When the earth was created according to the Bible (book of Genesis Chapter 1), God the creator, saw the importance of human being to inhibit the earth and take charge of everything already in creation. Man was a vital tool in earth’s management and this modus operandi has been on for ages. The importance of man and his mission on earth can be clearly seen on the command by God to go to the earth and biologically multiply. The Bible also recorded a demographic exercise comprehensively conducted by the Jewish authorities to enable the government to strategize on the way forward for the teeming population, a tradition that is highly sacrosanct (Luke 2:1-5). Man’s population in the world started expanding from miraculous two at Garden of Eden to billions spread in the world’s 7 Continents.
The world population is becoming mind-blowing with estimation of 7.7 billion people according to worldometers (2019). People come into the world every minute of the day. As at the time of this research, the population growth for a day was above 137,000 while death rate for the day was a little above 99,000. You can now see the difference.
Nigeria is among the world’s top ten countries with highest population growth as they occupy the 7th position with over 201.2 million people. According to world population review report on Nigeria, the total surface area of the country is approximately 923,768 square kilometers, which shows that in combination with the nearly 200 million people, the density of Nigeria is around 212.04 individuals per square kilometers.
This population is becoming alarming as the economic activities has not being adequately distributed in order to meet the basic economic needs of the people to avert hunger, homelessness, constant electricity supply, poor education and inadequate accessibility to clean water. The previous demographic exercises have been more of political bargains than humanitarian considerations. The consciousness of various six geo-political zones whose agenda is to augment their population for mere reasons of federal allocation claims were nothing but highly erroneous to the entire human race especially on the exact objective of carrying out the head counting.
Let me paint this picture, while growing up, before we cook any food for the day, my mother or any of my sisters who will grace the kitchen will take note of everybody’s whereabouts and make sure the meal gets to the reach of every family member within the house at that moment and small portion will remain as contingency. The day she omitted to count, there was chaos because I ate a portion of the meal without considering the others. It was not totally my fault as the portion I ate was exactly the portion I normally get. The problem was in the wrong counting of the people that supposed to partake in that meal. It was a great lesson for all of us. This proves that any country without the record of the exact number of people whom they should plan for annually is just planning with guess and guess works are usually adjudged as nothing but colossal failure to the existing promises meant to be delivered.
In developed countries like the United States of America, Canada, Australia, and Other top European countries, birth and death registration are never relegated in the chronicle of their demographic plans. Electronically, the records have been made easier, so simplified that there are full details of every single soul, living or dead. Also, the biometric registration has devised a way of curbing societal crimes and ensuring proper security and safety management.
Adequately, Nigeria can become a desert today if her inhabitants automatically go into extinction. This analogy above has proved that the relationship between human and environment has been so symbiotic and reflects on the betterment of the natural endowments under his care.
The 2018 trajectory report published in Vanguard Newspaper proved Nigeria as “the extreme poverty capital of the world”, with a whopping 75 million people swimming in the deep black ocean of poverty. It is a shameful and degrading way of addressing the largest Black Country in the world, it is an obnoxious remark, but the truth is clearly undeniable as regard to the level of poverty in the land.
My argument is thus; you can’t plan for people you don’t statistically account for. There is need for clear, critical and objective demographic exercise to enable the country’s budget meet with the citizen’s demands per head. The N8.92 trillion budgeted for 2019 is nothing but shooting directly to the moon hence there is no proper record of the exact number of people you are budgeting for?
In Nigeria, the demographic exercise is being carried out every decade. The last official demographic exercise practically carried out by the government was in 2006 which was a manual head to head count. It could become better especially in this digital age. It is now 13 good years after the last manual exercise. Therefore, we need to overcome the stupid trend of assumption and develop a classical and comprehensive way of taking notes of every soul within the shores of this country. It could even make it swifter and assist the country in identifying her real citizens. On this note, we should have a head count duly simplified under the auspices of the 77 Local Government Authorities.
The popular democratic adage, “Power belongs to the people” should be revisited and properly placed in a way that really portray that people should be in rightful possession of both socio-economic, political and cultural powers as indicated in the words of democratic ideologists.