BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
Osun State Governor, Ademola Adeleke, on Monday, stated that the state government would prevent the state from being shortchanged in the forthcoming National Population and Housing Census in Nigeria.
This came as the state government inaugurated an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Population and Housing Census with a focus on ensuring that facts and figures about the state are correctly compiled during the exercise.
Governor Adeleke who was represented at the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee by the Secretary to the State Government, Teslim Igbalaye, assured the committee and NPC of the full commitment of the state government in ensuring a successful 2023 census and addressing any challenges that might affect the state in being shortchanged during the exercise.
The governor said, “I am delighted to be here today to perform the inauguration of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Population and Housing Census, put together by this administration in furtherance of efforts to ensure that facts and figures about Osun State are correctly compiled during the next National Population and Housing Census slated to hold from Wednesday, May 3 to Saturday, May 6, 2023.
“I wish to declare that the need to take this step by the government is underscored by the fact that there are clear indications that our dear state was under-represented in the figures published for the 1991 National Population Census. This was challenged at the Census Tribunal, and the needful was done eventually, but the repeat of that should not be allowed to happen in the forthcoming exercise.”
Outlining the responsibility of the committee, Igbalaye directed members of the committee to work out appropriate sensitization and mobilization strategies about the activities of the National Population and Housing Census exercise, organize advocacy and sensitization programmes for Local Government functionaries, the media and NGOs, on population and related issues.
He also urged the committee to regularly liaise with the National Population Commission in the state with a view to fashioning out strategies for an effective and acceptable population census.
He further gave assurances of the state government of providing enabling environment and necessary support to ensure that right machineries are put in place for a successful Population and Housing Census exercise in Osun State.
In his remarks, the Statistician General of the state and secretary of the committee, Yemi Ijidele, thanked the state government for the proactive approach taken in ensuring a successful census and housing population in the state.
He said the committee is a standing committee of the state government setup to address the myriad of challenges Osun state had suffered during the past census.
He laid emphasis on how Osun was shortchanged in the 1991 population census, which the state challenged, and got a favourable judgment from the census Tribunal at the time, but unfortunately, the judgment was never implemented.
“In 1991 during the population census, Osun was ranked 33rd in the federation, a situation which the state found inaccurate and challenged the processes leading to that, thankfully the Census Tribunal setup at the time ruled in favour of the state, but the judicial outcome was never implemented. However, during the last census held in 2006, Osun improved in the ranking to 18th position in the federation.
“So, this Inter-Ministerial Committee is being setup by the government to forestall occurrences of this nature by ensuring accurate data and figures of the state in collaboration with the National Population Commission are correctly compiled and recorded,” he submitted.
Members of the Inter-Ministerial Committee were drawn from different sensitive government ministries and agencies.
They included Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Ministry of Local government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Ministry of Information and Civic Orientation, Bureau of statistics, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Commerce and industry, Department of Politics and Security, Office of the Head of Service, Office of the Surveyor General, Office of the Accountant General of the state, National Population Commission (NPC), Ministry Justice, Ministry of Innovation, Science and Technology, Commissioner for Boundary Settlement under the office of Ministry of Justice, among others.