By Godfrey AKON
Ahead of planned national census in 2022, the National Population Commission, NPC, has welded a partnership with the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, on information and data sharing to ensure seamless conduct of the exercise.
Both agencies made the commitment to cooperate during a courtesy call by the Chairman of NPC, Hon Nasir Isah, to the INEC Chairman, Mahmood Yakubu, in Abuja on Friday.Isah said the visit to INEC was to continue engagements with sister agencies and cement relationship towards ensuring NPC’s smooth operations.
He disclosed that the commission was planning to undertake the conduct of national census in 2022, adding that for the past 16 years, the commission has not been able to conduct national census.Isah expressed hope that by the end of October 2021, the delineation of the 774 Local Governments, and the 36 states of the Federation, and FCT would be completed.The NPC boss said birth and death registration of citizens will soon be electronic, even as he commended INEC for its role in ensuring regular conduct of election in the country.Responding,
INEC Chairman, Yakubu, noted that both NPC and INEC are constitutional bodies established under Section 153 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999, as amended. According to him, both agencies have established collaboration over the years and strategic partnership, adding that the duties and responsibilities of the two commissions under the constitution make such partnership necessary.
“In carrying out our statutory duty to organise, undertake and supervise elections, INEC is charged with the responsibility of reviewing the division of the States of the Federation into Senatorial Districts, Federal and State constituencies as well as Wards in the Area Councils of the Federal Capital Territory.
“The Commission is mandated to do so at an interval of not less than ten years or by reason of creation of States, pursuant to an Act of the National Assembly or in consequence of a population census in Nigeria.
“On the other hand, NPC is required, among its many responsibilities, to undertake the enumeration of the people of Nigeria periodically through census and to provide information and data on the country’s population to facilitate national planning and economic development,” he said.
Yakubu said officials of the two commissions have, over the years, undertook a joint project to demarcate the boundaries of INEC’s Registration Areas, RAs/Wards with NPC’s Enumeration Areas, EAs, under the RA/EAD project.”So far, within the framework of the RA/EAD project, we have jointly covered 261 LGAs nationwide.
I am aware that NPC has covered more LGAs. Going forward, we are finalising a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which will be signed very soon. “In the MoU, we have more clearly defined the scope and duration of our collaboration as well as the responsibilities of the two Commissions.
I want to reassure the NPC that we shall continue to strengthen our existing collaboration. After-all, we are both public bodies funded by the treasury to work for Nigeria and Nigerians,” he said.
The INEC Chairman appealed to the Chairman of the NPC, in his capacity as the registrar of births and deaths in Nigeria, to periodically avail INEC of the data of deceased Nigerians so that it can use the official information from NPC to further clean up the voters’ register.
“Perhaps you may wish to start by availing us with the list of prominent Nigerians who have passed on, civil and public servants compiled from the official records of Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other Nigerians from hospital and funeral records across the country.
“We appreciate that this is a Herculean task but that is partly why we have a National Population Commission. We are confident that NPC has the capacity to do so. This information is critical for INEC to enhance the credibility of the National Register of Voters,” he said