The Politics of Census in Nigeria

Topics: Demography, Population, Population ecology Pages: 18 (5717 words) Published: February 10, 2011

Population is the major determinant of national affairs. It leverages power and determines public policy and revenue allocation as areas with higher population are entitled to a greater share of the national resources in terms of state creation, representation and other national consideration. Moreover, politics especially democracy thrives on numbers. So, population figures also shapes election result, since a more population place will justifiably cast more voters. It, therefore, a power toll. Both for economic and political activities (Ezukanma 2003).

The imperatives of population in gaining leverage at every of national affairs makes census count imperative and vita for any and every form of meaningful development to occur in a nation. Census is a total process of collecting, compiling and publishing at a specific time or time of all person in a country or delimited territory, (united nations, 1972). Viewed as a whole, census involves five steps, namely planning, and preparation, enumeration, compilation of data collected and report analysis of data collected and issues of reports.

Taking cognizance of data needs for most purposes the United Nations has drawn up a list of items of information which ought to be included in any census schedule or questionnaire. These core items that have to be included for enumeration exercise to be considered a census fall into categories: Geographical, person, house hoods and economic characteristics. Geographical characteristics relate to a place where a citizen was found at the time of census or a place of usual residence and place of birth (united nations, 1958). Under personal and house characteristics cine such item as sex, age relation to head of house hood, marital status, children ever born. Children alive, literacy school attainment. Economic characteristics relate to the type of activities, occupation or industry in which a citizen is engaged, and his status employer or employee. These items have been selected and recommended by the United Nations for inclusion in a census schedule, because of their importance in generating data needed for planning. Other items not listed such as ethnicity and religious affiliation are optional items.

Census count has multidimensional importance as it is used for economic, political and social cultural planning and development of a country. Through census count, productive and unproductive sectors of labour force within as nation are determined, at the core if every form of development planning efforts is the use and centrality not population statistics to be affected by such plans and politics. Such statistics shall include those related demographic characteristic. Only with proper knowledge of the changes in population structure and size, its composition by necessary estimates be made for planning economic development.

The indispensability of population count most developing countries like Nigeria have failed to achieve a reasonable progress in conducting population census count population counts in Nigeria have defiled all its aims, instead of used as determinant of power. (state power). Nigeria’s population counts have been widely politicized and have largely failed to perform its proper functions. The intensification of politicization of census in Nigeria more than anything else seems responsible for the failure of census exercises. By attaching political and economic relevance to census, it becomes more or less a means to an end. (Haruna 2009) being an archetypal plural society where internal wrangling among the diverse the diverse groups with in it has all generated intense heat, it is not surprising to trace the high level or political activities and consciousness prevalent in the last eight years to the controversy trailing the 2006 census count in Nigeria. The background of this study shall rest on taking a critical evaluation of the politicization of the...
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