The former president said Nigeria’s population is becoming a liability due to its improper management, stressing that except there is urgent intervention, and then the nation may be declared the third most populous nation in the world.
He gave the warning in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Sunday, during a mentoring session with students of some selected schools across the country tagged “raising the next wave of innovative leaders through entrepreneurship.”
Speaking further about the situation which he says has slowed down national development, Obasanjo expressed worry over the management of the population of the nation.
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 2050.”
According to him, population management must come to the fore, especially in the face of the geometric population explosion without a corresponding socio-economic development.
He said that the population could either be an asset or a liability, stating further that if the nation does not make adequate preparations then the country will pay for its over-population both now and in the future.
“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 is living within your nation,” Obasanjo stated.
While fielding questions from the students on mentorship, the former president highlighted service to the fatherland, integrity, loyalty, and good moral standing as some of the virtues that could sustain them in their varied career paths.