A don, Dr Austine Nwaeze, on Wednesday said he supported the suggestion by the Speaker of House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, that a national census should be after the 2019 general elections.
Nwaeze, who lectures Political Economics at Pan Atlantic University, Lekki, Lagos, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos that the census, planned for 2018, would be an exercise in futility.
He said that although conducting the exercise was good in view of the current economic plan of Federal Government, but it might not change the narrative.
“I will suggest that the national census be held in 2020 or 2021 for a fair exercise.
“It should be extended by few years after the elections because of our peculiarities as a people.
“I support the people who are calling for the suspension because we should learn from the mistakes of the past.
“Since the early 1960s, our elections have been controversies. The exercise has always pitched one section of the country against the others and almost negated the purpose of the scheme,” he said.
He said that postponing the exercise until after the election would enable the government to plan and prepare better for the exercise.
Nwaeze said the suggestion to postpone the census was in order as it would not disrupt the current economic recovery plan.
NAN recalls that Dogara, had on Monday in Abuja, warned that the census figures could be manipulated if the census was conducted in 2018.
Dogara, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, said the exercise should be conducted in 2017.
He said that political interests would determine the outcome of the results, rather than the actual figures.
The Speaker argued that 2018 was too close to 2019, an election year, and feared that politicians could hijack the exercise to their advantage.
“If you conduct census just before the elections, there will be so much pressure, crises and a lure for people to manipulate the figures for political reasons, such that the agency cannot even cope with.
“So, it is better for a fresh administration to conduct this exercise from the beginning of that administration when we do not have any pressure of elections in sight.
He was reacting to the clamour by some groups for the census to be conducted in 2018. (NAN)