Population Growth and the Dilemma of Rural Life and Economy in Nigeria.

Type Journal Article - Unizik Journal of Arts and Humanities
Title Population Growth and the Dilemma of Rural Life and Economy in Nigeria.
Volume 11
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2010
Page numbers 1-21
URL http://www.ajol.info/index.php/ujah/article/download/66304/54021
It is common knowledge that most Nigerians who live in the
rural areas (about 75 percent of them) are, by virtue of the
circumstances of their habitat, subjected to serious handicaps and
constrained to scratch the earth for a rather miserable living. In fact
the general impression created in the minds of most Nigerians and
foreigners alike who visit our rural areas is one of total abandonment
and salutary neglect of the people who inhabit these places. For
most of these rural dwellers, electricity, portable water supply, clinics,
heath centers and hospitals which are generally concentrated in the
urban centres, are just illusive luxuries. Quite a large proportion of
the rural dwellers still live in a state of nature, by-passed by the
modernizing influences and forces, which revolutionize progressive
modern societies. The state of the life of our rural population kills
the enthusiasm of rural dwellers, dampens their morale and mitigates
their sense of motivation and initiative.
The high as well as the unrestrained population growth rate of
the country has, to a large extent, been blamed for this state of
affairs in the rural areas. Arguments have raged between two schools
of thought. One argument, presented by Clark and Ohlin, is in
favour of unrestrained population growth based on the contention
that it stimulates business and general economic growth cycles and
therefore necessary for development
1. The other argument
presented by Malthus is in favour of restrained population growth
on the ground that unrestrained rise in population will mean less
resources for individual members leading to considerable reduction
in the good life and well being of the people in that society, thus
constituting an impediment to the socio-economic development of
the society
2. The practical import of these divergent views is that
positively or negatively, population question is intricately related to
development which by all considerations, is man-centered. Alluding
to the positive and negative impact of rapid population growth, Ude
asserted that “though there can be no development without human
beings … any development that does not lead to overall increase in
the welfare of the people is deficient”
However, despite the merit of the arguments in favour of
population growth, it is a naked truism that rapid population growth
has never been an asset in tackling problems of poverty and underdevelopment,
especially in a developing country like Nigeria.
Therefore, Nigerians in general and the rural populace in particular,
should be sensitized to the realities of their sad situation. Steps
should, therefore, be taken to mobilize the energies and efforts of
the people to drastically bring down and keep in check the ever
increasing growth rate of the country’s population and so ameliorate
the unspeakable predicament of the people and accelerate the pace
of the nation’s rural transformation and development.
In this paper, efforts are made to discuss the issue of population
growth in Nigeria in its various ramifications. In the first place, the
author takes a critical look at the deplorable state of the rural
communities in Nigeria. This is followed by an incisive examination of
the implications of the phenomenon of population growth on the
beleaguered state of these rural communities and the national
y. Specifically, the causes of population growth in Nigeria ar
discussed. In like manner, the implications of population growth,
particularly in relation to resource consumption and sustenance of
development in the country are highlighted. Next, some suggestions
and recommendations are made aimed at ameliorating the dilemma
of the rural communities in Nigeria, arising as a result of rapid
population growth rate of the country. Finally, the author makes his
concluding remarks.

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