Hope Uzodimma, Governor of Imo State, Wednesday, stressed the need for Imolites to make themselves available to be counted in the 2023 census exercise.
Speaking at the flag off of a stakeholders summit on the 2023 Population and Housing Census in Owerri, the Governor frowned at how citizens see census as “a mere collection of data and the number of human beings and sometimes houses,” emphasising that “National Census includes the collection of demographic, social and economic data which the government uses to formulate economic policies.”
He appealed to the National Population Commission to ensure that the integrity and proficiency of the technology to be deployed for the exercise is accurate and reliable, saying he is pleased with the NPC and considered the summit “germane to the realization of our future plans as a government and as a people.”
He noted: “The data generated serve as a useful guide in the distribution of social amenities and infrastructural projects. In other words, population census is at the heart of the planning for the future by government based on the figure obtained during the census exercise.”
“A properly conducted population census, therefore, saves the government from planning blindly.”
“The importance of National Census cannot be over emphasized because it helps in planning for the health, demography, social welfare, infrastructure and general sustainability of the society, it serves as a road map towards the orderly planning and implementation of government policies and programmes.”
He explained that statistics got from population census helps to formulate sartorial polices for good governance and expressed delight that the current administration led by President Muhammudu Buhari has resolved to hold the National Population Census in April next year, notwithstanding the capital outlay and human resources involved.
Governor Uzodimma then urged the people to be more prepared for the exercise appealing to them to be proactive and ready to participate actively in the exercise.
He regretted the facts that “in the previous exercises our people were either nonchalant or indifferent and therefore refuse to participate in the exercise based on ignorance.”
“For us to come out from complaints of marginalization, low revenue income, and social amenities we must participate effectively in the upcoming population census.”
“The outcome of any census is bound to impact on us positively or negatively. This is because the Federal government uses the figures derived from census for revenue allocation, and allocation of social infrastructure needed for the welfare of the people.”
He continued “When we fail to participate fully in a census exercise the consequence is that we are under-counted. And when we are under-counted we are short changed in the distribution of national resources. It is therefore our civic responsibility as stakeholders to carry the message down to our people in the rural areas and encourage them to participate fully in the national population census exercise”
“A reliable census figure will guide the government in policy making and economic planning. When we know the exact number of youths in the State and what percentage of them are unemployed it will help the government in designing more effective youth empowerment programmes.” he explained.