Traditional, religious leaders crucial to success of 2023 census – Abari  

By Ikenna Uwadileke

The Director-General, National Orientation Agency, Dr Garba Abari, has stressed the importance of religious and traditional leaders toward the success of the 2023 National Population and Housing Census.

Abari said this when he appeared on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja on Sunday.

The director-general, who is a member of the National Publicity and Advocacy Committee on census, said that traditional institutions and religious leaders, as well as leaders of thought play critical roles in social mobilisation.

He added that the National Population Commission (NPC) had recorded successes in engaging the traditional institution and religious leaders to drive support for the census.

According to him, the success of the 2023 census will largely depend on the role and participation of traditional institutions and religious leaders.

He explained that ‘’the Chairman of the National Population Commission had visited key traditional leaders and made them census ambassadors with a view to engaging them for the exercise.

‘’He (the chairman) had also visited all the states with a view to involving relevant stakeholders for the exercise.

‘’Most traditional and religious leaders are also members of the state census committee, local government census committee and community census committee wherever it applies.

‘’As far as the role of these critical individuals and institutions are concerned, they have been sufficiently captured and very soon we will see a saturation of their messages in the airwaves, markets, motor parks, the streets, in Churches and in Mosques.’’

The NOA boss, who emphasised the need for accurate census to national planning and development, therefore, urged Nigerians to ensure they were counted.

He added that the census, earlier scheduled for March 29, will now hold from May 3 to May 5.

Abari said that the shift in date was necessitated by the postponement of the governorship and State Assembly elections by the Independent National Electoral Commission from March 11 to March 18.

While assuring the deployment of cutting-edge technology to avert any lapses, he said that Nigerians should not expect anything other than a transparent national census.

NAN reports that the last national census in the country was held in 2006. (NAN)