GETTING THE 2017 CENSUS RIGHT IS A TASK THAT MUST BE DONE – DURUIHEOMA
The Chairman of the National Population Commission, Eze Duruiheoma has affirmed that getting the 2017 Population and Housing Census right is a task that must be done and assured that the Commission will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that everything about the next census is done rightly and professionally as the present Commission has the clear vision, commitment and professional capacity to deliver on this historic mandate.
The NPC boss gave the assurance at the Data Users and Producers Workshop on Questions, Instruments And Tabulation which took place in Kaduna on 24th and 25th November 2015.
He promised that the 2017 Census will chart a new and positive course in sustainable development and complement the Change Agenda of President Muhammadu Buhari by ensuring that reforms in critical sector of our national life such as education, health, power supply, infrastructure, employment generation and security are carried out within the context of demographic architecture of Nigeria.
Duruiheoma stressed the need for popular participation of the people particularly stakeholders in the census process as this will ensure that census meets the aspirations and data needs of potential users. “Census must be driven by the needs and aspirations of the people, which should be the compass in designing its contents and methodology. A census that is divorced from expectations and needs of data users is a colossal waste of resources and time’ He added.
There is therefore the need for constant interaction and engagement between the agency charged with the responsibility of conducting the census and intended data users. It was in recognition of this fact that the Commission had adopted a meticulous and gradual approach in designing the census questionnaire and instruments for the 2017 Census.
It will be recalled that an in house workshop on the 2017 Census questionnaire and instruments took place in October 2014 in Minna, Niger State. This was followed by a Technical Review Workshop of informed Stakeholders in Kaduna in December 2014.
These workshops covered various thematic areas such as geographical international and internal migration, household characteristics, economic characteristics, demographic and social characteristics, fertility, mortality, educational characteristics, economic characteristics, disability, housing, information and communication technology and agriculture (household participation). Some thematic issues which were not canvassed in previous censuses have been introduced into the 2017 Census questionnaire. This was done to reflect emerging socio-economic realities and the need to come up with appropriate data, which will also be consistent with global best practices.
The NPC Chairman urged participants to contribute freely and put forward their frank positions as the Commission does not lay any claim to a monopoly of wisdom.
Declaring the workshop open, the Executive Governor of Kaduna State, Mallam Nasir El Rufai represented by Alh. Sani Abdullahi, the State Commissioner of Budget and Planning, observed that demographic profile is the foundation upon which development stands. The people are both the agents and beneficiaries of development. Population size, composition, distribution and its socio-economic characteristics have decisive impact on the pace and outcomes of development efforts.
The Kaduna State Governor noted that the plan of the Commission to conduct a population and housing census in 2017 is a welcome development, which deserves the cooperation and support of all Nigerians. Its successful conduct and the wide range of demographic data to be generated will positively impact on the national quest for sustainable development.
El Rufai commended the Commission for living up to national expectation through its plan to conduct the 2017 Population and Housing Census and its commitment to avoid past pitfalls through the adoption of biometric technology. This innovative approach will eliminate manipulation of census figures and make the outcomes of the census credible.
The two day workshop was attended by stakeholders from government agencies, academia, research institutes and the private sector as well as members and management staff of the Commission nationwide.