NPC Postpones 2023 Census Due to Election Delay, Embraces Digital Technology for Accuracy and Reliability
The National Population Commission (NPC) has announced the postponement of the 2023 population census due to the shift in the general elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Dr Tony Aiyejina, the Federal Commissioner representing Edo State, emphasized that the decision to delay the census was influenced by the need to uphold the principle of simultaneity and ensure accuracy. The introduction of Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) devices aims to eliminate past controversies and human errors, making the forthcoming census reliable, auditable, and technologically advanced.
The National Population Commission (NPC) has made the decision to postpone the eagerly anticipated 2023 population census due to the recent shift in the general elections, as announced by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The postponement was discussed by Dr Tony Aiyejina, the Federal Commissioner representing Edo State, during an interactive media chat organized by the Commission in Benin.
Dr Aiyejina highlighted the influence of the rainy season on the rescheduling of the census, citing the importance of maintaining the principle of simultaneity, which guides census exercises worldwide. The NPC had initially shifted the census date to May; however, the arrival of the rainy season posed challenges that rendered the exercise unfeasible at the time.
One key objective of the upcoming census is to ensure accuracy and eliminate the controversies that have plagued past censuses. Dr Aiyejina emphasized that former President Muhammadu Buhari did not attempt to exert undue influence on the commission, contributing to a more independent and unbiased process. The NPC has embraced digital technology by introducing Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) devices that are meticulously configured and trackable, enabling effective monitoring of fieldwork. This technological innovation aims to guarantee the census’s accuracy, reliability, and audibility while minimizing the occurrence of human errors that have marred previous exercises.
Addressing speculations circulating in the public domain, Dr Aiyejina refuted claims that the NPC had already expended N800 billion before the postponement. He clarified that the commission had actually spent N200 billion out of the budgeted amount, showcasing responsible financial management.
Underlining the significance of the census, Dr Aiyejina emphasized that its purpose lies in future planning rather than serving the current government. He stressed that providing accurate census figures is crucial for the government to plan effectively and make informed decisions, ultimately propelling Nigeria towards development and progress comparable to that of developed nations.
Despite the postponement, Dr Aiyejina assured the public that all sensitive materials for the census are securely warehoused at the Benin branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria, while other materials have been distributed to the 18 local government areas of the state. The District Police Officers have been entrusted with safeguarding these materials until the census can proceed.
Dr Aiyejina urged the residents of Edo State to remain available when the Commission is ready to conduct the census. Stressing the importance of active participation, he emphasized that while apathy may be excusable in elections, it cannot be accommodated in a census. He advised residents against migrating to their hometowns during the exercise, highlighting the need to be counted wherever they currently reside.
The NPC’s decision to postpone the 2023 population census was primarily driven by the shift in the general elections, as stated by Dr Tony Aiyejina, the Federal Commissioner representing Edo State. The adoption of Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) devices and the commitment to accuracy, reliability, and audibility mark a significant departure from past controversies and human errors. As the NPC strives to provide Nigeria with the most accurate census to date, the use of advanced technology and adherence to international standards remain at the forefront of their efforts.
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