The United Nations Fund for Population Activities, UNFPA, representative at the National Population Commission, NPC, Dr Collins Opiyo said yesterday that the agency is working closely with NPC and the Federal Republic of Nigeria to ensure that the 2023 Population and Housing Census is implemented in tandem with international standards and best practices. Dr Opiyo made the remark in Abuja at the e-recruitment training of desk officers for trial Census scheduled for June.
The UNFPA representative, who was also in his capacity as the CTA at the e-recruitment training, said these standards – the UN P&Rs for 2020 world programme on Population and Housing Census emphasised increased use of technology and innovations in census implementation to improve data quality and timeliness of products thereof.
“So, your role/function is integral to the requisite adherence to the UN P&Rs – to assure adequate and competitive recruitment of quality, motivated and able bodied professionals to facilitate collection of quality data nationally.
“Needless to remind you, this is a task of no mean feat and certainly a huge personal and collective responsibility.
“In case it hasn’t sank in yet, you have the [un]enviable responsibility to be the first responders to helping Nigeria obtain the long and much awaited quality Census data for making important decisions – and out Nigeria on a clear path to achieving the national development vision, Agenda 2064 and SDGs, among other development goals.
“So, in a nutshell, NPC is re-writing the history of Census taking in Nigeria. Make sure you are in the right side of that history!” Dr Collins Opiyo said.
According to the NPC chairman, Hon Nasir Isa Kwarra while declaring open the e-recruitment training said the training of the State and Headquarters Desk Officers on e-recruitment training procedures and methodology is in preparation for the trial Census in June.
He reiterated that His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari on the advice of the Council of State has approved the conduct of the Population and Housing Census to take place in April 2023.
According to him, to carry out the mandate, the Commission has carried out series of preparatory activities from the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD), where 772 LGAs has been demarcated, leaving only 2 LGAs owing to security challenged to the conduct of the first and second census pretest exercises, the Trial census exercise that will hold in June this year and the main census in 2023.
“As you are aware, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR on the advice of the Council of State has approved the conduct of the Population and Housing Census to take place in April 2023.
“To carry out this mandate, the Commission has carried out series of preparatory activities from the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD), where 772 LGAs has been demarcated, leaving only 2 LGAs (security challenged) to the conduct of the 1st and 2nd census pretest exercises, the Trial census exercise that will hold in June this year and the main census in 2023. As such there is the need for the recruitment of manpower that will carry out this gigantic exercises. The need to be fair and transparent in the recruitment process has led the Commission to introduce the e-recruitment process and train the officers that will superintend over this important census recruitment process.
“The objective of this exercise is to train officers with requisite competence and skills to review the recruitment process and ensure that guidelines are complied with for the successful execution of the 2023 Census recruitment.
“This training programme has been carefully designed to teach the participants the concept and procedures for the e-recruitment process as well as equip them with all necessary skills to ensure that recruitment standards are followed in the recruitment of the functionaries for the pilot census and the main census exercises.
“To us in the Commission, the quality of staff that will perform the census activities are very important. Therefore, having a good knowledge of the content of the census document, the technique and the organisation of the census process is key to the success of the 2023 Population and Housing Census.
“Preparation and conduct of census requires a huge number of human resources and logistics planning, and as we all know that this will be the first fully digital census to be conducted in Nigeria. This will require the highest mobilisation of human resources which is only second to wartime activity. The Commission is determined to make sure that transparency, inclusiveness and diversity of the country will be taken into consideration in the recruitment process in preparation for the 2023 census.
“The quality of the recruitment process will reflect on the quality of the data to be collected and ultimately the success of the 2023 census. While a good recruitment exercise will not by itself necessarily guarantee a successful census, a badly conducted recruitment process will inevitably lead to problems and increase the risk of an unsuccessful census”.
Isa Kwarra told the participants that they all have been carefully selected by the Commission to promote all-inclusive principles in the e-recruitment exercise that can inspire trust and confidence from Nigerians as the Commission approach the 2023 Population and Housing Census.
He emphasised that the Commission is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that the results of the 2023 census are acceptable to Nigerians and the quality of data that will be generated meets international best standards for planning and developmental purposes.
“I therefore, urge you all to be dedicated and give full attention to the content of the training because much is expected from you to ensure transparent and hitch-free recruitment exercise for the Pilot and Main Census exercise. I urge you to maximize this golden opportunity presented to you by the Commission to contribute your own quota to the success of the 2023 census exercise”.
While urging the participants to accord the training the seriousness it deserves, the NPC boss added that the Commission assures Nigerians and the International community of the conduct of a reliable, accurate and reliable 2023 Population and Housing census.