Lagos State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, has appealed to Lagosians to participate fully in the 2023 Population and Housing Census by cooperating with the National Population Commission (NPC) officials and Committees set up by the State Government in the series of activities lined up towards the exercise.
He said the exercise is extremely important because the census will provide the vital data and statistics in many areas that will enable the Government to plan better and deliver more effective infrastructure and social services to the people of Lagos State.
Sanwo-Olu made the appeal at the stakeholders summit on the 2023 Population and Housing Census held on Tuesday at the Adeyemi Bero Auditorium, at the Secretariat, Alausa Ikeja.
The Governor, who was decorated as the 2023 Population and Housing Census Patron by the National Population Commission, promised full support and commitment of the Lagos State Government towards a successful census exercise.
He said: “We cannot emphasise enough the critical role a credible National Census plays in achieving effective and result-oriented planning. This exercise is extremely important because apart from the population figure, the Census will also provide us with vital data and statistics in many other areas that will enable us to plan better and deliver more effective infrastructure and social services to the people of Lagos State.
“As we are all aware, the last Nigerian census was conducted in 2006. The result of that exercise indicated that the population of Lagos State was 9,013,534, which was then reviewed upward to 12,772,884 in 2019, making our population the second largest in Nigeria, after Kano State.
“Although Lagos State has always contested these figures – we have always been clear that they do not reflect the actual population of the State – it has remained the official population figure upon which national planning decisions and some resource allocation decisions are based. Now we have in front of us another opportunity to get it right, perhaps for the first time in our history. Many of you will be familiar with the controversies and tensions that have accompanied all previous Census exercises. We cannot afford to have these disturbing outcomes happen again in 2023.
“Thankfully, we can now count on new technologies that make enumeration easier and more credible. In that vein, it is heartwarming to note that the planned 2023 Population and Housing Census, slated for April 2023, will be a digital census, taking advantage of digital tools and technology. This is unprecedented in our history, and another sign of how technology is transforming every aspect of our lives, including the conduct of our elections.
“Knowing exactly how many we are in Nigeria, and in each State, is a basic foundation that must be in place for our economic growth and prosperity. We are all familiar with the saying that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. We cannot plan adequately for the future, without possessing accurate data that shows us today’s patterns and tomorrow’s trends.”
Sanwo-Olu who launched the 2023 Census Implementation and Strategy Plan during the stakeholders’ meeting, announced the setting up of five additional Committees in line with the National Population Commission’s strategy and vision in addition to the Technical Committee he set up last year.
The new Committees are; Census Advisory Committee, Census Logistics Committee, Census Publicity and Advocacy Committee, Census Security Committee and Census Monitoring Group.
The Governor also commended President Muhammadu Buhari for hosting the National Stakeholders Summit on the 2023 National Population and Housing Census, in August 2021, which set the stage for the Stakeholders Summits being organised at the subnational level.
“The President’s commitment to successful Census exercise has never been in doubt, and, here in Lagos State, we are inspired to match this commitment,” he said.
Governor Sanwo-Olu commended the participants at the Stakeholders Summit, saying “their attendance is a clear reflection of the importance of this exercise, and the collective commitment to ensure that the desired objective is achieved, especially in Lagos State.”
He said: “It is important that we deploy various means to ensure widespread sensitisation and enlightenment of all our people, in readiness for the commencement of this exercise. We must get the word out, in various local languages and media formats, and let people know why it is important for us to have an accurate population count, down to every locality in the country. We have a responsibility to get it right this time, for ourselves and for future generations.”
Speaking earlier, the Chairman of the National Population Commission, Hon. Nasir Isah Kwarra, urged Lagos residents to stay in the State during the exercise for them to be counted so that data generated from the Census would be used for planning toward the growth and development of the State and the citizens.
The Chairman of the Lagos State Council of Traditional Rulers and Oba of Lagos, His Royal Majesty, Oba Rilwan Akiolu, who was represented by the Oniru of Iruland, His Royal Majesty, Oba Omogbolahan Lawal, said data will help the government to plan and therefore urged all Lagos residents to participate in the 2023 Census by ensuring that they stay and be counted in Lagos during the exercise.
He also urged the National Population Commission to share data with the subnational governments for adequate planning.