Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has tasked the National Population Commission (NPC) to conduct accurate, credible and acceptable data, in the forthcoming 2023 census, saying it will assist the country in planning and formulating policies.
Obasanjo made the call during a visit by NPC Executive Chairman, Nasir Kwarra, who came alongside with the country representative from the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Nigeria, and other officials of the commission at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) in Abeokuta.
According to Obasanjo, a credible and accurate census would help the nation in planning better and formulate policies that will aid the development of the country.
He, however, recalled the last census conducted in 2006 during his administration, to be the first in history to be done without conflicts, acrimony and contention. He said Nigeria had failed to make adequate use of the results of census previously conducted in the country.
“We are running away from making use of our census, the same way we are running from religion and ethnicity.
“The census should lead to real demarcation of constituencies which we have run away from since 2006. Census figures 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; I believe we should get this right, so that we will be able to know where we are today.
“I don’t know how long we will keep running away from census, and we keep deceiving and lying to ourselves, by running away from the truth we must face and deal with it,” he said.
Kwarra said the visit to Ogun was to monitor the conduct of the trial census in Imeko-Afon Local Government Area as one of the six areas selected for full enumeration across the country.
He noted that the overall objective of the trial census was to assess the overall preparedness of the NPC to conduct a successful population and housing census.
The chairman, who had earlier paid a similar visit to Governor Dapo Abiodun and the Alake of Egbaland, Adedotun Gbadebo, expressed the commitment of the commission in delivering a credible, accurate and acceptable census, assuring the exercise would be successful.
He disclosed that 7,718 enumeration areas had been selected for the trial census to test run the suitability and readiness for the actual census in 2023, noting that six local government areas would be fully enumerated during the trial.