By Musa Sunusi Ahmad
Nasarawa State Governor, Engineer Abdullahi Sule, has said that the state must be interested in the next national census, more than any other state in the country, because Nasarawa is the most short-changed state in terms of population.
Engineer Sule stated this while hosting the Chairman of the National Population Commission, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra, who led a delegation on a courtesy call at the Government House, on Thursday.
According to the Governor, Nasarawa State was under counted, describing as a total joke, the 2006 census which pegged the population of the state at 1, 869, 377.
Engineer Sule emphasized that even in Karu Local Government Area alone, there are more than 1.8m people residing in Masaka, Ado and Maraba that have since fused into a city.
The Governor said he has used every opportunity at his disposal to decry the injustice done to the state during the last census and that he will continue to voice his discontent until the right thing is done.
“Nasarawa State is the worst when it comes to the number of voters per polling units. We have only 1 495 polling units in the entire state.
“Even states that have lower population than ours, like Ekiti and Bayelsa, have more number of polling units than Nasarawa. And that is why in Nasarawa State you will have one polling unit that has about 10 voting points as a result of that,” he stated.
Speaking further, Engineer Sule said he is seeking to remedy the imbalance in the outcome of the 2006 census because his administration strongly believes in planning, stressing that without proper data on the actual population of the state, planning may be ineffective.
“We are doing a lot of things in other areas and these will not be successful if we don’t have the proper population,” he stated.
The Governor pointed out that facilities in Karu Local Government Area, for instance, are over-stretched, which explains why in most places, there is no enough water, light, roads and markets.
While noting that the population of non-indigenes residing in Karu Local Government Area, has doubled the number of indigenes of the state, Engineer Sule warned however, that his administration will not tolerate a situation where people from other parts of the country, return to be counted in their states of origin but come back to Nasarawa State when it’s time to utilize the benefits of the census.
The Governor described Nasarawa as being lucky to have both the chairman of the NPC, as well as a commissioner, even as he said it is also not out of place because Nasarawa State is the most short-changed state in the entire federation.
He thanked President Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government for the honour done to the state, promising to support the commission towards achieving its objectives.
Engineer Sule particularly appreciated the NPC for successfully carrying out its enumeration area demarcation in Keana and Doma Local Government Areas.
Earlier, in his remarks, Chairman, National Population Commission, Hon. Nasir Isa Kwarra, said members of the commission were in the state to create public awareness on the Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD), as well as other mandates of the commission.
Hon. Kwarra, who was on his first official visit since assumption of office, explained that they were in Nasarawa to solicit the support of the government and people of the state, for the success of the commission’s activities, which have direct bearing on the socio-economic and political life of the people.
While disclosing that the Phase 13 of the EAD will commence on March 8 and ends on April 4, the chairman announced that the exercise will take place in Nasarawa and Toto Local Government Areas.
Hon. Kwarra assured that the commission intends to provide the nation with reliable and trustworthy EAD frame, which will serve as a good foundation for conduct of reliable and acceptable census.