Why Next National Census Must Work

Why Next National Census Must Work

Given the plan, the 2023 population census would hold unhindered.

This though is coming with a groundswell of criticisms amid timing, which the National Population Commission, NPC, has fixed for this all-important national engagement.

By the NPC’s estimation, April 2023 will be the date set for the national population and housing census. This would come shortly after the 2023 general elections which in itself have been subjected to various negative theories bordering on uncertainties.

It may be necessary here to delve into history in order to reflect on our past inadequacies as a nation. The last National Census was held in 2006 and since then there has not been any one against the norm that a headcount should be held every 10 years. By that inclination, if the census would take effect in 2023 as proposed by the NPC, we would have lost about seven years behind time.

It is embarrassing that since 2016 when the last census ought to have been held, not a few events have overtaken us as a nation. It should have been held soon after 2015 when the present government of President Muhammadu Buhari took over the reins of leadership. For a government that just arrived on the scene then, many stakeholders, including the international community thought for the government to shelve the census in 2016, it could be excusable since it was just settling into the rudiments of that moment. However, to wait for seven years to achieve the same, it has put to public scrutiny the government as many are citing the unwariness of the authorities to the importance of the exercise to national growth and development.

It is believed that it is indeed the lack of a current status that has subjected our national demographics to various statistics. We are aware that the statistics suffer from so many vagaries, depending on who is making the submission. Some put current population figure at 200 million while others who are so unnecessarily nationalistic stress the country is over that figure brimming from a sense to further put the largest black nation on Earth on a better plane in global statistics.

In a recent survey by certain groups, the nation’s population has been unduly proclaimed, citing the fact that there is no empirical evidence to back the claims that suggests that the nation has grown that much fold in the period under review.

These scenarios call for a concerted effort to ensure that the NPC and other stakeholders ensure that we do not miss it this time around. We must support the NPC to further the cause of the census by generating the essential character that would enhance capacity for the agency to achieve its mandate.

We are quite in tune with the essence of the exercise as it would enhance national planning and development in an era where so much of our national existence has been over politicised. Our collective interest as a nation must not be jettisoned on the altar of selfish and parochial mentality.

We are made to understand that the Federal Government has empowered the NPC, like it did for the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC for 2023 procedures. If indeed, the NPC has been energised it means they are geared up for the task ahead and all hands must be on deck to fulfill the task.

We are against the politicisation of the census process where many Nigerians would see the period as one to travel to their home states to accomplish the census task. There is no need like experts have advised that it does not call for any such long trips to be counted. At any point of domicile by individuals is expected to be where they need to be counted.

AljazirahNigeria calls for a smooth 2023 general election as that would engender the success of the census that follows shortly.

It is necessary to follow through with the guidelines that the NPC would provide with the rigorous process. Nigerians must be prepared for a census that would essentially provide data that would push our nation forward. 

We stress that our country cannot continue to live on assumed figures. All communities across the nation must shelve undue parochial concerns which would tend to swelling numbers beyond reality. 

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