The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called on the people clamouring for conduct of population census in 2018 to exercise patience till after 2019 elections when there will be no political pressure to manipulate its outcome.
This was contained in a statement issued by his Special Adviser on Media & Public Affairs, Turaki Hassan, on Monday in Abuja.
Mr. Dogara said conducting population census in an election year may generate unrealistic results, and therefore advised that the next administration should conduct the census at the beginning of its tenure when there isn’t so much at stake.
“I won’t advise anyone to conduct national census in 2018. I said it before that if we are not going to achieve it in 2017, then we should just forget it until after 2019.
“If you conduct census at the niche of elections, there will be so much pressure, crisis and the lure for people to manipulate the figures for political reasons”.
“It is better for a fresh administration to conduct this exercise from the beginning of that administration when we do not have any pressure of elections in sight.”
“I can bet you if the census is conducted in 2018, the outcome will be doubtable.”
“Seriously speaking, because I know who we are and I know the kind of litigations, backlashes, the pressure and we don’t need that now to be candid.”
He said it’s better to empower the agencies to keep building on the blocks that they will leverage on in the future.
“Doing it in 2018, honestly it is nothing I would advocate.”
The Director General of the National Population Commission, Ghaji Bello, recently indicated his commission’s preparedness to conduct a census in 2018 if necessary logistics are provided.
Mr. Bello also said the proposed 2018 census will cost an estimated N272 billion.
He said the exercise should have been conducted in 2016 in line with international practice.
“We should have conducted the last census in 2016 but for a variety of reasons outside the control of the population commission, we were unable to do it,” he said.
To meet the UN 10-year benchmark, Mr. Bello said the commission was working for a constitutional amendment that would allow for scheduled conduct of the census.
Mr. Bello also argued that conducting a census in the Muhammadu Buhari administration would give it credibility.
He added that the conduct of the census under the present administration would give the exercise a deserved national and international credibility and reliability.
“We are of the firm belief that if it is conducted under this government, that there will be a lot of international credibility for the exercise,” he said.
“This is given the persona of the president that is there presently.
“And then people take advantage of climes and environment and chances and there are times when everything works in your favour.
“We believe firmly in the National Population Commission that census conducted under President Muhammadu Buhari would go a long way in actually achieving the credibility that we want.”
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