Our Ulama’ must have a lot to say on “The Principle of Population” by Robert Thomas Malthus and “The Principle of Family” by HRH Sunusi Lamido Sunusi. This is because many ideas by our contemporary western oriented northern Nigerian elites regarding “polygyny” (note that there is no “polygamy” in the northern and, perhaps, the entire Nigerian cultures) and poverty in the region is a stark rebirth of Malthusian theory.
Sociologically, the view is controversial because there are multiple protagonist and antagonist submission as responses to that theory. In my view, however, I’ll reduce the issue of undue polygyny, poverty and almajirci to bad governance.
Blaming almajirci and ignoring the system of governance that systematically makes the rich richer and poor poorer is like blaming a dead body for laying in a cascade. This system is rhetorically democratic but literally draconian and pro-elite because it is characterized by dictatorship of the minority, while the vast majority is wallowing in illiteracy, poverty and hopelessness.
How can you turn a blind eye on the root cause of undue polygyny, poverty and almajirci and be bombarding us with Malthusian theory? The category of people who take the risk of having many wives without corresponding rationalization on sustenance are largely illiterates and obviously poor. They are left in such conditions because of bad governance. An illiterate can’t differentiate between right and wrong, child abuse and support and is vulnerable to poverty.
Solution to the problem is in good governance. SLS should ask the leaders, why are there too many poor and illiterate parents in a rich country? He should dvise them to provide standard of living, quality education and make it compulsory for the Nigerian masses and provide effective legal framework for fighting abuse of all forms. This is the best strategy for preventing poverty, undue polygyny and child abuse because there will be responsible future parents.
Jamilu Ibrahim Mukhtar writes from Jigawa, can be reached via email@example.com