Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Nigerian Government Queries Odimegwu Over Census Figures

In its effort at conducting a credible census in the country, the
Nigerian government has questioned the statement credited to the
Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Chief Festus
The NPC chairman, who is a former managing director of the Nigerian
Breweries, had at a press briefing early this month cast aspersions on
the figures of the last headcount, which was conducted in Nigeria in
2006. He had also said that no credible election had taken place in
thecountry since the commencement of censuses in 1816.
In the 2006 headcount, Kano State was declared the most populous state
in the country.
According to him, "Nigeria has run on falsehood for too long. We must
stop this falsehood and put a stop to all of this. Because the 2006
census was not correct, the former board of NPC was unable to publish
the figures. If they try it, there will be uproar."
However, his comments had engendered brickbats from Nigerians
especially politicians from the northern part of the country such as
the Kano State Governor Rabiu Kwankwaso, who had described
Odimegwu'sappointment by the government as a mistake.
Kwankwaso had said that the NPC chairman, whose credentials throughout
his career could be likened to alcohol possession, was not qualified
to head such a sensitive post and called for his sack.
SaharaReporters learnt that Nigeria's Secretary to the Federal
Government, Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, on Tuesday issued a query to
Odimegwu to explain what he meant by his tirade about the 2006 census.
It was gathered that Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan had been
under intense pressure from politicians from the northern part of the
country over Odimegwu's comment, and ordered the query to be issued
SaharaReporters learnt that Odimegwu was invited to Anyim's office
Tuesday to receive the query.
Sources at the Presidency debunked rumours doing the rounds that the
NPC chairman had been suspended, but confirmed that a query might have
been issued to the NPC boss.
He said: "How could he be suspended for making a statement. That is
not sensible. It is true that the man has been issued a query to
explain his comments concerning the 2006 census. That is as far as the
issue is.
"Ordinarily nothing would have happened about his comments, but with
his position, he has to be conscious of what he says, being a public
Calls put through to Odimegwu's cell phone to confirm the story were
Census figures have always been contentious in Nigeria, as sections of
the country always feel cheated and complain of not been adequately
allocated its right figure.
Also, the number of local governments and population determine the
revenue from the federal allocation.

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