The Governor of Oyo State, ‘Seyi Makinde, has appealed to the state populace to cooperate with the enumeration officials of the National Population Commission (NPC) during the upcoming 2023 population and housing census, in order to give the state what it deserves.
The governor, who was represented by his deputy, Bayo Lawal, made the appeal on Wednesday at a St.akeholders Summit on 2023 Population and Housing Census which was held at the House of Chiefs, Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan.
The summit had as its theme: “Getting The People Involved In The 2023 Census.”
Stakeholders who attended the summit included traditional rulers, religious leaders, state Commissioners and local government chairmen from across the state.
Among the traditional rulers were the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Lekan Balogun; the Okere of Saki, Oba Khalid Olabisi and the Olugbon of Oriole Igbon, Oba Francis Alao.
Also present were the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Hon. Debo Ogundoyin, who was represented by the Clerk of the House, Mrs Yetunde Awe; and the senator representing Oyo South Senatorial District, Senator Kola Balogun, among others.
The governor spoke on the importance of population census, saying that it would help in knowing how many people are in the state, in each local government and in Nigeria as a whole.
He recalled the 1973 population census which was debated as it didn’t reflect the true situation of the country.
He stated further that there were projections every year until 1991 census which he described as more terrible than the 1973 census.
The governor said: “I want to state that the population commission is cheating Oyo State, and that is why I am saying this here so that the National Population Commission (NPC) officials in the state can take it to Abuja.
“For a long time, Ibadan has been the largest city in West Africa; it was equal to states like Kano and Rivers. Don’t forget that Jigawa State was later created from Kano. So, how can we now say that all the states that are smaller than Ibadan, now have populations more than Oyo State as a whole?
“Therefore, the census programme is so important for indigenes and residents of Ibadan.
“This is what is used in sharing revenue between the Federal Government and the states.”
Makinde also enjoined local government chairmen to give the NPC officials the support they would need for their work to be easier so that they would record the true population of the state.
He stated further that the state government was ready to support NPC.
“In fact, any government agency in any state is already for that state, and that is why the state government keeps procuring equipment for security agencies in the state.
“So, we are ready to support the NPC, but the commission must also record our true population for us.
“The truth is that Oyo State should have about 10 million population at the minimum, so we are begging the NPC to give us a true reflection of our population,” the governor said.
He admonished residents in the state to allow NPC officials into their homes for counting, saying that it would be for the overall benefit of the state.
In his own address, the NPC Federal Commissioner in Oyo State, Dr Eyitayo Oyetunji, appealed to the state government to establish an all-inclusive committee to collaborate with NPC in strategising and working together to achieve a common and lofty goal.
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Recalling the Stakeholders Summit convened by the NPC in August in Abuja and declared open by President Muhammadu Buhari, Dr Oyetunji said that the objective was to broaden the national support base for the successful conduct of the census exercise.
He stated further the general goal of the summit convened in the state was targeted at creating public awareness on the conduct of the 2023 census, promoting robust and informed conversation on the processes and procedures for it, soliciting cooperation and support of state-level stakeholders for the conduct of the census and providing a platform for clarification, feedback and suggestions on the salient issues and concerns in relation with the conduct of the population and housing census.
Dr Oyetunji emphasised the need to engage all stakeholders at every stage of the census process, adding that it became imperative in view of the digital methodology which had resulted in the deployment of the latest relevant technology by the NPC for the census.
He also said that a good census would be dependent on its acceptability, as it would be thrown in the garbage if it is otherwise.
The Federal Commissioner disclosed that already, 99.8 per cent of the enumeration area demarcation exercise had been completed nationwide while that of the pacesetter state was over 99.9 per cent completion.
He implored all stakeholders to get involved and ensure they are counted.