THE National Population Commission (NPC) has assured Nigerians that the forthcoming nationwide census is economically driven as opposed to a political exercise.
The NPC Federal Commissioner for Lagos State, Abimbola Salu-Hundeyi, said this ahead of the five day exercise beginning on March 29.
Salu-Hundeyi was responding to a comment by the spokesman to the Borno State Governor, Isa Gusau, who also appeared on the programme.
Gusau described censuses as political, saying every state desires to be seen as highly populated.
“If you go back to the issue of Lagos, when there was a dispute in terms of perception between which of the states had the higher population, there was really a dispute between Kano and Lagos,” he said.
“Basically, that was why Lagos had to do its own census, so it’s something that we have to accept. Every state wants to be seen as having a high population because the population determines a lot of things, including the state allocation.”
But the NPC commissioner strongly disagreed with the notion of a census as a political exercise, arguing that it is an economic activity embarked on to aid the development of any country.
“[A] census is an economic activity, so we must all embrace it if we want to grow in our country; if we want development for our nation. Obviously, it affects every spectrum of our lives,” she said.
According to Salu-Hundeyi, in the case of Lagos, the state government went to court because it believed it had the higher population.
“It’s on record that Lagos won on each aspect that it went to court. Unfortunately, and I repeat as a member of the commission, with due respect to our laws, the law regarding census taken in Nigeria does not make room for a recount,” she said.
“It’s not like elections where they say, ‘This election has not been properly carried out,’ and then you can go back and have a re-election.
“In census affairs, we’re not allowed to have a statistical recount. If we were allowed, Lagos having been adjudged – the case having been won in its favour – there should have been a recount. But there is no recount.”