Who is afraid of accurate census?



All over the world, population census is used for socio-economic, strategic and developmental planning. In almost all countries, demographic data are used for provision of infrastructure, water, power, housing, health and educational needs of the inhabitants amongst other uses. For such planning to be effective, it must be based on accurate population census figures.

In advanced democracies and some countries in Africa, conducting a population census is a normal exercise that people don’t lose their heads about worrying of its outcome and which part of the country will have the highest figure and other inanities associated with population census in Nigeria.

The story is not the same in Nigeria, the giant of Africa. In Nigeria, census figures are manipulated in view of the fact that the data are important in delineation of electoral wards and constituencies and in revenue allocation. That is why unscrupulous politicians are more concerned with its outcome. Because of the inherent abuses of census figures in the country, virtually every census conducted in the country has ended up in controversy. It is either the North rejects it or the East or the West does not approve of it.

The inability of the leaders of the country to arrive at accurate population census is at the heart of major crises the country has faced since independence. The political dominance of the North over the South since independence due to the seeming population advantage it has over the South is part of the Nigerian problem. That is why every census exercise in the country is always acrimonious and contentious no matter who supervises it.

Even if angels are brought from heaven to supervise Nigerian census, some people will still complain. Perhaps that is the way Nigerians perceive census, especially when the result will be used for sharing of the national cake, essentially oil money.

It is based on proven scientific data and evidence of such census abuses that the chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Eze Festus Odimegwu, recently lampooned past census exercises conducted in Nigerian before independence and after as being inaccurate. As most Nigerians are aware, Odimegwu did not say anything new or what nobody has said in the country. He has said the truth of the matter. Perhaps his ‘first fault’ is that he is insisting that all demographic information like tribe and religion, which were excluded in the 2006 census exercise be included in the 2016 one as it is done in all parts of the world. Perhaps his ‘second fault’ is that he said that the 2006 census was manipulated in favour of a section of the country. When has saying the truth become a fault in the country?

Those who are contesting Odimegwu’s claims should not bother any further. The recent Census Tribunal’s ruling that some areas of Lagos be recounted because they were not correctly captured during the 2006 census exercise has amply justified Odimegwu’s stand. Lagos State had after the release of the census figures that gave Kano State more population than Lagos contested the outcome. Lagos State might not be alone in such misrepresentation.

The South-East was not adequately covered during the 2006 census exercise due to the threat by MASSOB that Igbos should not participate. How can a census that did not factor tribe and religion, the two major demographic indices for accurate census be taken as credible? Many Nigerians protested then that those demographic indices be included but were never heeded by the powers that be. Conducting a population census is a serious business. Figures should not be assigned to wards and constituencies at the whim of the powers that be, they must be accurate. That is exactly what Odimegwu is saying.

Therefore when the governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankwaso, raised undue dust over Odimegwu’s comments, it is understandable where he is coming from. His assertion that Odimegwu’s appointment as NPC chairman is ‘a mistake’ is quite unfortunate and unbecoming of a state governor who should be concerned of the need for accurate population count in the country. Kwankwaso’s grandstanding on the issue and his unprintable invectives on Odimegwu are in bad taste and against Odimegwu’s right to freedom of expression. It is public knowledge that Kwankwaso went too far in his verbal umbrage on Odimegwu and his competence to conduct the 2016 census.

This is not the first time that Kwakwanso will be so condemnatory in any matter that concerns Ndigbo. The other time, it was the call for additional State to the South-East zone, the only geo-political zone in the country with five states.

Kwankwaso did not only condemn the call, he also berated those making the call and dismissed the agitation with a wave of the hand because he is not involved. Such hate approach to national issues in a plural society as ours is indeed parochial and uncalled for.

Let Kwankwanso and others that think like him (the Arewa Consultative Forum) understand the need for accurate population census and support those that want Nigeria to have accurate and credible census come 2016. Even if they don’t like the messenger, let them not discard the message. The message, irrespective of the bearer, is very vital for the continued functioning of the country. It is surprising that some people will be posturing against the clarion call for accurate population census. How do such people plan in their household or the state they govern?

Therefore, the call on President Goodluck Jonathan to sack Odimegwu based on his defence of accurate population census, is diversionary, unnecessary and should be dismissed. It does not advance the cause of a transformational administration and statehood that Nigeria is aspiring to be under the current dispensation. Let those castigating Odimegwu over his insistence for accurate headcount leave him alone and think of how best to govern their states.

Before coming to NPC, Odimegwu has had a distinguished career as an accomplished manager of men and resources as well as a board room guru at Nigerian Breweries Plc. Since leaving the conglomerate, he has been successful in diverse business ventures. His competence to conduct a credible headcount for the country is therefore not in doubt as Kwankwaso wants us to believe.

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  1. Every day people go through all these lies and acrimonious accusations coming from people from the northern part of the country most especially if it’s coming from someone from the eastern part of the country, accurate heat count is a serious business and should be treated as such.

    Odimegwu is right in his assertion should you be in doubt read about the reason behind the first census and an agreement reached between the British and northern governments before the declaration 1960 independent also why the Government of Obasanjo couldn’t succeed about using electronic system type of voting when the north openly rejected it.

    It’s time people stand up for what they believe in.

    Ozo Okwy Okeke writes from London

  2. I hope this Ozo Okwy Okeke is a genuine and true Onye Igbo, and not bastards like ejike aturu awusa, a tribalistic Yoruba fool who thought he could successfully hide under the name ejike to deceive the public.
    On census, the New PDP led by Kwakwanso does not like accurate census : ejike aturu awusa, Amechi,Lamido, Baba Aliyu, Wamako, Baraje, do not like accurate census

    • @Okon I had ones condemned Ejike for using abusive words on you, but am retrack, you are most idiot on this platform.

  3. Nigerians are waiting to see how far the Commander-General of anti-Igbo war, Mr OBJ can go with his troops . His field Commanders, Kwkwanso, Femi Fani-Kayode, Amechi, Nyako, Wammako and Baba aliyu shall never succeed. Kwakwanso made ND,HND, from Kaduna Poly. He rose to level 12 with Kano ministry of works. Compare Odimegwu with first class in chemistry,.,. . .

  4. If we can demphasize our tribe, religion , State or Local Govt where we as Nigerians come from, thje better for our country. No man chose which country , tribe, state or even family to come to when he or she was coming into this world. We should rather see ourselves as brothers from same father but different mothers. We should harness our abilities, gifts from God for the good of everyone.
    Nigeria is like a football team made of up of players called Nigerian team . We always look for the best players to make a strong team and not the tribe of the players.
    The collective effort of the players determines the successes achieved by the team. Our team cannot be made up of only one tribe or players who belong to one religion.
    America is great today because their greatness was achieved people from all the tribes, religion . America is not bothered about your nationality, race, creed or religion. They want experts, they want results, they want the lives of Americans to be better everyday. They don’t care who does that. Many Nigerians are there as top scientists, medical experts etc.
    Prof Barth Nnaji, is a professor of Robotics, well respected in America. He was disgraced out of office. Current Minster Mrs Ngozi Okonjo Iweala , from World bank is facing similar problem in Nigeria. The list is endless.
    In Nigeria, what do we see, or hear. Even when a Nigerian is determined to do the right thing, a lot meanings are read into his or her actions. Such fellow will be rejected, may be because his tribe, religion or state is the ‘wrong’ one.
    Let us see ourselves as one family and it will be better for all of us.

    • Hello, colNwako as you will like to be refer to without leaving much to be desired as to know exactly where you from, i hope you are not in a different planet i do agree with Fanny Kayode and Awo on the issue of acknowledging ones tribe, it’s an identity you cannot wish away, here in the United Kingdom where i reside a English man will always be spiteful of the Irishman so do the Welsh and the Scottish due to their historical and cultural background, identifying oneself with his country of origin and being proud of it is not a problem, it’s all depends on the side of the isle you are coming from and the topic involved, that’s how it is here in the UK.

      There is nothing wrong with me identifying myself as a true and proud Igboman and my i remind my friend that in the US where he used as a yardstick that president Obama appointed the first Hispanic woman into the highest court of the land thereby drawing a lot of support from that part of the ethnic group it is called ethnic politics, so saying that such thing doesn’t exist is misleading and incorrect.

      The problem with ours is all about those who have being at the helm of affairs in our country are not capable and cannot in anyway govern that country as they’re too despotic and lack the necessary credentials that goes with exposure and modernization to do so, they are more engrossed in their monopolistic ideals and ideas of the sultanate system of governance to notice that in other part of the world such stools are more of figure heads and nothing more, they have sacrificed merit on the alter of mediocrity.

      The only way our country can develop is to enshrine a true federalism/confederation or to move our separate ways as each ethnic has enough population to be a country after all Scotland is less than five million so is Libya and other many countries in the Caribbeans as a result there will be no more falsification of census results.

      Ozo Okwy Okeke writes from London Uk

  5. Hunchback Okon, u’re stupid as ur name. Instead of u talking about de Rabiu kwankawso, u started insulting Yorubas. In ur last life, were u killed or tormented by Yorubas?. All I know is this, days when people counted cow sheep, donkeys n ragos instead of human being is over. There is nothing people like kwankwaso of Nigeria can do to stop real census to be conducted,this time we will not take rubish from anybody unless we get real n genuie census. If an Hausa man can not do a proper job when given a chance, if a naija jews is de best candidate that will do de job de way de job should be done, then I see no reason why de jew should not have de job. Billions of kwankwaso rabiu can not n will not prevent odimugwue from doing his job.

  6. Kaycee Ndi Oji on

    The like’s of Kwakwanso should not be allowed to be in any government house,not to talk of contributing to national issue. Odimegwu should have reply him word to word and let us see when heaven will fall, if he thinks that cow, goat, malu etc will still be counted as human beings he is day dreaming. ota gworo dika ya.

  7. Hmmmm,wonders they said shall never seize,even Kolanut Amodu can openly support an Igbo man and sees anything good from an Igbo man.I thought Kolanut Amodu is an anti Igbo Jews,who doesnt see anything good about we Jews but now he has supported Festus Odimegwu.As for you Rabiu Kwankwaso or watever you call yourselfi dont have anything to tell you because its obvious that your tribalistic in nature and as for the NPC 2016 it must be countered accordinely except if Nigeria disintegrate before then.Enough of the Housa-Fulanis manipulation figure and am so much happy that since Igbo Jews have found their ways in the helms of the ministerial appointment they have never disappointed us and they have keep showing the stuff they are made up of

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