The Save Nigeria Movement, SNM has passed a vote of confidence on the Chairman of the National Population Commission, NPC, Nasir Kwarra for repositioning the agency.
SNM Convener, Solomon Semaka while addressing a press conference in Abuja said perusing the activities of the NPC under Nasir Kara, the group decided to pass a vote of confidence on him and also admonished him not to rest on his oars but press on until the lost glory of the NPC is restored.
Speaking on the need for a fresh Population census to be conducted by the agency, Semaka said Nigeria is overdue for a census having passed the conventional 10 years between censuses.
He said, “the last Census was in 2006 under the administration of President Obasanjo, meaning the second one should have been in 2016 or thereabout.
“As you’re well aware, without accurate and timely data, adequate planning and resource allocation for development will not be possible. The importance of this Census cannot, therefore, be overemphasized.
“On the shoulders of Alhaji Nasir Kwarra lies the onerous task of organizing a befitting and modern census for Nigerians, one that can undo the negative impressions associated with the conduct of Censuses in Nigeria and give us accurate information for proper planning for national development. So far, national planning has been done based on projections and assumptions which is not acceptable anywhere around the globe.
” Whereas Mr. Chairman is doing this work dutifully and professionally with the very scarce resources available to him, certain groups of Nigerians are not happy with him because he’s not sharing NPC resources around like a piece of cake.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, the Current Chairman of NPC, Alhaji Nasir Kwarra knows the power of creating partnerships and synergizing especially with key stakeholders. This is very important in a multicultural and diverse society like ours. Bearing this in mind, he judiciously mobilized and executed town hall meetings and strategic workshops to garner the support of Nigerians and get their input as to what needs to be done to have an accurate and successful Census and what needs to be avoided.
“These meetings have yielded results and Nigeria is going to have the best Census that will reflect the true situation of Nigeria without having the unnecessary tension and inflation of figures that always herald previous exercises. That’s the power of proper sensitization and strategic partnership.
“This is indeed the first time a serving public servant is making attempts to carry everybody along in such a professional manner. Naysayers who are complaining about how much has been spent should not forget that up till now, certain Census exercises in Nigeria have been abandoned because people didn’t accept the results as a true reflection of their regions because they were not carried along.
“Before this day, the use of technology in Census exercises in Nigeria was, to say the least, rudimentary and crude. However, Mr. Chairman, desirous to reduce human error to the barest minimum has deployed high-tech structures to ensure that every aspect of the exercise is digitised and computerised for optimal performance. For instance, instead of the arbitrary demarcation of Enumeration Areas (EA), the current Chairman employed competent Geographic Information System (GIS) professionals and Cartographers to accurately and clinically dissect the country into EA using the best satellite maps and technologies.
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“At least this time around, there won’t be cases of overlap, counting and outright neglect of certain parts of the country because of non-coverage during the demarcation of EAs which was very common in the past. These things cost money but the impact sure outweighs the money spent. Nigerians should rather focus on the goal and avoid distracting our amiable Chairman.
“Typical of a man who knows what he’s doing and to ensure that the instruments for data collection and tested and lapses quickly fixed, the Chairman thought it wise to organize a Mock Census exercise. This again is the first of its kind and worthy of emulation by sister agencies like the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The success of the Mock Census exercise is indeed a pointer to the fact that Nigeria will have the best Census come next year without any hitches at least on the part of the Commission. Although this too came at a cost, it gave the Commission and its visionary Chairman an idea of what lies ahead. It also helped them immediately correct the mistakes that would have caused a national embarrassment to the Commission and Nigerians at large.
“Now, the National Population Commission is ready more than ever to give Nigerian taxpayers value for their money. There’s a Nigerian cliche that says ‘better soup Na money kill am’. Indeed, a good Census exercise in the 21st century requires a lot of money to make it work. Those dissatisfied with the current Chairman as seen in the media should exercise patience and see the outcome of next year’s Census exercise before barring their fangs against the Commission and its Chairman. From our investigations, no penny allocated to the NPC has been misappropriated and at the end of the day, every penny will be accounted for.
“Alhaji Nasir Kara will be remembered for a long time for his transparency in public office and as a champion of due process in Nigeria. Handling a project such as a Census exercise is not easy. Having to make sure every State and Local Government Area in the country is adequately provided with the right tools and equipment is indeed a herculean task that requires due process and due diligence. Procurements and contracts towards the forthcoming census have been done in line with international best practices and line with President Buhari’s anti-corruption mantra.
“Again, for the first time in the history of the Nigerian Census, the recruitment of ad-hoc staff has been advertised and transparently opened to Nigerians. This is to ensure the timely recruitment and training of qualified Nigerians to do the job without the usual clannish, nepotistic and biased recruitments that fill the public space with the unqualified and unproductive workforce. The least Nigerians should be doing right now is appreciating the dedication of this gentleman to the national assignment before him.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the press, we will like to conclude by appealing to you and Nigerians at large especially members of the National Assembly to give the Commission all the necessary support needed to execute an accurate and reliable exercise. The National Assembly should specifically work towards releasing more funds for a smooth Census exercise rather than listening to the unpopular voices of distractors. We need support and encouragement, next year’s Census exercise in Nigeria will be a model for other countries to emulate as Mr. Chairman is bringing together the best brains and technology to give Nigerians the best experience ever” he said