•Lady NWINEH BARIKA GLORY, RIVERS NPC State Director
Are there difficulties that you are encountering in the preparations that you are doing such as the quality of education we are having now which you know has dropped? How is that affecting the calibre of participants that you are training for the 2023 National Census?
It is true for some time, like you see, what we are doing is the screening of facilitators who will be training on Thursday, 26th of January 2023. Yes, there are those who are not up to the standards, like you rightly stated on educational standards which have fallen. And when they went to the portal because the application was done online, they saw the post of facilitator and they thought that, that is the least. You see somebody, some undergraduates, secondary school leavers and they just picked on that. On a few occasions, for those that I have to see one-on-one, I have to look at them and ask them who is a facilitator and what is facilitating? And your response will tell me whether you are selected or rejected. So, definitely for sure you are going to have such. Again, whether they have because the least qualification we are using for this programme as enumerator is possession of West African School Certificate, (WAEC), being Senior Secondary School Certificate SSCE Ordinary Level. Which is the first level of school, which is secondary school. So, if they have that then whatever you will find out that again because we are using these gadgets you will find out that younger generations are more in tune and more used to it than older generations. You will find out that they are still performing better because they will be taught. And when they are taught, they catch up faster. Again, we are looking for those who fall in the ‘not trainable category’ then they don’t fit in if you are not trainable. But we have not seen that yet for those who are not trainable. Just like we are here now, if you watch you will see those facilitators there even though they attended the online training, we started with ‘Visual Training’ after that we have the ‘Contact Training’. What we are doing is contact training for those who have been trained from the Visual Training for Special Workforce. We have done the first seven days and extended it to two days. And they did all the written examinations and they were selected. So, we have known what system it is, so we try to put everything in phases. The contact training that we are doing now is to let us know them one-on-one. Let’s see how they can really perform because even though they wrote exams and passed, sometimes exams are not true knowledge of wisdom of individuals as some might pass examinations but not be able to put it into practice. So, everything is going well here.
Can you tell us the duration of the National Census, when is it starting and closing?
Right now, like I said we have started already. The process that we are now is the proper enumeration that is going to be from 29th of March 2023 to 2nd April, 2023. So, within the period everybody will be captured.
What message do you have for the people out there who are going to be enumerated?
I will always advise us, especially here in Rivers State, in a state where everybody sees people who come out as Tax Collectors or Task Force, Electricity Distribution Companies e.g Port Harcourt Electricity Distribution Company (PHED). So, when they see us, they should not see us as those people. We are going to have our emblems and reflective jackets. we’re going to have our bags and we are going to have our identity cards to differentiate us from those people. So that they don’t see us and lock their doors. Like I said, it’s de facto, I see you and I count you. Because if you see me and shut your door against me, you cannot be counted. And when you do that in an area, that is going to cause under enumeration because it’s going to reduce the figures of the population. Like here now, a whole line of classroom blocks you lock your door against me, you don’t expect the same figures I will get when they are counted.
They should know that population is what determines their planning. It is also for politicians. I think I want to send this message to them. Politicians don’t seem to have value for the National Population Census. But, you cannot get a polling unit without population. You cannot get your voters without population census as you cannot come and manufacture all these figures. There must be people in an area before you can now say okay, you should come and vote. You cannot ask grasses or sand to come and vote or you say because of these sands, I assign you a polling unit, it’s not done that way.
So, we want politicians to change their mentality as they don’t see population census as important. They tend to neglect it. They believe that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is the end of the game. No. Without the population of any particular area, you cannot say that you have conducted an election and you win. So, I want them to owe it as a programme so that at the end of the day they will be able to beat their chests and say, ‘yes, this is the population of my people’.
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