Abuja – The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, says political interests may mar the proposed 2018 population census.
Dogara, therefore, called on the people clamouring for the conduct of the census in 2018 to exercise patience until after the 2019 elections.
He said this was necessary as there would likely be mounting pressure to manipulate the outcome of the exercise.
Dogara, in a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Turaki Hassan, on Monday in Abuja said that conducting the census in an election year may generate unrealistic results.
He advised that the next administration should conduct the census at the beginning of its tenure.
“This should be done when there isn’t so much at stake.
“I won’t advise anyone to conduct national census in 2018.
“If we are not going to achieve it in 2017, then we should just forget it until after 2019.
“If you conduct census at the niche of elections, there will be so much pressure, crisis and the lure for people to manipulate the figures for political reasons, such that the agency cannot even cope with,’’ Dogara stated.
According to him, it is better for a new administration to conduct the exercise from the beginning of its tenure, when there is no election in sight.
“We may have something that resembles reality, but I can bet it, if the census is conducted in 2018, the outcome will be doubtable.
“I know who we are and I know the kind of litigations, backlashes and the pressure, but we don’t need all that now.
“We have so many challenges; let us empower the agencies to keep building on the blocks that they will leverage on in the future in order to do the exercise.’’ Dogara said.