MANAGING POLITICAL WILL AND PUBLIC OPINION IN CENSUS TAKING PRESENTED BY NIGERIA AT 3 RD AFRICA SYMPOSIUM ON STATISTICAL DEVELOPMENT ACCRA, GHANA 3-7 DECEMBER, 2007. INTRODUCTION.
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MANAGING POLITICAL WILL AND PUBLIC OPINION IN CENSUS TAKINGPRESENTED BY NIGERIA AT 3RD AFRICA SYMPOSIUM ON STATISTICAL DEVELOPMENT ACCRA, GHANA3-7 DECEMBER, 2007.
Census taking is very important for every country of the world as it is enumeration and taking the demographic data of all the people within a given geographical territory.
For a census and its figures to be considered successful, it must posses four major attributes; Accuracy, Reliability, Acceptability and level of Utilization.
The topic managing political will and public opinion in census taking is linked to acceptability of the census. How can we make census acceptable?
Basically, this pertains to advocacy especially in a society like ours where census is seen as an instrument of political supremacy.
Also, you can conduct an accurate census and it may not be acceptable, the reason being simply if the political class decides to play politics and politicize the census, they will not accept it even though you have done an accurate job and conducted an accurate process. This is because sometimes, when the results fall below the expectations of some certain people, they will reject it just because it does not meet their expectations.
In 1931, the procedure for the conduct of the census in the southern protectorate was different from that for the northern part of the country. There was no attempt to conduct a census in 1941 because of the second world war. The 1952/53 census was the first elaborate and scientific census conducted in Nigeria. It however lacked simultaneity and probably under enumerated the population of Nigeria.
Nigeria had her independence in 1960. The first post independence census was carried out in 1962. The results were cancelled and another attempt was made in 1963. The result was also contested at the supreme court which ruled that it lacked jurisdiction over the administrative functions of the federal government. The 1973 census results was also cancelled due to massive inaccuracies associated with earlier ones. There was no attempt of census in 1981.
In November 1991, Nigeria conducted a population census. The successful conduct of the 1991 population census clearly reversed the fate of census taking in Nigeria. It provided a rich set of socio-economic and demographic data improved national development planning.
The National Population Commission conducted a population and housing census in 2006 for the 2010 round of censuses.
For the 2006 census process, the National Population Commission secured political commitment of the government. The government at all levels demonstrated strong leadership along with political commitment and untiring support for the census taking.
The federal government supported census activities by contributing18.5 billion naira, the state government contributed about 520 million naira in cash and kind. Local government councils provided fueling and logistics. Other development partners like EU, UNFPA and others contributed 19.3 billion naira.
PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT /ADVOCACY : Commission secured political commitment of the government. The government at all levels demonstrated strong leadership along with political commitment and untiring support for the census taking.
To show this commitment further, the Public Enlightenment Campaign for the 2006 Population and Housing Census was launched by the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on the 20th April, 2004. He inaugurated the National Census Publicity Committee and directed that similar committees be inaugurated in all the states and LGAs. Media campaign was intensified in January 2006.
Like every labour census taking has its own fruits, the fruit of the collective labour on the 2006 census is the provisional result, which has been accepted by many. Like any other issue in Nigeria both negative and positive comments were made from stakeholders and the general public.
Some of the Positive comments were;
Some of the negative comments were;
The study was the first of its kind in Nigeria, other censuses never had the benefit of a CAAS type study. The study therefore, assisted the Commission to strengthen its publicity campaign machinery for the 2006 PHC.
The study was to;
The National Population Commission realized and realistically too, that Census taking depends for its success;