Posted by Vanguard on
LAST March when the National Population Commission, NPC, conducted the National Population and Housing Census many Nigerians routinely greeted each other thus: “Have you been counted?”
LAST March when the National Population Commission, NPC, conducted the National Population and Housing Census many Nigerians routinely greeted each other thus: “Have you been counted?” A Census Post Enumeration Survey, PES, commenced yesterday and would end Friday. The PES is meant to give some credibility to the census.
It would hold in 35,000 randomly selected houses in 774 local government areas in the country. Like the initial head count, the desired result may not be achieved. The PES is to evaluate coverage and content errors in the main enumeration. It is adopted to determine level of accuracy of previous census coverage and to collect additional data with a view to identifying procedural and conceptual errors of the earlier exercise.
Lofty as these aims are, the publicity is low. Nigerians are not aware of which areas are affected in the random selection of households and the local government areas they are in. The Alhaji Samaila Danko Makama led NPC before the last census, conducted trial census in randomly picked locations in states across the country. During the census proper, there was no sign that a mock census was conducted as avoidable problems that the pre-census exercise could have exposed were the highlights of the census.
Over N17 billion was spent on the census. Another N1 billion has been earmarked for the on-going PES. The European Union, EU, which co-sponsored the census has provided N745 million while the Federal Government paid N255 million.
So far, the PES has manifested the same foretold failure of the census.
Nigerians are not aware of this exercise as public awareness campaign for it is very low. It is even doubtful whether people in the areas randomly selected for the exercise are aware for them to make themselves available for the exercise. Who then would be the target of the 6,500 supervisors, 17,040 enumeration teams and 28,500 facilitators and enumerators employed for the exercise? How does the NPC expect to make a success of PES when the people do not know who would be counted? If the awareness is so low in the cities, what would be the fate of the villages?
Nigerians are worried about the performance of government agencies like the NPC. The attendant waste of public funds in this census may not produce figures that would be useful for all the demographic values that a census should add to the ability of the government to plan for the welfare of the people.
If people do not ask, “Have you been counted?”, this time, it could only be because they did not know the head count had not been concluded.