Jonathan sacks Festus Odimegwu as Population Commission boss

Festus Odumegwu

Jonathan also replaces Prof. Nwabueze with Anya O. Anya as member of the National Conference Advisory Committee

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday accepted the resignation of Festus Odimegwu as Chairman of the National Population Commission, NPC, and promptly appointed Sam Ahaiwe, the Commissioner representing Abia State in the Commission, to act as chairman pending the appointment of a substantive boss.

The appointment was made known in a statement by the Special Adviser on Media to the Secretary of the Government of the Federation, Sam Nwaobasi.

Goverrnment insiders said it was Mr. Jonathan who directed the population commission’s boss to resign to avoid being disgraced from office.

According to the statement, Mr. Odimegwu’s resignation would take effect from Thursday, 17 October.

The former Managing Director of Nigerian Breweries Plc has been embroiled in controversy over the nation’s census history, with northern politicians calling for his removal.

Mr. Odimegwu was criticised for reports credited to him, claiming that the country has not had any credible census since 1816. He had blamed the irregularity on the distortion and falsification of figures for selfish and political reasons.

“No census has been credible in Nigeria since 1816. Even the one conducted in 2006 is not credible. I have the records and evidence produced by scholars and professors of repute; this is not my report. If the current laws are not amended, the planned 2016 census will not succeed,” Mr. Odimegwu was reported to have said.

The Presidency reportedly queried Mr. Odimegwu over the statements after the Governor of Kano State, Rabiu Kwankanso, at a meeting with President Jonathan, faulted Mr. Odimegwu’s appointment as the NPC boss.

“I also raised the issue of the Chairman of the National Population Commission headed by one Festus Odimegwu. We are not happy about that appointment, and think that it was a mistake,” Mr. Kwankanso said in an interview with State House correspondents.

“He had only one thing in alcoholic industry (sic), all his life. And my guess is that he’s taking a lot of his products and that is why we feel that his appointment is a mistake because he cannot be the Chairman of NPC and at the same time attack what his predecessors have done,” the governor said.

President Jonathan, our sources in the administration said, subsequently directed Mr. Odimegwu to resign or be fired.

Anya replaces Nwabueze

The statement also announced the appointment of Anya. O. Anya, as a member of the Advisory Committee on National Dialogue.

He is to replace elder statesmen, Ben Nwabueze, who, according to the statement, is abroad on health grounds.

Mr. Nwabueze, earlier on Thursday, blasted President Jonathan for inappropriately appointing him, an old man, into the committee instead of a younger person.

The President also appointed Pius Osunyikanmi as Director General/ Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Technical Aids Corps.

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