By Ishaq Dan-Imam, Lokoja
Kogi State Census Publicity Committee on Saturday paid an advocacy visit to Attah Igala, and the Chairman of the Kogi State Council of Chiefs in furtherance of the zonal advocacy visits to traditional rulers across the state.
The State Director of the National Population Commission (NPC), Mr. Ojo Titus Abiodun, led members of the state census publicity committee to the palace of the paramount ruler of Igala Kingdom, Chief Matthew Alaji Opaluwa, (Oguche Akpa) where the state Director briefed the Igala traditional Chiefs about the activities of the Commission towards the forthcoming population and housing census, and the complementary role of the traditional institution, aimed at a hitch-free and acceptable census figure for Nigeria.
Mr. Abiodun, said preparations for the 2023 census had been in progress, adding that in spite of the recent postponement by Nigeria’s federal government, Census 2023 is still on course as sensitive and non-sensitive census materials for the state have been received while adequate logistics have been mobilized for the smooth conduct of the exercise, with the enumeration area demarcation as well as training of ad-hoc census field workers successfully completed in readiness for the awaited census.
The NPC State Director hinted that the postponement was informed by the need to give an opportunity to the in-coming administration to make decisions on the census process, with a view to making it outcome highly acceptable to the new administration that will adopt the Nation’s census outcome for planning and development purposes.
Abiodun said considering the splurge of huge government spending on the project, no administration could ever abandon the project, with its huge development benefits to government and citizens, and called on the traditional rulers to enlighten their subjects on the importance of census without any emotional attachment.
Attah Igala, Chief Alaji Opaluwa said the traditional rulers in his domain are being mobilized to correct the misconceptions about census as some of the subjects believe census is about taxation.
He disillusioned the erroneous beliefs about census among people of rural communities, giving assurance of the Igala traditional Council to step up sensitization about the importance of the census, as he promised the readiness of traditional rulers in the area to provide accommodation, feeding and guide to census field workers to be posted to his domain in the course of the exercise.
As part of the royal hospitality of the Igala Kingdom, the members of the state census publicity committee were fed to satiety as the National Population Commission and its officials received royal blessings for their commitment to national service.
A simultaneous advocacy visit on the Ohinoyi of Ebira land, Alhaji Ado Ibrahim, and the Obaro of Kabba, Oba Owoniyi Oladele Solomon, was led by Kogi State Federal Commissioner of NPC, Professor Isah Habibat Jimoh, represented by Mrs. Omattah Ralie Moronmubo, Head of Vital Registration and Public Affairs, NPC State Office, in the company of Media Executives and other Publicity Committee members, drawn from various interest groups in the state.
The membership of the state CPC comprised the National Council of Women Society of Nigeria (NCWSN), the Kogi State Market Women Association, the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), The Council of Ulamma’u, Christians Association of Nigeria (CAN), the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), and Heads of media organizations in the state.
Similar visits to Ohimege of Koton-Karfe and Maigari of Lokoja, are scheduled to take place at a later date as part of the Population Commission’s sustained efforts at raising grassroots awareness on the 2023 Census in Kogi State.