In Nigeria, many citizens don’t know they are contributing to the population problem. Doctor Vickie explains.
Family planning does not equate to not having children, or not having enough as you desired – but having them when you want to, ensuring you are financially and mentally prepare, adequate spacing as you want, preventing unwanted and unplanned pregnancies thereby making your home a happy one.
A lot of people don’t pay attention when it comes to family planning because to them it’s one of those topics that health professionals, agencies and the government advocate all the time. It seems not worthy of attention but unknowingly, a large percentage of the population are having their share of the suffering brought upon them by ignorance and lack of attention.
Must we all have five children?
Total fertility rate in Nigeria was said to be 5.7, meaning that a woman of child bearing age in Nigeria give birth to an average of 5-6 children during her lifetime.
“Is this true?” you may ask. Let’s look at the obvious dataset.
Starting from the president, he is the twenty-third child of his father and was raised by his mother, after his father died when he was about four years old. How many children in this generation can survive that? When people comes from this kind of background – large homes – regardless of the pain and suffering they pass through, they most of the time desire a large family too.
President Buhari married his first wife, Safinatu (née Yusuf) Buhari (First lady of Nigeria December 1983 – August 1985). They had five children together, four girls and one boy. In 1988, Buhari and his first wife Safinatu divorced. In December 1989, Buhari married his second and current wife Aisha Buhari (née Halilu). They also had five children together, a boy and four girls.
But don’t be carried away, these children had the best of whatever they want and at anywhere they want it. All of President Buhari’s children have had extensive education, Several have studied at university and postgraduate levels, including abroad.
But, again, I ask, must it always be five? I got a resounding yes when I considered Oyo state.
Oyo state governor Abiola Ajimobi’s 5-children strong family is also an attestation to Nigeria’s unwritten 5 kids rule. The governor and his wife are blessed with 5 children – 4 daughters and a son. They always ‘slay’ all their family pictures to the extent that you wouldn’t notice the children are up to five until you do a Google search for ‘Ajimobi children’ and you would see the names of the children in the first family of Oyo state.
Like the President’s children, Ajimobi’s children also have access to the best education in the world and they can get anything they want from their billionaire father.
Now let’s compare their’s to your own life.
Probably your parents struggled to give you all you need to be somebody in the society despite their number of children. Public schools which used to serve as fortress for parents in terms of school fees have astronomically increased their tuition and are no longer as affordable as they used to be. For instance, Obafemi Awolowo University recently decided to increase student’s tuition from NGN5,800 for accounting student and NGN12,800 for health sciences and tech students to more than NGN100,000 for all fresh students.
But through it all, your parents survived, you gave your best to become a graduate, got a nice job and married a beautiful wife. Dates were fixed, introduction was held, followed by engagement, a well planned church wedding and child bearing will be left to follow the familiar trend – 3rd, 4th, 5th…
What people are getting wrong about family planning
Family planning does not equate to not having children, or not having enough as you desired; it simply aims at allowing you to have them when you want to and ensuring you are financially and mentally prepared by adequately spacing as you want thus preventing unwanted and unplanned pregnancies thereby making your home a happy one.
There are several children at bus stops, market places, under bridges and even in households whose parent have no plan for, thereby leaving them with no future ambition and thereby contributing to environmental nuisance. It is also true that many Nigerian families don’t have an idea of their contribution to Nigeria’s population explosion all because extended families in this generation don’t live under the same roof, but let’s have a look at how this is happening:
I know you are tempted to put President Buhari into the picture, please don’t because that’s a nation already, a great one. But jokes aside, I strongly recommend that you live your life, plan your family, don’t add a child to our population that you don’t have plans for. Do us all a favor, get it together.