Nigerians say 2023 Census politically motivated, NPC says no
Whereas many Nigerians have raised eyebrow over the persistence of Buhari administration to conduct national population census before its exit on May 29 at all cost, the National Population Commission (NPC) has said that the forthcoming National Population and Housing Census is not ethnic or politically motivated.
Many Nigerians who are equipped with census politics in Nigeria recalled that there had been issues on the true population of several northern states and Lagos state.
For instance after the result of 2006 census pronounced Kano State (about 9.3m) more than Lagos State (9.01m), the then Lagos State Governor and current President-Elect rejected the result and hurriedly conducted State Census which pushed the population of the state to over 17 million from 9.01 million.
Observers say the North is aware that if Buhari fails to conduct the census and Tinubu takes over, the North may not like the result of a census that will be conducted by Tinubu because of his antecedence in census politics.
Besides, many analysts say the North is rushing Buhari administration to conduct census so as to come up with a result that will not truly reflect the endless massive killings and displacements the region has faced since 2015, Buhari became president.
It was not clear if the above conspiracy logic is the factor forcing the outgoing government to; instead of postponing the Census entirely out of the life of the administration, it only moved the census from March 29 to May (no specific date yet), the same month it is leaving.
Meanwhile, speaking at a one-day capacity-building workshop for journalists on ‘Effective Reporting of the 2023 Population Census’, on Thursday last week in Abeokuta, the NPC Federal Commissioner in Ogun, Mrs. Seyi Aderinokun, who was represented by the state Director, NPC, Mr. Olushola Adeleye, noted that the commission is not a political organisation, saying that its responsibility was to conduct census meant to generate data for economic planning.
According to Aderinokun, the commission will only count physically present individuals, and will not count by proxy.
She also said that the census would be digital, as the commission had deployed advanced technology to code building and land mass, detailing information such as location, landscapes and others.
While describing Ogun as a population convergence point, Aderinokun said the workshop was to train journalists on how to report census efficiently and effectively.
“We are not a political organisation. We have the responsibility to conduct a census; it is a research that is meant to generate data for economic planning. We are not ethnic or politically related or motivated.
“The census result will be verifiable and it will be digital; we are deploying technological innovation,” she added.
In his presentation, the Deputy Director of Census Department, Mr. Folami Muka, said several censuses done in the country had been marred with different complaints because people believed it was politically motivated.
Muka said the commission had made it imperative to have a people-oriented exercise devoid of political inclinations.