•Lady NWINEH BARIKA GLORY, RIVERS National Population Commission Director
Rivers State Director of the National Population Commission (NPC) in Rivers State, Lady Nwineh Barika Glory has been working hard with the team preparing for the 2023 census which begins on 29th of March, 2023 and ends on 2nd of April, 2023.
She has engaged staff and materials in preparation for the task ahead with lectures going on at various locations inside Rivers State capital, Port Harcourt and its environs. At Port Harcourt, she quickly got the Harbour Road Girls Secondary School, now Wesley Methodist Girls Secondary School, and Saint John’s Campus of former Teachers Training College, Aba Road, Port Harcourt as learning centres for ad hoc staff who will be mobilized on the field for the enumeration exercise in an accurate national census for Nigerians.
The Chairman of the Census Committee of National Population Commission and Rivers State Representative Honourable Federal Commissioner at NPC, Dr. Ipalibo Macdonald Harry has been criss-crossing and coordinating the 36 states plus Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja in his capacity as Chairman, 2023 Census Committee of the National Population Commission (NPC).
On the side-line of the Rivers State National Census training exercise at Wesley Methodist Girls’ Secondary School, Harbour Road, Port Harcourt, Lady Nwineh Barika Glory on Monday 23rd of January, 2023 granted audience to City People Magazine’s Bureau Chief, Emeka Amaefula-+234(0)8111813069 where she explained how the 2023 National Census (which is Nigeria’s 20th Census) will affect national planning and political activities in the future. Read on. Excerpts.
Who is Lady Nwineh?
Nwineh Barika Glory is the State Director, National Population Commission, Rivers State Office.
How prepared is the National Population Commission for the upcoming 2023 National Census?
My commission is very well prepared, in fact over prepared, not just prepared.
How prepared? What are the activities you have lined up towards the success of the 2023 national census exercise?
Yes. Of course, like the one we are doing now is training. And we are going to the grass root level of training like what is going on now is the Special Workforce training. And by Thursday, 26th of January, 2023, we are going into the state level training.
After that training, which is going to be for ten days, we are going to the Local Government Areas to train the supervisors and enumerators. That is why I said that we are already in the process.
How about sensitization of the masses on this 2023 national census, because there’s insecurity in the country and the masses seeing agencies like yours might be apprehensive about their security. How are you going to prepare their minds in this national census exercise?
If you talk about insecurity, ordinarily we will say nobody has the power of security as the person that gives security is God. So, when you think that there’s no way, we will say ‘Oh, National Population Commission will have the power over the security of everybody,’ it’s not possible. It is just God. So, we know that the problem of insecurity is something that if we were able to carry out the demarcation of the whole country, which demarcation we started in 2017 and we concluded in 2022 in some areas. So, I don’t think the one we have to do from 29th of March to April 2nd, 2023 can not be handled. So, insecurity cannot stop the programme because it’s not a personal thing for the National Population Commission, it is a national programme. So, everybody and the government is involved. So, it is not a game of the commission only.
I mean in terms of sensitizing the public in the state under your control, such as the use of town criers, religious centres in the dissemination of information on the 20th National Census, how far have you gone on this?
Like I started by saying that we have been carrying out programmes, so, we do that in synergy with the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and you know that they are the crusaders of information. So, right now, they are in the 23 Local Government Areas of Rivers State. We also have our controllers and officers in these 23 LGAS. People are on ground as we did Road Walk or Road Show, from national state and Local Government Areas.
So, we use all mediums. Right now, the screening for supervisors and enumerators is ongoing. And the controller decided to go to the Community Development Councils (CDC) to the market and to the churches and to other places. So, everybody is involved right now as sensitization exercises are ongoing. So, we are using all the tools and personalities like yourself, the media houses, they are all involved in the dissemination of information and sensitization for the 20th National Census because it’s not a one-man thing.
It is like what everybody in this state has: we have NTA which is a national television, we have the state owned RSTV, the Radio Houses as everybody is on deck to ensure that there’s publicity to all nooks and crannies of Rivers State.
Apart from being a Federal Government Commission, are you working in collaboration with the state to carry out certain functions?
Well, as you said, that we are working in the state does not mean that we own the state. This is Rivers State and there’s no way we’ll work without the state synergy. So, we have to work with the state as we have the Chairmen of the 23 LGAs. Like in the programme we did, chairmen we are involved. So, they are being carried along as we send letters to them. And everybody, they know whatever we are doing.
So, there’s no way we will be in Rivers State and work alone because the census is not only for the population commission but it is for Nigeria and for Rivers State. When the census result comes, it is not going to be the population result for Rivers State, it’s going to be the Rivers State result and the National Census 2023 Result for Rivers State.
Now, let’s look at some vital points, there’re extraneous forces like political forces in some states who are going to be influencing the outcome of the National Census Result, is that not possible?
It’s not possible now. Do you know why? We are using the de facto method and we are using digital like what we are doing now. It is called Digital Census as it is no longer biro and paper when somebody will come and give you a notebook where they have filled names and ask you to copy. You cannot do that.
I see you like, I have my phone. I walk into your house and I will ask you questions, those I see are those I will capture. And the moment I leave your house, if I don’t have anybody, I drop call back for me to come back and do it. And I will close anything about it. And that ends that. The moment I leave what we call EA, that is the enumeration area, if I have left that area and I have sent my work, there’s nothing you will do for me to come back. So, the possibility of politically influencing the outcome is ruled out because it is digital.
Is it true that the outcome of the Census will determine the allocation of State Resources?
Yes, that’s the meaning of Census which is for planning. So, whatever you’re doing, you’re doing it towards that and that is the reason why the National Population Commission has decided that we must give Nigerians a Credible and Successful National Census which must be accepted by Nigerians.
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