Nigerian census is highly politicised and bedevilled with politics of numbers and allocation of resources orchestrated by ethnicity, regional and religious differences.
The Katsina State Governor, Alh Aminu Bello Masari stated this, Thursday at a stakeholders’ summit on the 2023 Population and Housing Census in Katsina.
He said the entire planning system of the country has been negatively affected up to the point that the nation does not know its accurate growth rate.
Gov Masari further explained that even the previous censuses conducted by military regimes in the country were not devoid of politics of tribal dimension, regional, zonal and religious, which he said negated the core purpose of the census.
He noted that the census, which is meant to help in terms of actual planning purposes, has been reduced to politics of numbers and politics of accessing resources, adding that the commission should address the quality of numbers, not politics of numbers.
Masari said: “Census has been highly and wrongly politicised in this country. For those of us who are 70 years and above, the politics of the census that I can remember I witnessed was in 1963 when I was in primary seven when we were drafted to go and conduct a census after the first one was cancelled.
“That has been going on in subsequent censuses even the ones conducted by the military were not devoid of politics of tribal dimension, regional, zonal and religious. That made core purpose of census completely misunderstood.
According to the governor, “The tragedy of what we have done in reducing the issues of census to numbers could rarely fall on us in terms of resources allocation and political offices. These have eroded the main objective of knowing how many we are.
“We don’t even have an accurate growth rate. All our censuses are being bedevilled by politics of numbers not quality of numbers. We hope this time, with technology, we will be able to achieve near perfection in terms of knowing how many we are in this country. The commission should address the quality of numbers, not politics of numbers.”
Earlier, The Federal Commissioner, National Population Commission (NPC), Katsina State, Mr. Bala Almu Banye, said the commission was committed towards digilising census in the country to meet the international standards.
He said the scheduled 2023 national population and housing census is designed to realise the dream of providing the needed demographic data that will facilitate and place Nigeria on the pedestal of sustainable development.
Banye explained that the summit will broaden the state level support base for the successful conduct of the 2023 census, as well as create public awareness including its imperatives, methodology and timelines.