The proprietor of the Abuja-based fast growing women football club, Naija Ratels FC, and founder of Ratel Sports Development Foundation (RSDF) Barrister Paul Edeh, has charged the Nigerian government to facilitate the availability of an accurate database through a viable census.
He gave the charge during a novelty football match between the Nigeria Women Football League side, Naija Ratels and FCT selected side comprising coaches and sports journalists played at the Area 3 pitch, Abuja.
According to him, Nigeria is bedeviled with people who pay lip service to weightier matters, and make things of little or no consequences a priority.
“Too often we pay lip service to what really matters. You will agree with me that the demographic Nigeria has not really been captured to the extent that it will give the government the leverage to be able to plan how to manage the populace.
Indeed, we also know that there are some thematic areas in gender violence, poverty, and so many others we need to draw attention. So, the world population day held every 11th day of July gives us that opportunity to highlight the need for us to be able to have a viable census.
“You will agree with me that the last time we had a census in Nigeria was held in 2006. 2006 till date you can imagine the world population has grown in Nigeria and we don’t even have accurate data. So, today we have come to say there is the need for us to be able to know our population so that we will be able to plan and indeed apportion our scarce resources available to the government,” Barrister Edeh said.
The philanthropist reiterated his commitment to partner the government and spirited non-governmental organisations to galvanize efforts toward producing a tenable census (database) that will aid planning and allocate scarce resources.
“For now we did this without support. If the resources are available, why not. We look forward to collaborating in future with the government, spirited Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Nigerians who would help us continue galvanizing efforts in ensuring we have a tenable census. aAS long as we do not act and act now, I think we will continue to lend the voice to ensure we have a census that is worthy. We know that the government is planning one for next year but we are also doubtful because 2023 is an election year and a new government coming on board may not seek to have that as its priority. That’s why this year’s event is even very important.
“My message is three fold. First to the government. There is a need for us to act now. We cannot continue to have inaccurate data and that’s why you can see that the poverty rate in Nigeria has continued to be on the rise because we do not have the right tools to be able to measure where our wealth should be distributed.”