Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says Nigeria’s growing population “is becoming a liability due to its improper management.”
Obasanjo spoke in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, during a mentoring session with students of some selected schools across the country tagged “raising the next wave of innovative leaders through entrepreneurship”.
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He said that with Nigeria’s geometric population growth, the country might be declared the third-largest country in 2050.
He expressed worry that a population growth without the corresponding socio-economic development had slowed down Nigeria’s development.
The Ota-farmer, who admitted that population could either be an asset or liability warned against population explosion in the country.
He said: “We have moved from 120 million to over 200 million. We have added the population of France to our population and if we continue the way we are going, by the year 2050, we will be the third largest country in the world.
“If we still continue, by the year 3000, we would be the largest country in the world.
“What are we going to do to handle that, how are we going to handle that population? If we do not start getting it right now, we will not get it right by the year 2030.”
According to him, population by itself may not be a liability if we do what we have to do, but, if we don’t do what we have to do which we are not doing now, the population will be a liability.
“What we need to do is to educate people about population management. Some people don’t like saying family planning but, whatever you do, you must manage your population to the benefit of all that are living within your nation,” Obasanjo said.
Obasanjo, while responding to questions from the students on mentorship, highlighted service to fatherland, integrity, loyalty and good moral standing as some of the virtues that could sustain them in their chosen careers in life.
Earlier, Chairman, Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship, Nigeria, Agwu Amogu, said the programme was initiated to tackle some myriad of challenges facing the country such as terrorism, banditry, high poverty rate and dangerous level of youth unemployment.