The Government of Akwa Ibom State has re-stated commitment to ensure maximum success of the ongoing Enumeration Area Demarcation (EAD) exercise and the subsequent 2018 population and housing census in the State.
The Special Adviser, Bureau of Political, Legislative Affairs and Water Resources, Rt. Hon. (Barr.) Ekong Sampson gave the assurance on behalf of Akwa Ibom State Government during an interface meeting with the Officials of the National Population Commission (NPC) and Chairmen of the 31 Local Government Councils in the State during the week in Uyo, the State’s capital.
The Honourable Special Adviser revealed that the essence of the meeting was to further drive the State Government support for the ongoing pre-census exercise. He said the astute commitment of His Excellency Governor Udom Emmanuel to the success of the 2018 census, from its prelude stage, was informed by his acknowledgement of the fact that for any effective and sustainable development to be achieved, reliable demographic data is key. This, he added can only be acquired through a credible census.
For Akwa Ibom State Government, he said, no effort was too much to be made towards the success and optimum outcome the exercise. He said with the Political Inclusion agenda of the present administration, the Government of the State at all levels is willing to extend handshake across borders in matters of State interest. “We are bonded across party lines, we are bonded by common interest, and that interest is Akwa Ibom”, Ekong Sampson added.
He restated that Census and National Identity Management programmes are basic economic planning programmes. They are about standing up to be counted, being captured in planning and being provided for. They are extremely important national policies that should not be subjected to transient political interests.
Barrister Ekong Sampson said Governor Udom Emmanuel has exemplified patriotism in being mindful of the general interest of the states and by extension the federation and in ensuring that policy drives politics and not the other way round. He urged Nigeria and other federating states to emulate such. Describing political parties as mere vehicles and state the destination, he decried the miscalculation in the polity, where politics is still allowed pre-eminence over policy at a time when development oriented governance should be the case.
The Honourable Federal Commissioner in the National Population Commission, Engr. (Chief) Benedict Ukpong FNSE, expressed gratitude for the warm reception and cooperation he and his Commission has received from His Excellency, Governor Udom Emmanuel since assumption of office. He particularly commended the celerity of the Special Adviser in mobilizing the Heads of Local Government Councils in the State, which according to him, represent the entire and very fundamental structure of the state.
The Honourable Federal Commissioner, who had been a running-mate on the APC ticket for the gubernatorial elections in the State, supported the position of Barrister Ekong Sampson that he is in the State to serve the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Akwa Ibom State and not to deepen party lines. He said the interest of the State was paramount, soliciting the support of Council Chairmen in areas of sensitization and mobilization, security and cooperation of communities with enumerators.
The Nta-nta Oro revealing his observation that within the short time of his stay in the State, there has been so many occasions of births, registered and unregistered, naming ceremonies, children dedications and the likes, with very few obituaries, reiterated the need to ensure a comprehensive exercise that will capture all variables.
Engr. Ben Ukpong informed the State that the ongoing enumeration exercise was of utmost importance and would be done in collaboration with INEC and UNICEF, and with the use of GIS facilities to ensure all requirements were met.
The Permanent Secretary in the Bureau of Political and Legislative Affairs, Mr. Nse Edem commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for all he has put in place for the exercise and the Special Adviser for carrying the people along. He promised that Bureau will do all that is required to make the exercise a success.