To­wards suc­cess­ful 2017 pop­u­la­tion cen­sus

Daily Trust - - OPINION - By Fred Doc Nwao­zor

To­day, the global com­mu­nity is com­mem­o­rat­ing the World Pop­u­la­tion Day. The day is an an­nual event ob­served on July 11 ev­ery year, which seeks to raise aware­ness on global pop­u­la­tion is­sues. The event was solely es­tab­lished by the Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil of the United Na­tions Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme (UNDP) in the year 1989. The es­tab­lish­ment was in­spired by the pub­lic in­ter­est on July 11, 1987, which was the day the world’s pop­u­la­tion reached ap­prox­i­mately five bil­lion peo­ple.

Pop­u­la­tion can be de­fined as the to­tal num­ber of per­sons or an­i­mals of the same kind co­ex­ist­ing in a par­tic­u­lar place. It can also be re­ferred to as the sum­ma­tion of all the or­gan­isms of the same group or species that live in the same ge­o­graph­i­cal area, and have the ca­pa­bil­ity of in­ter­breed­ing. In most cases, it is the hu­man pop­u­la­tion that is mainly taken into con­sid­er­a­tion be­cause it is the only mode of pop­u­la­tion that de­ter­mines the Gross Do­mes­tic Prod­uct (GDP) as well as the net worth of a given so­ci­ety or coun­try.

The last time I checked, the rate at which the pop­u­la­tion of a cer­tain lo­cal­ity in­creases was at­trib­uted to two ma­jor fac­tors namely, birth rate and death rate. The birth rate of an ex­ist­ing so­ci­ety such as a prov­ince, na­tion or coun­try is an es­ti­ma­tion of the num­ber of kids that are be­ing re­pro­duced within a given pe­riod of time, while the death rate is the to­tal num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als that cease to ex­ist at a spe­cific in­ter­val. It’s note­wor­thy that ev­ery so­ci­ety or lo­cal­ity is nat­u­rally blessed with a cer­tain num­ber of peo­ple known as its pop­u­la­tion, which in­creases pe­ri­od­i­cally based on the afore­men­tioned fac­tors.

As Nige­ria joins the world over to com­mem­o­rate the World Pop­u­la­tion Day, there’s need for col­lec­tive sup­port to­wards at­tain­ing a suc­cess­ful pop­u­la­tion cen­sus in the coun­try come 2017. Based on the United Na­tions’ re­cent es­ti­ma­tion, Nige­ria is re­garded as the seven most pop­u­lous coun­try in the world with about 178, 517, 000 peo­ple as at July 1, 2014 which is equiv­a­lent to about 2.49% of the en­tire global pop­u­la­tion. How­ever, cur­rently like­wise many other na­tions, there’s no ex­act fig­ure of the coun­try’s pop­u­la­tion ow­ing to sev­eral chal­lenges or con­straints, and it’s per­ti­nent to ac­knowl­edge that such­like phe­nom­e­non neg­a­tively af­fects the work­force of any coun­try in­volved thereby dis­rupt­ing its so­cioe­co­nomic and po­lit­i­cal strength.

In view of this as­ser­tion, it’s im­per­a­tive for Nige­ria to take a se­vere mea­sure to­ward as­cer­tain­ing the ex­act num­ber of per­sons that hail from the coun­try as well as en­sure that the growth of such pop­u­la­tion is ad­e­quately con­trolled. So, as the na­tion awaits her next pop­u­la­tion cen­sus, come 2017, which is usu­ally ob­served at ev­ery ten years in­ter­val, the Na­tional Pop­u­la­tion Com­mis­sion (NPC) is ex­pected to leave no stone un­turned to­wards en­sur­ing that noth­ing but ab­so­lute suc­cess is recorded dur­ing the awaited ex­er­cise.

First; there’s a com­pelling need for rig­or­ous aware­ness cam­paign re­gard­ing the project. We must take into cog­nizance that not ev­ery cit­i­zen of the coun­try, like­wise other de­vel­op­ing na­tions, is priv­i­leged to lis­ten to the ra­dio, watch tele­vi­sion, read the news­pa­per/mag­a­zine, ac­cess the in­ter­net or the so­cial me­dia, or what have you. To this end, I im­plore the NPC to em­ploy all the needed av­enues with a view to en­sur­ing that no cit­i­zen of the coun­try is side­lined as re­gards in­for­ma­tion. Thus, col­lab­o­rat­ing with other rel­e­vant cor­po­rate bod­ies to in­clude the Na­tional Ori­en­ta­tion Agency (NOA), civil so­ci­ety groups, re­li­gious in­sti­tu­tions, and schools, among oth­ers, would be very help­ful.

Sec­ondly, con­trary to the De-facto method of enu­mer­a­tion that’s in­tended to be used by the NPC dur­ing the ex­er­cise, which is not un­usual com­pared to the pre­vi­ously con­ducted ones, I strongly in­sist that the De­jure method of enu­mer­a­tion would be more re­li­able and ac­cu­rate for the ex­er­cise. The lat­ter, if uti­lized, would unar­guably en­able the per­son­nel to ac­quire the clear pic­ture of ev­ery cit­i­zen of the coun­try thereby en­abling the com­mis­sion (NPC) to ar­rive at a holis­tic con­clu­sion.

The De-jure method, which in­volves house-count, would def­i­nitely en­sure that ev­ery mem­ber of a given home or fam­ily ir­re­spec­tive of where he/she re­sides or is based is duly counted dur­ing the cen­sus. Peo­ple shall be counted based on their re­spec­tive states of ori­gin; in other words, the houses to be at­tended to shall be those that are owned by only the in­di­genes of the af­fected state. This ap­proach would also en­able us to ac­quire the ex­act num­ber or statis­tics of per­sons that hail from each state of the fed­er­a­tion.

Dur­ing the cen­sus, the NPC of­fi­cials need to re­quest from those present at the houses vis­ited the doc­u­ments that in­di­cate the au­then­tic­ity of the mem­ber­ship or cit­i­zen­ship of the ab­sen­tees or those re­sid­ing abroad, as the case may be, such as birth cer­tifi­cate, LGA’s cer­tifi­cate of ori­gin and/or ev­i­dence of schools at­tended. The pro­posed method wouldn’t only be re­sult-ori­ented, but cost and labour ef­fec­tive.

We have been re­li­ably in­formed by the NPC that only its staff would be in­volved in the ex­er­cise; it’s a very won­der­ful and welcome idea. But the com­mis­sion is re­quired to use ev­ery means to de­ci­sively warn its per­son­nel or any con­cerned body to steer clear of any form of un­pa­tri­otic act in­clud­ing cheat­ing and in­do­lence while the con­cern­ment lasts.

On the other hand, it’s ob­vi­ous that the project in ques­tion is cap­i­tal in­ten­sive. Hence, the com­mis­sion in col­lab­o­ra­tion with other rel­e­vant agen­cies ought to set up a com­pe­tent, for­mi­da­ble and re­li­able ad­hoc com­mit­tee strictly for fund rais­ing and other re­lated mat­ters. Most im­por­tantly, there’s a com­pelling need for the NPC, among other con­cerned au­thor­i­ties, to ex­tend hand of fel­low­ship to the cognoscenti to­wards at­tain­ing a hitch-free and suc­cess­ful 2017 pop­u­la­tion cen­sus in Nige­ria. Think about it!

Comr Fred Doc Nwao­zor is a pub­lic af­fairs and civil rights ac­tivist and Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor, Centre for Coun­selling, Re­search and Ca­reer Devel­op­ment, Ow­erri fred­nwao­zor@gmail.com +2348028608056 Twit­ter: @ me­di­ambas­sador

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