THE National Population Commission (NPC) has faulted comments made by Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, calling for the removal of the NPC Chairman, Eze Festus Odimegwu, over his criticism and credibility of the 2006 census.
In a statement signed by Chairperson of NPC, Public Affairs Committee and Federal Commissioner representing Ogun State, Oluseyi Aderinokun-Olusanya, the Commission said “the governor’s call for the sack of NPC chairman was diversionary, ill-advised and a reckless attempt to politicise the yet-to-be conducted 2016 census.”
Aderinokun-Olusanya reiterated that the governor failed to address the substance of the issues raised by the NPC chairman, but rather, chose to trivialise a serious national discourse.
According to her, though the chairman had raised some issues on the credibility of previous censuses, the comment was not to disparage the contributions of those who conducted these censuses, but rather, to underscore the determination of the current Commission to give Nigeria accurate and reliable census figures.
Earlier, while on a visit to President Goodluck Jonathan during the week, Kwankwaso told journalists that Odimegwu “had consumed too much of his product (beer) to be capable of conducting the census.”
The NPC committee chairperson said that “While it may be understandable that Governor Kwankwaso feels threatened because Kano State had the highest population figures in 2006 census, however, Odimegwu’s comment on the inaccuracies in past censuses was not in reference to the population of Kano or any part of the country”.
“He has consistently maintained that the falsification of figures during the 2006 census took place in every part of the country,” she added.
She said that the current Commission’s administration is conscious of the significance of population data as an indispensable tool for national planning and is determined to separate census takings from politics and shield its processes and outcomes from political manipulations.
The Commission’s chairperson expressed concern that “It is curious that Kwankwaso had suddenly realised that the appointment of Eze Festus Odimegwu as chairman of NPC was a ‘mistake’ when in a personally signed letter dated June 28, 2013, the governor had solicited the technical assistance of the Odimegwu-led Commission for the Kano State house-numbering and street-naming and provision of identity card project.
“How come this due recognition of NPC technical competence suddenly turned into a call for the removal of its chairman?”