Demographic dynamics, governance and the attainment of democratic development: The case of Nigeria
AbstractThe treatise on demography, democratic governance and development issue is an inclusive one that emphasizes the need to create a social world for promoting people’s quality of life. Today, the measurement of development as succinctly depicted by the 2000 to 2015 Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and Human Development Index (HDI) goes beyond the use of economic growth, per capita income, to include how the benefits of that growth and income is widely distributed to expand the people’s choice and capability to raise levels of living and enhance material well-being. The paper opines that the challenge of development in Nigeria is not its population size and/or resource endowments, but poor resource management and politicization of development agendas by the ‘leadership’ and its inability to holistically incorporate population issues and dynamics such as reproductive healthcare, education and employment creation in its development strategies targeted at poverty reduction. As an exploratory study, the paper utilized secondary sources of data collection which include materials from international development institutions such as the UNDP, World Bank, government reports, journals and textbooks in gathering information for the study. The data was examined using the political economy theory of development, the elite theory and content analysis tool to establish the connection among population, development and democratic governance. The paper’s discussion and findings indicate that the political leaders and policy makers have consistently failed to generate and adopt valid/reliable demographic data upon which appropriate policy interventions are framed to address human centred development objectives. The paper showed that Nigeria’s socio-econommic development policies are not all inclusive, just, equitable, pro-poor, and one that empower the people with human centred rights to access basic life sustaining goods such as food, shelter, protection, health, and better education that will enhance their material well-being and self esteem. The paper conclude with the statement that the leadership must exercise the political will to invest massively in human capital development for Nigeria to achieve the status of a democratic developmental state and deliver the benefits of demographic dividend.
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