This article was originally supposed to challenge president Jonathan for implying that Nigeria’s life expectancy age of 54 is one of his government’s achievements.
According to the president, five years ago, life expectancy in Nigeria was 46years but now it is 54years and he considers that to be an achievement.
Let us put Mr. President’s claim in proper perspective: It’s like saying, “last year I scored 10F in that course/subject but this year I have improved, I scored 20F.”
Failure is failure, Mr. President, it has no other name.
The World average is 67-68yrs so even by Mr. President’s admission Nigeria’s life expectancy is more than ten years lower than the World’s average. Why on earth would anyone consider that to be an achievement?
That is even assuming that 54-yrs is life expectancy in Nigeria because it is not!
To start with, life expectancy is only guess work. It’s one of those indices used to measure economic developments, socio-economic stability and healthcare delivery in different countries. It doesn’t mean citizens of that country would not live beyond a certain age or won’t die until they reach a certain age.
It’s a vague indicator and nobody running a responsible presidential campaign should be referring to life expectancy because sometimes, it has more to do with individual lifestyle choices and not so much government policy.
However, when a president vying for re-election decides to refer to it he had better get his facts right and make sure it is, at least, above the world average.
The figure, unfortunately is closer to 52-years than 54 for Nigeria.
Let us consider what some global agencies have to say about life expectancy in Nigeria:
According to the World Health Organisation, overall life expectancy in Nigeria is 53years for men and 55years for women, average being 54 but it is misleading to consider only one global agency because other agencies sometime use other factors to measure life expectancy. Even at that Nigeria is still ranked 182 out of 193 countries surveyed.
According to the latest ranking released by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), United Nations, Nigeria’s overall life expectancy is 50.26years, ranking the country number 181 out of 197 countries on the list.
Lastly, the CIA book of facts puts the figure at 52.62. Click this link to see.
On the CIA list, Nigeria is ranked 212 out of 223 countries.
Unlike the UN and WHO, the CIA would not base their figures on health issues alone. Being an Intelligence gathering organisation they would also consider political instabilities, terrorism and crime.
In a situation like this where you have three different but similar figures one should choose the average by adding the three figures up and divide the total by 3, which gives us 52.29 years.
Like I mentioned earlier, life expectancy is at best guess work and not an issue that should be coming up in a presidential campaign.
If however, a president seeking re-election chooses to bring it up he should at least know what he is talking about.
As the case has always been it seems this president doesn’t know what he is talking about.
To be fair on the president, how can anybody who has the likes of Reno Omokiri, Dr. Doyin Okupe and Femi Fani-Kayode on his team ever know what he is talking about?