-Ola Williams (Abeokuta)
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo emphasized the importance of transforming Nigeria’s growing population from a liability to an asset as the key to lifting Nigerians out of poverty.
Speaking at the launch of the Gateway chapter of Business Network International (BNI) in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Obasanjo highlighted the dire situation of over 100 million Nigerians living in poverty.
In his keynote address titled “Importance of Network in Life and Business,” Obasanjo stated, “We lay emphasis on our natural resources and when we talk of our natural resources, we are talking of mine, oil and gas, gold, whatever we can find in the bush or under the ground. But for me, our most important natural resource is a human being.”
He further elaborated on Nigeria’s population projections, stating, “By the year 2050, we will be the third largest country in the world with a population of well over 450 million. Only China and India will be larger than us in population. That can be an asset and it can be a liability.”
Obasanjo expressed his willingness to delve deeper into the topic, acknowledging that it would require extensive discussion to ensure the population becomes an asset rather than a liability. He applauded the goals set by BNI in Nigeria, which include supporting 25,000 businesses and one million families.
He estimated that by supporting five million individuals, significant progress could be made in a country where more than 100 million people live in abject poverty.Commending BNI’s plans to contribute N650 billion annually to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and promote growth in employment and value creation, Obasanjo expressed his approval of their efforts to uplift businesses and families in the country.