By Our Reporter
The Commissioner representing Cross River State on the Board of the National Population Commission (NPC), Navy Captain Charles Ogwa (rtd), has called on the State government to fully identify with the Commission as it strives to conduct credible and acceptable population and housing census in 2023.
Navy Captain Ogwa made the appeal in Calabar, Monday, during the State Stakeholders Summit which had traditional rulers, local government council Chairmen, corporate and professional organisations and experts in attendance.
The Commissioner, who explained that the summit was organised “to broaden State level support base for the successful 2023 census,” said, “I call on the Cross River governor and the State government in general to take over the ownership of the population and housing census in 2023.
“At the national level, the President and his government has owned up the census and have been giving massive support to the Commission. International partners have also taken ownership because census is a business with serious implications to economic and infratrstuctural development.
“In Cross River state, the government seems to be shying away. Support is not only about funding, support could be just coming around during our activities so as to boost the morale of the people. For instance, if the Governor was here in this summit,this event venue would have been filled to the brim.”
Ogwa further explained that the summit was to “create public awareness on the conduct of the 2023 census including its imperatives, methodology and timeliness.
“It is also to promote robust and informed conversation on the processes and procedures for the 2023 census; solicit the cooperation and support of key stakeholders, and to convince citizens to submit themselves for enumeration purposes.”
While submitting that the 2023 census would be the first digitalized headcount in the country, the Commissioner urged participants to offer “suggestions on salient issues and considerations related to the conduct of the 2023 population and housing census.”
He restated the resolve of the Commission to ensure the 2023 census is credible and acceptable since “demographic data is the mother of all datas as government uses it for decision making and planning for sustainable development.”
The retired Navy Captain therefore appealed to Cross Riverian to cooperate with NPC staff during the census proper since it is only through it that government would ascertain the actual population of the country, adding that President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to make the 2023 a legacy since it promises to be credible and acceptable by not only Nigerians themselves but by the international community