Open letter to Gov Ajimobi

The visible positive changes in Ogun State today are indicative of the mindset of Governor Abiola Ajimobi and his cabinet towards the people of the state and I have deemed it necessary to contribute my quota to her progress as a real son of the soil of the state studying out of the state.

There is no gainsaying that all states of the federation see through the eyes of the federal government in the area of database for housing and population. But if the federal eye is blind, how can the states see? The population and housing census conducted by the National Population Commission was between the 21st and 27th March, 2006, followed by a Post-Enumeration Survey in June, 2006.

Thanks to Freedom of Information Act, the details of the breakdown of provisional population total published in the federal government’s Extraordinary Gazette No. 24 volume 94 of May 15, 2009 as statutory instrument No. 23 of 2007 reveals that Oyo State final population total was 5,580,894.

By this, the state’s population was double those of Ebonyi, Ekiti, Gombe, Kwara, Taraba, and Yobe states; triple those of Bayelsa State and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, and almost triple Nasarawa’s by 9,079. The question is: Does it reflect the true total population of Oyo State as at 2006? If it does, then, where are the housing totals? If it does not matter then, every plan based on such a wrong population figure would be wrong. Then, one can say that the state government has been planning on housing at random all this while.

But who is deceiving who? Politics of populations and housing has done and will continue to do Nigerians no good if we fail to do the right things. Another question is: “What are these right things”? The right things will reveal the true current situation of education, health, agriculture and food security, housing, reproduction, people with disabilities, labour force, revenue, refugees, etc such that we can truly proffer solutions to problems in the system and reliably project into the future.

One of those right things for a wise state is to independently build a demographic database of population and housing of residents to reveal the foregoing. Oyo State needs to conduct an independent population and housing census.
Your Excellency, my mind bubbles with answers to the questions of why, when, how, to conduct such a census.

Gbemisola Olufemi,
Student, Department of Demography and Social Statistics,
Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State

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