Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Sunday, expressed concern over Nigeria’s rising population, fearing that the nation might be the third most populated by 2050.
The Owu chief, who was addressing a mentoring session with students of some selected schools across the federation, tagged ‘Raising the next wave of innovative leaders through entrepreneurship’, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, called for better management in the face of the geometric population explosion without a corresponding socio-economic development, a situation which he said, had slowed down national development.
While fielding questions from the pupils, Obasanjo highlighted service to fatherland, integrity, loyalty and good moral as some of the virtues that could sustain them in their chosen careers in life.
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 third largest country in he 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 2050.”
The ex-President noted that population could either be asset or liability, adding: “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, population will be a liability.”
He continued: “What we need to do is education 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.”
Earlier, Chairman, Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship, Nigeria, Agwu Amogu, pointed out that the Sage Was project was floated to tackle some of the nation’s pressing challenges, especially terrorism, banditry, high poverty rate and youth unemployment.
His words: “One possible approach to reverse this trend would be to increase attention and funding for hands-on entrepreneurship and community service education.
“This will enable the young people acquire the necessary 21st century skills for jobs and self-employment.
“We urgently need a new paradigm for education. The new paradigm must provide students with a chance to learn, while solving community problems and immediately applying what they have learnt in the classroom by actually doing something great.”
“We now live in a world where any country can compete effectively with others based on the creative imagination of its human capital. There is no better place to stoke the fire of imagination than in the young people.”
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