Chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC), Mr. Nasir Kwarra has announced that the postponement of the governorship and state assembly elections could affect the commencement of the 2023 national housing and population census earlier slated for the 29th of March.
Kwarra disclosed this at a meeting with the resident representative of the United Nations Population Fund in Abuja.
Addressing reporters, Kwarra hinted that he will consult with President Muhammadu Buhari for a suitable date for the national census.
UNFPA pledges support for the success of the census
Also speaking at the meeting, the resident representative of the United Nations Population Fund, Ms. Ulla Mueller, pledged the support of UNFPA in ensuring the success of the exercise.
Mueller also reiterated the significance of the exercise to the attainment of the sustainable development goal.
Furthermore, the UNFPA resident representative explained that the conduct of a post-enumeration survey will also give credibility to the census.
The UNFPA also presented sixteen high-capacity computers for the conduct of the post-enumeration survey.
Why was the election postponed?
INEC in a statement explained that the postponement was to ensure that there is adequate time to back up the data stored on the over 176,000 BVAS machines from the Presidential and National Assembly elections “and then to reconfigure them for the Governorship and State Assembly elections.”
The commission also reassured all political parties and candidates that the data from the Presidential and National Assembly elections will be backed up and available in INEC cloud facilities, including the INEC Results Viewing Portal (IReV).
It added that Political parties can apply for Certified True Copies of the backend data of the BVAS.
The state elections which were earlier scheduled to hold on March 11, have now been scheduled for March 18 by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
The National Population Commission (NPC) has warned that the postponement of general elections may have an effect on the 2023 population census. According to the NPC Chairman, Nasir Kwarra, the commission cannot embark on the census unless the election cycle is completed.
Mr. Kwarra explained that in the past, the election results have always been released in time to enable the necessary alignment to the 2023 population census. As the general elections have been postponed, he believes that there may be further implications to the census.
He also noted that it was important to focus on the census exercise if the country is to have reliable data that can be used to develop a long term plan for the nation.
Kwarra urged the Government and all other stakeholders to take all necessary actions to ensure that the election cycle is completed which will enable the commencement of the 2023 population census exercise.
Mr. Kwarra further noted that it was important for the Government to prioritize the census in order to better equip the country on planning for the future economic and social needs of the country. He stressed that population numbers have an effect on the quality and quantity of resources that are available.
The NPC has always taken population census very seriously due to the importance it holds in planning for the future of the nation. All efforts must be made to ensure that the upcoming 2023 population census is done as scheduled.