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Our population lies are catching up with us

Our population lies are catching up with us
July 28
11:27 2020
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Amidst the utter confusion around COVID-19 and the swirling conspiracies some of which are believable or at least should be investigated, a worrisome statistic about future population outcomes rented the waves about two weeks ago. In short, the statistic, published by Vollset, S. E. et al for The Lancet, an academic journal, which for the purpose of my write-up but it must be mentioned, is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, concluded that by the year 2100, Nigeria’s population will be around 750million. The same report holds that Chinese population will have dropped from the current 1.4billion to 700million. India’s population too, according to the report, will have dropped from 1.3billion presently, to barely 1billion people. Well, I am going through the entire article to see the rationale for the halving of the Chinese population within 80 years and why the otherwise thriving Indian population will recede by 300million people, while Nigeria hits the roof.

Take the case of India. A reduction by 300million people within 80 years could means that despite the birth of new children a lot more people will die there. Even Indians should be scared of this prospect. Chinese people we know, have implemented a population slow-down policy in the past (under Emperor Mao’s Cultural Revolution). At that point the country instituted a one child per family policy, which led to several horrible practices like the killing of female children, unofficial abortions and general mass infanticide; acts which were criticized in the western-dominated mass media. It seems as if such policy – or worse – will now be applauded by the same sections of the media which criticized such population curb. Suddenly, some sections of global intelligentsia have caught the bug of obsession with global population even when China has adopted a more humane policy. But as you shall see in my arguments below, it is trite for everyone to be worried about global population. It will however be important for us all to have an opinion in determining how to slow down population growth, and whether indeed certain people need to be culled. Rumours also have it that Eugenicists are on the prowl, on the wings of a new Corporatocracy or Tehnocracy, seeking to weed out those they believe are weak and unfit. Africa is an interesting repository of the weak.

I mentioned the sponsorship of the journal because it is one item that jumps at you once you get into the article on the first page at https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S0140-6736%2820%2930677-2.  Whereas I would seriously want to avoid conspiracies but I believe for the purpose of this article, it is an important disclosure. The famous Bill Gates does have his sponsorships everywhere and some people have accused him of knowing too much about the ongoing pandemic and wanting to control the world. The pandemic itself has been rumoured to be targeted at population reduction (either naturally as pandemics do, or in some manipulated fashion). No matter where we stand on these issues it is important to keep open eyes and minds as this is a phenomenon that is bigger than any of us. Gates himself is no stranger to controversies and conspiracies though, has never offered a straightforward answer when confronted with these frightening allegations and have spoken about finally ‘getting attention’ in more than two of his interviews I have seen. I was also scared that he had a monopoly over the vaccine that will solve this coronavirus problem but I am now more comfortable knowing many entities, including nations like the UK, Germany, and Russia are now involved. If for anything, this could mean that the vaccine will be more affordable for poor people when it eventually debuts. And that it could debut faster.

Enough of conspiracies, especially those that say all the talk around population is meant to prime the minds of people around the world for what is coming. However, it is clear to see that the Lancet report clearly puts Nigeria out there as the bad guy; the chief populator of the world, almost like the nation polluting the world with human beings. Our case is further worsened by the knowledge that indeed we are a dependent nation, where officially over 100million of our 200million people live in abject poverty. Decades of mis-governance and lack of vision has ensured that we continue to go round the world cap-in-hand in order to survive. We, like many countries populated by black people, are one of the sorry cases. We have selfish and myopic leaders who display much opulence while we are overall a pathetically poor people.  When a country is like this, having frittered her goodwill through constant begging and squandering of opportunities, then anything could be written about such a country. We will be hard pressed to find value in our nation. In fact, we have to insist on being accorded value and dignity simply as human beings. A 2016 article written by Boris Johnson, current PM of the United Kingdom, acerbically captures our estimate in the eyes of global leaders, and perhaps most other people in the rest of the world. Readers will do themselves a favour to read the condescending but perhaps accurate article at spectator.co.uk/article/the-boris-archive-africa-is-a-mess-but-we-can-t-blame-colonialism.

Some snippets from Boris; ‘I’ve been in Africa for ages and there’s one thing I just don’t get. Why are they so brutal to each other? We may treat them like children, but it’s not because of us that they behave like the children in Lord of the Flies.. Malaysians have air-conditioning and computers; 90 per cent of Ugandans live in Stone Age conditions — round mud huts with a fireplace dug in the floor and raffia mats for beds and a life-expectancy of 42”.

Let us not deceive ourselves, people who have high stakes in this world, or believe they do; people who ‘run things’ and have exercised their powers of control over large populations, do have a right to worry about what happens to the world and whether human population is going to overwhelm the earth. They have a right to imagine how this world will be in the next 100, 500 or 10,000 years. Lesser mortals like us may choose not to think that far but even at that, it is a worthy experiment to project about the population of our country. The problem I think we have is that ab initio, we have allowed our small wars and myopic contests to becloud our future. Our lies are coming home to roost.

On the matter of population, what exactly is Nigeria’s numbers? Decades of cooking the books, reporting outlandish populations, to ‘win’ elections and give victory to politicians who only ruin the country, is now biting us in the derriere. Decades of inflating population and falsifying figures just to lay claim to a larger percentage of ‘national cake’ which nobody bakes but which drops on the nation’s laps every month, has come to give us nightmares. Is Nigeria’s population really 200million? Or 206million as being presently updated even by the National Population Commission? How reliable are our censuses?  When we subject this figure to triangulation using other data such as BVN or even number of voters, it falls flat on its face. Nigeria has less than 40million BVNs, in a population where at least half of the numbers should be active workers and account holders. Our data on mobile telephony is distorted because many people hold several phone lines due mainly to their fears of bad service. Even many students have two phone lines. We hear the total number of mobile phone users is over 100million though. Then we turn to INEC, the electoral body. As at 2019 total number of registered voters was 84million, but consistently for over 2 decades, we have never scored 35million votes even in the most hotly contested national election. The explanation that people are lethargic to vote is no longer cutting ice. What is more likely is that the figures are inflated, for obvious reasons.

Again is Nigeria’s population up to 200million? I doubt very much. But can we walk back the lies and delusion? Very unlikely. We are stuck. Creating an alternative ‘reality’ will be an arduous task, yet we need to find a way to wriggle out of this fix. For at 206million – if that were our true population – there is no hope for Nigeria.

I plugged in the figure on MS Excel and did a mini Monte Carlo simulation. Running at 3% growth rate per annum, Nigeria’s population would have grown to over 2billion by 2100, not even 750million! In order to achieve a figure of around 710million, I had to drop the growth rate of our 200million odd population to 2% from 3% from about 8 years from now, and further to 1% from around 2056 till the end of the period, 2100. Populations do expand fast. At 1% growth rate a population doubles every 63 years. The fear of population watchers is therefore justified; if the world allows populations to grow at current rates, how do we handle the numbers in due course?  What kind of world would that be?  What is sustainable and what is not? 750million sounds frightening for Nigeria. Even 400million.

I want to hope that things will not pan out the way the scholars at Lancet have imagined. For one, whatever dynamics are responsible for a slow-down in population numbers in China and India may also apply to Nigeria. We hope that the prediction is not that billions will be wiped out by recurring diseases and pandemics. We hope also that they are not projecting that authoritative governments will show up and forcibly reduce populations by sterilizing their people or something that crazy. I am also hoping that Nigeria will not continue this way, carrying on mindlessly and unconcerned, plan-less and visionless, or like Lugard had said about us ‘with no apprehension for the future’. I want to believe that at some point, something will break that resets our thinking and slows us down from the path of destruction.

I believe strongly that Nigeria’s population is not up to the much-touted 200million. I have shown my triangulated evidence above. Something in the region of 120million may be closer to the truth. If this is so, it is for our own good. If we project from 120million, then Nigeria’s population will end up at 414million by the year 2100 using my more conservative assumptions. This is a huge figure, but less frightening. I doubt very much if the entity called Nigeria will still be around in its present state by the year 2100 anyway. Technological disruption, as we have begun to see lately, is likely to upturn our reality totally by then. I also think that indeed there are machinations in the works by powerful people who run the world, to ensure than human population does not balloon to unsustainable and unimaginable levels. When I worked the numbers, even at 0.5% growth yearly, the current human population will have bombed out to 521billion from the current level of 7.5billion by the year 2100. Frightening! But that is what the mathematics say. I think even more frightening scenarios than COVID-19 are ahead for everybody, for humanity. Hard decisions, gory sights and depressing times to pass through. Events that will make everyone relinquish their religious beliefs. I kid you not.

I think this is a good point to address those who take delight in populating the world by sowing their wild oats. You may be causing real trouble for the world. I would have argued that population will decline in parts of Nigeria – for I have conducted surveys in the past that shows that most of today’s adults have fewer children than their parents. However, for the fact that some people still sire 20, 40 children in Nigeria today (like one Rep member boasted the other day), it is important to point out that this is a risk we can ill afford to run. For if we do not manage our own affairs, speak the truth to ourselves and get more responsible in more ways than one, surely there are powerful people and powerful nations who will intervene and corral us in and we may not particularly enjoy the tactics they employ. These are times for deep reflections and calculated, almost cold-blooded decisions. This may also be the time to try and be more honest with our stats. Our lies are putting us in hot oil. God help us.

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