Census shift: Analyst insists gray areas must be addressed before headcount

…says the postponement addresses only one out of the six identified problem touch points of the census

A political analyst, Christian Chima has commended federal government over its decision to postpone the proposed Population and Housing Census.

Chima said described the action as momentary respite, but noted that the postponement addressed only one out of the six identified problem of the exercise.

The analyst, in a statement on Saturday, maintained that stakeholders must work with the next session of the National Assembly to strengthen the laws governing the census ecosystem.

He said, “I receive, with a momentary respite, the news of the postponement of the proposed Population and Housing Census. Those who find the need to jubilate that the new date of the exercise will be determined by the next administration should by all means do so.

“However, the postponement addresses only one out of the six identified problem touch points of the census. 

“We still have to insist that NPC’s systems and processes be subjected to a series of independent multi-stakeholder audits and integrity tests. The human capacity questions around the NPC must be satisfactorily addressed before we can hope for a credible exercise.

“We must work with the next session of the National Assembly to strengthen the laws governing the census ecosystem. Issues around people who have been confined to IDP camps whereas their homes and farmlands have been occupied by invaders who are now angling to be counted and officially documented in a land they acquired by conquest has to be addressed. We must empanel ideas around data integrity and data verification.

“So it is not a win, yet. We will only celebrate for a few minutes, and then roll up our sleeves to continue the hard work of getting a credible census. There will be several layers of engagements. Because of the kind of work we do, we may not advertise our work on the surface because such publicity could compromise the ultimate goal. The media advocacy efforts people see on the surface is only a tiny fraction of the hard work we put in on a consistent basis.

“For instance, we are have to review the laws governing the exercise in a bid to make concrete ammendment suggestions to the National Assembly. NPC’s operational guidelines will also have to be dutifully reviewed to identify the weaknesses and propose updates where required. The internal lobby and pressure arm of the effort to mobilise broad stakeholder consensus will have to be intensified.

“We are also designing proposed modalities for the field tests, scenario tests, audits and integrity tests of NPC’s systems we have been calling for. We also have to document the grievances of IDPs scattered all over Nigeria and the Cameroons who stand a grave risk of being permanently erased by the upcoming census.

“Only God who sees the hearts on men will know how much work that was put in to achieve the limited success of today’s announcement. We have pushed on with personesonall resources and a handful of indindividualidul donations. We are now in dire need of resources to carry on with this painful birthing of Africa’s morning. Please get in touch via: wa.me/+2348105104800 to see how you could be of help.

“If we fail not, it will only be a matter of time before Africa’s morning breaks out. May God grant us the grace. Africa’s morning will come.”

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