The Obong of Calabar and Treaty King of the Efik Kingdom, His Eminence, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V, has solicited traditional institutions to champion the advocacy for the 2023 National Population and Housing Census coming up in May.
The Royal Father gave the charge on Tuesday (April 25), while receiving in audience the 2023 Census Publicity Committee on an advocacy visit at the Royal Palace in Calabar.
Edidem Otu V expressed delight that the Committee met him in the company of his Etuboms-in-Council, urging the monarchs to educate their subjects on the importance of the 2023 Census in order to elicit public buy-in.
In his words: “I am that the Etuboms are all present. They will take the messages home and let their subjects be involved in the process. Because if we fall shy or run away from it, then we have not done ourselves any good.”
The Obong lauded the Census Publicity Committee for carrying out a robust advocacy and awareness campaign for the 2023 National Population and Housing Census, saying the media space is already awash with information on the forthcoming exercise.
The Traditional Royal hoped that personnel for the exercise had received adequate training, noting that “since we are going digital now, I hope that the necessary modalities have been put in place, with equipment tested and trusted, to give Nigerians correct results from the Census exercise.”
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Earlier in his remarks, the Chairman of the 2023 Census Publicity Committee and Commissioner for Information and Orientation, Mr Eric Iso Anderson thanked the Efik Kingdom for the opportunity to meet with the royal stool and enlighten them on the Population and Housing Census.
“Beyond intimating to you of the importance of the Census exercise to national needs assessment, planning and development, we have also come to seek your blessings ahead of the exercise coming up from 3-7 May 2023,” the Chairman remarked.
Commissioner Anderson said censuses which were supposed to hold every ten years have not held in the country for 17 years now. He, however, noted that, unlike other censuses, the 2023 edition will not only take statistics of people but will also take into account houses, natural resources and other amenities.
Also speaking, the State Director, National Population Commission, Mr Stanley Itam, thanked the King for the rewarding interface between the Census Publicity Committee and the Obong’s Palace, assuring that the State had already been properly demarcated into units to enhance the exercise.
The State Director also noted that within the coming days, the National office will schedule a date for the training of enumerators ahead of the exercise, saying “We are here to solicit support from the people through the throne.”
In his speech, the Chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Cross River State Chapter and member of the Census Publicity Committee, Rev. (Dr) Takis Etim Caiafas said the committee has been carrying out the national assignment of enlightening the public and eliciting buy-in ahead of the 2023 Census exercise.
He said the Christian community has already been adequately enlightened on the effect of the exercise and completely supports the forthcoming Census.
“The Census will help us economically. We must not shortchange ourselves by not participating in the exercise. The Kingdom must entreat her subjects to be part of the headcount,” the CAN Chairman stated.
Also part of the Census Publicity team were the State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Cross River State Council, Mr Nsa Gill, the State Chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations, Mr Benedict Okache, General Manager, Cross River State Newspaper Corporation, Mr Emmanuel Unah, past Chairman of the NUJ, Cross River State, Mr Victor Udu, among others.
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