Francis Sardauna in Katsina
Governor Aminu Bello Masari of Katsina State Thursday, said the Nigerian census is highly politicised and bedevilled with politics of numbers and allocation of resources orchestrated by ethnicity, regional and religious differences.
He 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.
Masari, who spoke at a stakeholders’ summit on the 2023 Population and Housing Census in Katsina, added that 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.
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 it completely misunderstood the core purpose of the census.
“You have taken what is not yours, he has taken what is not his and the whole convergence at the federal within the resources you have distorted the distribution of the resources so that we can be beneficiaries. That is why we have been living on falsehood.”
According to the governor, “The tragedy of what we have done in reducing the issues of census 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 digitising 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.