The National Population Commission Chairman, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra has commenced advocacy tour to the State Governors of Nigeria to create awareness and galvanise support for the 2022 Population and Housing Census. The Chairman began the advocacy tour with visit to the Ekiti State Governor, His Excellency Dr. Kayode John Fayemi at Government House, Ado Ekiti. He was accompanied by the Honourable Federal Commissioners from Southwest zone and some Directors of the Commission.

Hon. Kwarra told the Governor that the aim of his visit is to create public awareness on the forthcoming census, the ongoing 2nd Census Pre-test and other mandate of the Commission and solicit the support of the Government and good people of Ekiti State for the success of these activities which have direct bearing on the social-economic and political life of the people. The NPC boss requested that Dr. Fayemi should use his position as the Chairman, Nigeria Governors Forum to assist the Commission to rally support of other Governors around the huge national assignment that the census exercise is. “One fast suggestion, Your Excellency, is for the Governors to appoint Special Advisers on Census Matters as this will help facilitate a smooth and mutually beneficial engagement between Your Excellencies and the Commission especially at the State levels as well as build bridges between the Commission, the States and the people for the purpose of the coming census.

The Chairman briefed the Governor that the Commission has commenced the 2nd Pre-test exercise for the next Population and Housing Census from 3rd December to end on 10th of December, 2021. He explained that in Ekiti State the exercise is taking place in 4 LGAs of Efon, Ekiti West, Ikere and Ilejemeje. “Your Excellency, the 2nd Pre-test exercise is the testing of census instruments and methodology. The Commission intends to provide the nation with reliable and trustworthy EAD frame which will not only serve as a good foundation for the conduct of reliable and acceptable census, will also help form the basis for government and private sector planning, policy-making, security, equitable budget allocations and development,” Kwarra said.

Hon. Nasir Kwarra commended the Ekiti State Governor for all the assistance and support extended to the Commission while requesting for continuous support of the State Government in areas of sensitization and mobilization of the populace in the LGAs; provision of adequate security for the safety of our personnel and materials and; provision of accommodations and logistics for field staff for the next Population and Housing Census. “Implementing the ongoing Census preparatory activities and other Commission’s mandate is cost intensive and require active involvement of the entire citizenry, through enlightenment and publicity, cultivation of public ownership of the programmes, creation of a conducive atmosphere, dissolving prejudices and apathy and eliciting the enthusiastic response of the stakeholders. It is definitely a task the Commission cannot undertake alone without the goodwill and support of the broad spectrum of the Nigerian society.

Dr. Fayemi in his response assured the Commission of the support and cooperation of the Government and good people of Ekiti State to help ensure smooth conduct of the next census exercise. According to the Governor, he has set up a high-powered Committee on Housing and Population Census under the leadership of the Secretary to the State Government and also appointed a Senior Special Assistant on Planning, Statistics and Population Matters with technical knowledge on population and demographic issues to work intimately with the National Population Commission.

NPC Chairman also visited Ekiti State Council of Traditional Rulers led by its chairman, HRM Oba Gabriel Ayodele Adejowon (the Onitshan of Ishe Ekiti) to seek their Royal blessings and guidance that will pave way for the Commission to achieve a resounding success in this onerous national task that has been entrusted to the Commission to execute. “In spite of being the custodian of the tradition and culture of our people, the traditional rulers have long been recognized by the Commission as critical stakeholders for every success we want to achieve in the discharge of our statutory mandate. We believe very strongly that we cannot make any headway in the performance of our duties without your blessings, support, collaboration and fatherly guidance.

“I must place on records that outside the State Government, our traditional rulers are the next most important stakeholders in our scheme of things, whose input and cooperation is so crucial to the success of the preparation for the coming census. The bulk of our activities is field-based and I make bold to say that most of the accommodations made available for our officers in the field have either been provided by the traditional rulers or facilitated by them in their various communities. He added, “This is a gesture we in the Commission will continue to cherish while asking for more of your understanding and support.

However, the Chairman and his team visited the Committee on Population and Housing Census set up by the Ekiti State Governor to solicit their support in mobilizing and sensitizing the populace towards the next census.