Nigeria’s former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has charged the National Population Commission (NPC), to conduct a reliable, acceptable and credible census in 2023.
He said this when he hosted the Executive Chairman of NPC, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra, and his team at the Conference Room of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, that the exercise must lead to authentic demarcation of constituencies in the country.
Obasanjo noted that the census would help the government in formulating policies that would engender proper planning as well for the future.
The former president bemoaned the inability of the government in making adequate use of the previous census in planning for the country.
“What use do we make of census when we have got it? We are still running away the same way we are running away from religion and the same way we are running away from ethnicity; we are running away from making use of our census.
“Census figure that we do not use for planning, for real demarcation and all that is not serving a useful purpose, it is a waste of money and I hope that we will be able to do this right and I pray that God will help you that you will be able to get it right.
“The census should lead on to real demarcation of constituencies which we have run away from since 2006. Again, I don’t know how long we will run away from it for. And we keep deceiving ourselves and lying to ourselves and running away from the truth, we must face the truth and deal with it,” he said.
The NPC boss was accompanied by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Resident Representative in Nigeria, Ms. Ulla Elisabeth Mueller, in his remarks, said he was in the State to monitor the ongoing Trial Census in Imeko-Afon Local Government Area of the State, as part of the preparation for the 2023 Census.
He explained that the Commission had completed all pre-census activities in preparation for the census next year.
Kwarra appreciated the former president for the conduct of the 2006 population census as the nation’s number one citizen.
Meanwhile, the NPC Executive Chairman and his team had earlier visited the Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Michael Adedotun Gbadebo, CFR and Governor Dapo Abiodun, MFR.
Oba Gbadebo said, “I’m glad to inform you that despite the security challenges confronting this country, we are carrying on with our activities so that we can provide for this country the much-needed data for planning for our development.”
While Abiodun submitted that a credible enumeration exercise would form the basis for equitable management and distribution of financial resources in the country.
He noted that the population enumeration exercise is an extremely important exercise that is fundamental to the socio-economic planning and development of the country.
The governor expressed hope that the NPC would not have a repeat of what happened during a similar exercise in 2006 and ensure that everyone is counted.
“I hope we do not have a repeat of what happened in 2006, where someone will tell you, okay, I am here, we have six other people here inside my house and then you say okay, seven people, you just enumerate them without confirming. I hope this will actually ensure that everybody is counted so we can have a basis for the equitable management and distribution of financial resources in this country,” he noted.