2023 National Census: We’re 100 per cent ready – NPC Commissioner

Partners NCWS, CLO on public awareness, mobilization *as stakeholders' summit holds Wednesday

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Arrangements have been concluded for the successful conduct of the 2023 population census, tagged “Transformational/Digital Census”.

The federal commissioner representating Akwa Ibom State at the National Population Commission, NPC, Chief Benedict Ukpong, FNSE, stated this Monday, during engagements with the National Council for Women Society, NCWS, and the Civil Liberty Organization, CLO, at the state headquarters of NPC, Uyo.

Benedict Ukpong who hosted the groups separately, saying the commission was hundred per cent ready for next year’s census, noted that they have concluded the enumeration area demarcation, EAD, trial census, and were ultimately prepared and efficiently equipped to successfully handle the exercise.

Thanking President Muhammadu Buhari for appointing a man of vision in the person of Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra as the national chairman of NPC, Chief Ukpong said the commission was working towards delivering on the most accurate and digital compliant census in April 2023.

His words, “Census is very important for the economic life of a country. It is not just about counting people. It is about counting the facilities that are available for the people: social, infrastructural and demographic. In addition to census, we do health and education surveys.

“We’ve done several trainings on ICT, procurement, public affairs, among others. The National Chairman, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra is a gender friendly person, who opened the doors to women.

“That’s why we’re gender-friendly commissioners. It would be a digital census. What is left is for everybody to come out to be counted at the right time, in compliant with our census slogan: “You count; be counted.”

The Federal Commissioner, Chief Benedict Ukpong paying attention to the visiting team on Monday.

Engr Ukpong who recalled how the national president of NCWS paid a similar courtesy visit on the NPC national chairman, thanked the Akwa Ibom chapter leaders of the group for also visiting his office.

“I am already part of the SCWS. Through your votes, Obonganwan Jeraldine Ita Ituk emerged as national president. We are grateful to the president of Nigeria, President Muhammadu Buhari for the political will to conduct national census after 16 years.

“We call on the women, youths and all citizens of the state to get ready for work. It is NPC that gives birth certificate and does birth, death registrations.

“That’s why we’re floating the stakeholders summit coming up on Wednesday. Your request for engagement as adhoc staff is noted. We shall give NCWS the link to apply for the jobs. UNICEF is looking for volunteers for birth registrations. We would as well assist NCWS and their people to take advantage of this opportunity”, he said.

Thanking President Muhammadu Buhari, the NPC national chairman, Nasir Isa Kwarra; Governor Udom Emmanuel and all stakeholders for supporting the progress of NPC, Benedict Ukpong said such partnerships underscored the importance of census to the growth of the country.

The Federal Commissioner, Chief Benedict Ukpong (middle), flanked left by the State Director of NPC, Mr Emmanuel Edem; and right by the State President of National Council for Women Society, NCWS, Hon. (Mrs) Geraldene Okoko together with other management staff of the Commission and executive members of NCWS.

Speaking earlier at the event, the State President, National Council for Women Society, NCWS, Hon. Geraldene Okoko, noted that the group was a nongovernmental and nonpolitical organization berthed in 1976 in the Old Cross River State, with the Akwa Ibom State branch coming up in 1998.

Saying the Society advocate for women, Geraldene Okoko, who observed that it was ridiculous to have a man serving as commissioner for women affairs, used the occasion to thank Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State for making the office exclusively for women.

Flanked by the Secretary, Elder (Mrs) Eno Ndem; Deaconess Sarah Efretuei, and other executive members, the President pointed out that the visit was to afford the Society, the opportunity to familiarize with the activities of the commission and pleaded that women, particularly members of the NCWS spread across the state, could be engaged for the forth coming national census.

In a related development, the NPC Federal Commissioner who also hosted the Akwa Ibom State Chapter of the Civil Society Organization, CLO, revealed that statistics have shown that Nigeria would be populated by about 400 million by 2050.

Benedict Ukpong reiterated that census was vital for economic planning: building of roads, water facilities, schools, health institutions, among others.

He announced that the commission, having been certain of having the national population cencus in April, 2023, was in need of partnership and sponsorship of radio and television programmes, newspaper columns, to sensitize members of the public on the importance of the census.

“We’ve done first and second pretest and we have found them satisfactory. We’ve done pre-census in 9 LGAs in Akwa Ibom State. We are better equipped to engage in the digital census”, he said.

The Federal Commissioner, Chief Benedict Ukpong (middle), flanked on the left by the State Director of the National Population Commission, Mr Emmanuel Edem; and on the right by the Chairman, Civil Liberty Organization, Akwa Ibom State, Otuekong Franklyn Isong; together with other management staff of NPC, Uyo, and CLO executives during the meeting on Monday, September 26.

The Commissioner used the occasion to officially invite the CLO and other sister agencies to the stakeholders’ summit ahead of the 2023 exercise, slated for Wednesday, September 28, at the Akpan Isemin Hall, Government House, Uyo.

Meanwhile, the state chairman of the Civil Liberty Organization, CLO, Otuekong Franklyn Isong, opined that census was vital, especially for the growth of the country and how the federal funds are being shared.

Stressing that CLO was offering partnership to sensitize stakeholders on the need to contribute their quota to the success of the census, Franklyn Isong stated that effective deployment of the traditional media, village heads, town criers, paramount rulers, was important for the circulation of the census message.

“CLO is a pro-democratic group. We fought for the democracy of this country. After achieving that, we have to remain as watchdogs to ensure that government does not fail and that it delivers on the mandate of the people.

“CLO is like a bridge between government and the people. Today’s activity would be published in our international magazine. CLO is an international human rights group.

“In the area of national census, we want to let the Akwa Ibom State Government know why they should be involved. The state should not be left behind. We’ve done this with national human rights commission; we’ve done this with EFCC; now we have to commence our advocacy for the NPC.

Giving vote of thanks in both sessions, the Akwa Ibom State Director of NPC, Mr Emmanuel Edem thanked both groups for their foresight and resolve to join hands with NPC to engage stakeholders who would collectively ensure the success of the census.

Other management staff of NPC at the meeting were the Head, Teachical & Cartography Department, Mrs Mercy Darnly; HoD, Vital Registration and Statistics, Mr Unyime Akpakpan; HoD Admin, Mr Friday Ekpo; HoD Census, Mr Charlie Samuel; the Accountant, Caroline Modupe, among others.

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