• Wed. Jul 17th, 2024

Tony Elumelu Calls For Credible Census


Mar 8, 2023

The Chairman, United Bank for Africa, Tony Elumelu, has challenged the National Population Commission to come up with a credible and acceptable census which would not lead to controversies.

Elumelu, who also chair Heir Holdings Group and Transnational Corporation Plc, told the NPC to leverage technology to reduce human errors and demonstrate transparency.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation founder stated this on Monday at a forum in Abuja, organised by the Federal Government to raise funds towards the successful conduct of the 2023 population census in the country.

At the event tagged, ‘High level Donour Engagement on Nigeria’s 2023 Housing and Population Census,’ Elumelu insisted that it “is important that the process is credible and above board.”

He said, “Nigeria must show that it is progressive, fair, equitable and development focused.

“It is important that the census outcome is credible, acceptable and does not lead to any controversies.

“I urge the National Population Commission to leverage technology as much as possible to reduce human errors and demonstrate transparency and credibility.”

Elumelu commended President Muhammadu Buhari, for organising the census.

He noted that Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa, with an estimated population of over 200 million people.

“The last time a census was conducted in Nigeria was 2006. In 2006 we recorded a population of 140 million people. Today, our population is estimated to be in excess of 200 million. It is projected that this figure will grow to 450 million by 2050, which could make Nigerian the third most populous country in the world.

“For me, this task is critical to our country’s future – if we do not know our population, we cannot properly plot our developmental path, our economic growth, our society’s goals.

“Credible demographic data is of profound importance for the public and private sector alike.  We all know we live in a data driven world.

“As a private sector leader with investments in key sectors of the Nigerian economy through the Heirs Holdings Group, Transcorp Group, United Bank for Africa Group, and with the work we do at the Tony Elumelu Foundation in empowering thousands of young entrepreneurs and building the entrepreneurial capacity on the continent, I understand first-hand, the value and importance of available, accessible and accurate data in making informed decisions, driving development, and creating opportunities.

“The upcoming census is a significant milestone in Nigeria’s development, as it provides an opportunity to collect accurate and reliable data on the country’s population and housing, which will serve as a vital tool for policymakers, private sector actors, and civil society organisations,” Elumelu added.

He pointed out that census would affect how resources in Nigeria were, as well as helped in many other important decisions.

Elumelu said presently, Nigeria’s population estimates and demographic profile “are unclear and projections debatable.”

He added, “Census figures and population distribution have unfortunately become politicized.  Population figures have ramifications for revenue allocation, office allotment, legislative power and even elections.  The stakes are therefore high for various interest groups – we need to act for our nation as a whole and the next generations. Nigeria needs a credible and extensive population enumeration exercise.

“The challenge facing the National Population Commission therefore is to conduct a census that meets the public’s acceptability criteria.”

The UBA Plc boss noted that conducting a census entailed enormous logistics that requires the collaboration of critical stakeholders.

“And they are all here in this room:  The private sector, the African development organisation, the public sector, the international development community.

“The government’s decision to collaborate with these critical stakeholders in the census is a positive step towards achieving a more comprehensive and accurate understanding of our nation’s demographics,” he added.

Elumelu said the Nigerian philanthropic organisations and private sector were ready to support and complement the efforts of the Nigerian government in the conduct of the 2023 census.

“We believe that by working together, we can achieve our shared goal of obtaining high-quality data that will inform evidence-based decision-making and positively impact our nation’s development,” he said.

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