The Economist and Chief Executive Officer of CFG Advisory, Tilewa Adebajo stated that the issue of Census before an election year is very volatile.
Mr. Adebajo said this in an interview on CityTalks with Reuben Abati on City105.1 on Saturday.
The subject of Population Census has been a discourse since the last population and housing census in Nigeria took place in 2006.
When there was a clamour by some groups for Census to be conducted in 2018, the Speak of the 8th National Assembly, Hon Yakubu Dogara, stated categorically that Census close to an election year, would make some politicians hijack the process that would determine the outcome of the results, rather than the actual figures.
In a recent development, Mr. Adebajo argues that the Population Census process in Nigeria has been politized and a lot of people has lost confidence in the system.
According to him, “If you try to do a census now, everybody is going to scream bloody murder, because they will feel that you are going to use the census result to try to influence the elections next year.”
He said, “the National Population Commission will tell you that they are ready to conduct a census, but there is no political will to go ahead to conduct the census because some people feel that it might not favour them.
With references from the amount of mobile telephone penetration, voter register, and National Identity Management system, mentioned by Mr. Adebanjo to give an overview of Nigeria population estimate; he said, “the amount of mobile telephone penetration could give an idea of what the population in Nigeria looks like.
“The National Identity Management System, again a lot of people do not have confidence in that system.
“The voter register; but over the last 15 years you will see a situation whereby the vote register has shifted from the large population from the Southwest to the North, which is currently the largest within the last 10 years.
“People are concerned about how this has been manipulated and if you don’t know your population, you can’t plan all the social infrastructure that a teaming population requires, you need to know the numbers so that you understand your demography, so that you can plan properly.
When fielded with questions concerning the launch by the President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday, 3rd February, 2022, on the Revised National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development, stressing the need for urgent measures to address Nigeria’s high fertility rate, through expanding access to modern contraceptive methods across the country and the National Council on Population Management inaugurated by President Buhari, chaired by Mr. President, and the Vice President as the deputy chairman with Heads of relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies as members.
Mr. Adebajo replied: “The Nigeria population has become a liability.
“They have recognized those issues, they have brought it up, so it’s now a situation where we talk about policy flip-flops, and consistency in government.
“It is important that we do not only set up these policies, but it’s important that we are consistent with the policies. If we need to enact a legislation to back those policies let’s do but we can borrow some from the Chinese model and the Indian model.
“It’s not only important that we plan, but it is also important that we move ourselves from western conspiracies on Population control,” he said.
Mr. Adebajo further speaking, said that “The first step to put in place population control, we need to put in place a credible census for Nigeria.
“The strategy for one part of the country is different from another part of the country.
“You cannot manage what you cannot measure.”
Feedback during the interview via WhatsApp by Abdul Kayode from Ajangbadi in Lagos, he said, “a country without database of its citizens, should not bother to consider population control measures.
“For God’s sake, we don’t have a record of the numbers of people going and coming into the country through our land borders. How do you preach to a Hausa man who has four wives, not to produce kids?