Population Size and Contestations for Political Powers in a Multi-Ethnic Setting: Interrogating Fertility Behaviour in Nigeria

Yemi Adewoyin, University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN)
Clifford O. Odimegwu, University of the Witwatersrand

Variations in fertility behaviour among ethnic groups in Nigeria and their rivalries for the control of natural and economic resources through access to political powers are well documented. In a country where population figures are the determinant of electoral victories and a criterion for the distribution of public goods, this study hypothesizes that the variations in fertility behaviour are a reflection of the ethnic pattern of political power holding and contestations. Data on power holding, voting pattern, and contraceptive use were sourced from the records of the Nigeria’s electoral commission and the Nigerian demographic and health surveys of 2003 to 2018. Associations and relationships among variables were generated at bivariate and multivariate levels using regression analyses. Results show that the Hausa-Fulani ethnic group had the highest index of political power (PPI) and the lowest uptake of contraceptive. When the sociodemographic confounders of contraceptive use were controlled for, PPI was associated with consistent lower odds of contraceptive use among the Hausa-Fulani but higher likelihoods among other ethnic groups, including those with low contraceptive uptake in the unadjusted model. Population control policies in Nigeria may remain ineffective for as long absolute population figures determine electoral outcomes and serve as a distributive criterion.

Keywords: Family planning and contraception, Politics and demography, Policy, Population geography

See extended abstract.

  Presented in Session P20.