Quality policy-making, planning and administration, and decision-making are the foundations of stable, developed nations. But the eccentricities of governance in today’s world indicate that national development must depend on well-collected and up-to-date data. This is where a population census fits in. With the upcoming 2023 population census, Nigeria could solve a large part of its national puzzle with data to guide its resource allocation…
Data, big data, rules the world. At the core of our collective prosperity are tons of ones and zeros that underscore modern power brokering, policy making, and optimal decision making. Data is the first resource mined in responsive governance, people-centered politicking, and the pursuit of national development.
Proper data management generates strong policies, which make nations stable. However, the data, the core of the information and the inference, do not just stumble. There is a science (as there is an art) to data collection. On the national and international fronts, the collection and “exploitation” of data is more pronounced as nations seek to better understand the landscape of people, territories, and social phenomena.
Throughout history, nations have needed to mine the data-rich ore that their citizens present, and population censuses have always been the most reliable option. Population censuses have helped nations paint integrated pictures of constantly changing societies, while providing comprehensive and adequate databases for comparison and projections of demographic and psychographic data.
Population censuses greatly outperform other statistical methods of collecting national data. With a population census, social and economic characteristics from the highest to the lowest administrative or geographic levels are revealed, overlaps and intersections between the public and private sectors are revealed, long periods of time are easily and accurately tracked of development and the dynamic patterns of national life can be revealed. In fact, a population census is the opportunity for a nation to reflect on and understand itself.
Population censuses have spanned civilizations. History traces the roots of population censuses to 17the century, in search of a better allocation of resources. Ireland has been conducting population censuses since 1841. India conducted its first census in 1872, while the United States had its first in 1790. Africa has not been out of the fray either, with South Africa conducting its first census in 1911 and Nigeria conducting its first. census. in 1866.
Nigeria’s population censuses do not paint a great picture. From 1866 to 1991, censuses in Nigeria were marred by restrictions, manipulation of figures for manipulation, deliberate falsification of census figures, disruptions caused by political instability, ethnic clashes, and shortages of qualified personnel and technical knowledge for the collection and management of data. data. .
It is unthinkable that Nigeria would continue to make its decision using a database dated 2006. The 2006 census pegs Nigeria’s population at 140 million. Today, the United Nations disagrees, estimating Nigeria’s population at well over 200 million, given its tracked baby boom. As such, it could be inferred that Nigeria does not have a clear estimate of its population. This has culminated in adverse delay and failure…
The last population census that Nigeria had in 2006 was considered fair, compared to the previous ones, since it was the first population and housing census that the country had. The 2006 census was carried out using the Global Positioning System and Satellite Imagery to map Geo-Referenced EAs, and was the first for Nigeria. However, allegations of irregularities and falsified figures still sullied the 2006 census. Since 2006, Nigeria has not conducted another population census. Africa’s most populous country is four years behind in its census. By implication, Nigeria has yet to reflect on more than 15 years.
A new census is scheduled for 2023 and some 532 billion naira have been budgeted for its implementation. With the demands of previous censuses in Nigeria and the desire for real growth and development of Nigerian citizenship, it is now more relevant than ever for the Nigerian government to have a viable national database to work with.
It is unthinkable that Nigeria would continue to make its decision using a database dated 2006. The 2006 census pegs Nigeria’s population at 140 million. Today, the United Nations disagrees, estimating Nigeria’s population at well over 200 million, given its tracked baby boom. As such, it could be inferred that Nigeria does not have a clear estimate of its population. This has culminated in the adverse setback and failure of development and human policies in Nigeria.
The lack of comprehensive and detailed data on its population also explains the lack of accurate indicators of population, social and economic growth, which makes policy implementation difficult in Nigeria. Vital indicators such as birth, death and population growth rates are missing at the lower administrative or geographical levels of Nigeria. Furthermore, the country does not have a concrete or viable registry of immigrants. What he has been working on are estimates, with low degrees of precision.
Based on the 2006 census, Nigeria lacks a viable database needed to build population and labor force projections, and also lacks a database needed to study social phenomena. This negatively extends to policy analysis, national program management, resource allocation, revenue estimation, government contracting, and progress toward national equity and inclusion.
Nigeria needs a population census to help it understand its people. Not only are the upper echelons of power brokers cut off from lower units in Nigeria, but there is a staggering ignorance of grassroots realities that stems from the paucity of quality data on localities. As the 2006 census, to some extent, failed to capture Nigerians living in the remotest corners of towns, the lives and livelihoods of a large portion of Nigerians remain undocumented.
Perhaps a new population census is the important step Nigeria has yet to take to address its housing problems. 2006 to 2022 is a long time. As such, housing data collected over a decade ago must be updated to meet current needs. Nigeria needs data on housing units, as well as their facilities and characteristics, in relation to living conditions. Up-to-date data is also needed to develop well-defined housing policies.
Since migration and immigration remain central to a nation’s population policy, Nigeria needs a population census to help it understand estimates of its migrants and immigrants. Nigeria needs a database that provides clear and accurate estimates of the distribution and characteristics of its immigrants and expatriates. With that, Nigeria will be able to build better workforce projections.
Perhaps a new population census is the important step Nigeria has yet to take to address its housing problems. 2006 to 2022 is a long time. As such, housing data collected over a decade ago must be updated to meet current needs. Nigeria needs data on housing units, as well as their facilities and characteristics, in relation to living conditions. Up-to-date data is also needed to develop well-defined housing policies. New data is also needed to adopt indicators on housing conditions and the extent of their relationship with public services.
A new population census will also provide Nigeria with a modern and comprehensive framework for buildings, houses and homes. Ultimately, this will influence the design and use of samples to conduct various household surveys. In turn, it will have a positive reflection of the precise measurements of the various phenomena to be investigated, such as mortality, fertility and migration, which are the basis for calculating population growth rates and post-census population estimates. A new population census would also help provide Nigeria with data on the characteristics of the public and private sectors, to develop housing plans and define various needs in the future.
In addition, Nigeria also needs a clear definition of the conditions for economic and social enterprises in the public and private sectors, in terms of legal status, economic activity, and size of the workforce by gender and nationality. A population census is the best option to obtain these data.
Quality policy making, planning and management, and decision making are the foundations of stable and developed nations. But the eccentricities of governance in today’s world indicate that national development must depend on well-collected and up-to-date data. This is where a population census fits in. With the upcoming 2023 population census, Nigeria could solve a large part of its national puzzle with data to guide resource allocation, income estimation, economic policymaking, social service provision and density determination. of population.
Olatundun Tejuoso, a culture amateur and serial businessman, writes from Lagos.
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