By Oladosu Oluwagbenga
The upcoming demographic and housing census in 2023, according to President Muhammadu Buhari, would provide greater structure for the government’s fight against poverty and insecurity.
He was bemoaning the lack of current data since the 2006 census, which he claimed had hampered the nation’s planning.
In his keynote address at the National Stakeholders’ Summit on the 2023 Census, held at the State House Conference Center in Abuja, the President made this statement, which was signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina. The statement was titled, “How we can have more accuracy in the 2023 census – President Buhari.”
He said, “The country’s inability to conduct a population census in the last 16 years has created an information vacuum as the data from the last census conducted in 2006 has been rendered out of date for planning purposes.
“It has therefore become imperative for the nation to conduct another national census to produce a new set of demographic and socio-economic data that will provide the basis for national planning and sustainable development.
“A nation’s efforts to achieve sustainable development must take into account population. Both the agents and the recipients of progress are people. For planning reasons, knowledge of the size, distribution, and socioeconomic characteristics of the national population is necessary.
Nigeria, according to Buhari, is the most populous nation on the African continent and the sixth most populous nation in the world, with a projected population of 216,783,381.
Nigeria is expected to surpass China and India as the third most populous nation in the world by the year 2050 as a result of its population’s rapid growth and high proportion of young people.
The President also bemoaned the fact that, despite Nigeria’s prominent placement on the demographic map of the world, her population censuses have been carried out erratically and at periods that have exceeded the United Nations’ suggested 10 years.
He declared, “This irregular and protracted period of Nigerian census gathering has denied the country the enormous benefits of full baseline data for evidence-based decision-making.
“Since taking office in 2015, our administration has launched a number of youth empowerment and poverty reduction initiatives that are demonstrably raising the living standards of our people.
Buhari went on to say that the country needs new data to help implement other government initiatives as well as the recently unveiled amended National Policy on Population for Sustainable Development.
He claimed that information from the 2023 Census, which would provide a broad picture of the people, where we are, and who we are, is also necessary to address the security issues plaguing the nation.
In order to ensure the successful conduct of the 2023 Census, the President appealed for support from all relevant parties, including state governments, local government councils, traditional and religious institutions, civil society organizations, the private sector, media, development partners, donor agencies, and the general public.
Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, who was speaking in place of Dr. Habiba Lawal, Special Adviser to the President on Policy and Coordination, confirmed Buhari’s earlier statements, predicting that Nigeria would likely rank third in terms of population in the world by 2050 with a population growth rate of 2.3%.
The 2023 Census, according to her, will be the first to thoroughly capture population and housing, and the results would be helpful for planning and budgetary allocations.
After the general elections in April, the NPC Chairman Nasir Kwarra praised the President for approving the 2023 Census and vowed that the commission will work hard to make it “credible and acceptable.”