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Diaspora Group Seeks Support, Active Participation In 2023 Census


Diaspora Group Seeks Support, Active Participation In 2023 Census.

By Abdullahi Ahmad Bamalli

The UK-based Nigerian Diaspora Experts Forum endorses Nigeria’s national population and housing census scheduled for May 2023 and encourages Nigerians to actively participate.

The group explains how the census will help future governments to plan and accelerate the development of the country.

Mr. Patrick Ejeh, the leader of the Nigerian Diaspora Professionals in a statement issued at the end of its quarterly meeting, said the group convened the meeting with the sole agenda of carrying out a peer review on the preparations for the exercise.

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He noted that the census is important for the development of all countries, both developed and under-developed.

Ejeh said that Nigeria is a country with many development problems, including poverty, illiteracy and unemployment, so a credible census is needed to properly address some of these problems.

”census data is very important in various areas such as investment planning, creation of electoral wards and constituencies, establishment of schools and healthcare facilities and other amenities. The Nigerian National Population and Housing Census which integrates the housing component will offer more data on livelihoods, energy consumption, housing quality and climate change adoration and resilience.

“The benefits to be derived from this Census are enormous. Everything must be done to ensure this year’s Census, which is already long overdue, takes place as planned.

“While priority is often placed on the electoral process in many developing and even developed countries, it is important to note that without data for adequate planning, no meaningful and sustainable development can take place in any country,” he stated.

Recall that, many well-meaning Nigerians had earlier questioned the rationale for holding the 2023 general elections and a census within the same period of time and called for its postponement in favour of the elections.

“However, it is our belief that carrying out a Census at this point is more important as it’ll give the incoming and successive administrations more accurate data needed to plan for the development of Nigeria. Without adequate and credible data, development becomes invisible .

“This is not good for any country in the 21st century where countries all over the world are going digital and depending on data for their long-term development strategies,” he added.

Ejeh said as members of the Nigerians in diaspora felt strongly connected to their country of birth as evidenced in the flow of remittances and other investments.

“Our contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria and economy of the country remains our little way of saying we believe in the ability of Nigeria as a powerful and vibrant nation. This year’s National Population and Housing Census is therefore very important to us and all foreign investors as it’ll provide data that’ll guide our investment decisions and areas of social intervention and collaboration.

“We equally urge the Nigerian diaspora community beyond the UK to see the forthcoming Census as an important exercise and consider using their platforms to advocate and create awareness overseas. The Nigerian diaspora can also participate in the Census exercise volunteering funds and other professional services that’ll enhance awareness and advocacy towards the Census exercise generally. With our vast experiences and a pool of professionals in different fields including ICT and data sciences, we believe that if given the opportunity to partner with the National Population Commission we’ll make a significant impact in the outcome of the Census exercise.

“So far, we commend the work of the Nigerian National Population Commission for the quality of work done towards an effective census exercise. We are impressed with the transparent leadership of the Commission which has made it possible for Nigerians to be updated on every development as it regards the Census. The Commission has also been accountable with the funds made available to it for the conduct of the Census. The Commission has so far carried out extensive and wide consultation with all stakeholders as required to ensure that Nigerians are carried along. We therefore pass a vote of confidence on the Commission under the leadership of Alhaji Isa Nasir Kwarra for upholding due process and diligence in line with Mr. President’s vision for a credible and internationally acceptable census,” he said.

The Forum further commended President Muhammadu Buhari for not yielding to the call to shift and postpone the all-important exercise to the next administration.

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