By Chinwe Imo-Eze Onwosi
Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi has called on all citizens in the state to avail themselves to be captured in the forthcoming 2023 National census.
Umahi while inaugurating a 19-man state steering Committee on the forthcoming National population and housing census on Monday, in Abakaliki advised for the harmonisation of the rights of indigenes during the exercise to be observed.
Gov. Umahi who chairs the commitee and his Deputy, Kelechi Igwe, as Vice, hailed the Commission on the peaceful conduct of the enumeration area demarcation, and trial census expressing optimism that the commission is prepared to deliver a credible general census going by the outcome of its preliminary exercises.
“I urge all and sundry to join hands at ensuring that Ebonyi is well and totally captured. The task of delivering an acceptable census is a collective one.
“The Committee should put in their very best to achieve successful conduct. We will be doing a monthly evaluation of our progress toward the census.
“There should be proper harmonisation of the question of place of birth and indigenship rights in the forthcoming census in Nigeria. Southeast indigenes are scattered all over the country.
“At this time, we will need to evaluate the indices of the census; we will be asking these critical questions.
“Is there any law in the country which says where somebody is born, he should become an indigene of the place?
“There is no law that says if you are doing business in a state, and probably you’ve stayed 10 years in the place, that you cannot benefit from the privileges accorded to the so-called indigenes,” Umahi added.
Mr Darlington Okereke, Federal Commissioner of the NPC in Ebonyi, noted that the essence of the summit was to create awareness on the census and galvanize support and collaboration of all critical stakeholders for the success of the 2023 population and housing census.
“It provided an opportunity for us to engage Ebonyi people towards delivering a credible census next year,” he said.
Okereke further explained that the 2023 census would be fully digital, stressing that the commission remained resolute in conducting a census that would meet international best practices.
Dr Odicha Ude, Director of Work and Study Programme, Ebonyi State University, in a lecture titled “The Imperative of National Population and Housing Census”, emphasized that census data is at the centre of every planning.
Ude noted that a census for the country is long overdue as the data from the 2006 census, being about 17 years old, is no longer tenable.
“Further delays in conducting census would undermine political, social, economic and environmental landscape of the country,” Ude submitted.
The event was attended by members of the State Executive Council, the Legislature, the Media, Women and youth groups as well as candidates of political parties for the 2023 elections.