productive?
Nigeria’s population age distribution makes it a very attractive place for any product especially goods/services that appeal to lifestyle and comfort because this age group is it!!!
Japan in contrast, though about the 10th largest country in the world (over 127million people) has over 21% of its population over 65-85 years with higher life expectancy and lower fertility rate, Japan would be spending 27% of its national income on social welfare by 2025.
Good news is that Nigeria right now is blessed both in number and demographics to make the difference.The question is are we actively working it out to take advantage of what we have been blessed with ?Rather than see our population and population growth as a major problem (and it can be depending on our actions or lack thereof), we should seize the glaring opportunities which it seems only foreigners see while we are content to just complain and bicker about and tap the enormous potential available.
As I said earlier, the purpose of this blog is not just to analyse but to set practical ways of ensuring we move forward and put it to practice.
The points raised so far are:
1. Nigeria has a large population with raw talents
2. Our demographic spread puts us in a prime position to be the best in the world
The questions are: So why have we not utilised these opportunities if truly they are there? I would submit that it is because we have not seen the opportunities.
Before MTN came and showed Nigerians that we can be declaring profit after tax of over N50bn (this was about 4 years or so ago, so you can imagine what it is today), Nigerians all complained bitterly about the state of our infrastructure not because there was no money (funny enough the same Nigerians are asking that MTN should be compelled to go public in order to spread the largesse – how funny), it was becuase we saw the problems rather than the solutions and in our typical way, we expected “the government ” to sort things out.
MTN and the others foreign companies (thanks to Mike Adenuga Jnr. for showing Nigeria is not totally incapable of seeing the opportunities), saw the young population and by extensionan opportunity to sell lifestyle products/services (because that is what our phones have become).Now South Africa would do anything to ensure the relationship is strengthened – remittances from Nigeria is no joke!!!
So here is the challenge, instead of waiting for the government to solve the problems, start looking at the population to see what inconveniences you (light, water supply, fresh food supply, information availability or lack of it etc) and ask yourself, what can I offer this large demographic group knowing fully well what drives this group anywhere in the world are comfort and lifestyle solutions.
I shall continue on the other issues that are really opportunities for us to be the best. For example only 25% of Nigerians are urban dwellers so what happens to the remaining 75% ? Less than 50% of children of school age are in school, quality of education as we know it is almost zero etc.
Is there good in Nigeria? YOU BET!!!!