Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State has warned that the availability of sufficient and accurate data is necessary for effective planning and management by any Government.
Governor Emmanuel spoke when he received the Director General of the National Identity Management Commission, Abuja, Engr. Aliyu Aziz, at the Executive Chamber of his office in Uyo.
He said it was not proper for people to exist in the country for several years without being in tune with the actual population of the country, saying that proper information of the number of people in the country will help in planning.
He noted the apathy among Nigerians in going out to be enlisted for the national identity cards exercise saying “urge people to start taking the exercise serious”.
“Even the current voters’ registration that we are doing, it is as if we must beg people to go and get registered; I know there are so many states that have higher population just like my state, but they are using information of about 20 years ago to say that Akwa Ibom is a small state.”
He said the state has a population of 6.2 million people, which makes it bigger than several world countries, and added that apart from being interested in his own state’s population, he seeks to know the population of other places to further help him in his management development plans since the world is now a global village.
The Governor lamented that the value of crude oil is dropping in the international market, explaining that his administration is exploring other means of investing for the future.
He recounted that the social media has been awash in recent times with negative news against the state’s planned investments expansion in Lagos, but explained that Lagos holds the ace in property investments in Nigeria.
The Governor who was surprised at the ignorance displayed by some people said, “When you want to make money, you go to Lagos, when you want to share money you go to Abuja,” and promised to partner with the Director General in his development plans.
Earlier, Engr. Aliyu Aziz had said that 18.5million Nigerians have so far been enrolled in the 805 enrollment centers in the country.
He said only 3,400 people have so far been captured in the state and added that only 25 out of the 31 Local Government Areas in the state have been covered by the commission which was established in 2007 by an act of parliament to provide identity management for the country.
He said that his commission enrolls both citizens and legal residents into the system before they are issued a multipurpose card.
He said digital identification is required for survival in the 21st century, and wondered how Nigeria had been surviving over the years without forms of identification as obtainable in other world countries.
“Our vision is to provide sustainable world class identity management solution, to affirm identity and enhance governance and service delivery in Nigeria by 2019,” he added.
The NIMC boss explained that his commission has also been saddled with the responsibility of establishing and regulating a reliable and sustainable system of national identity management that enable a citizen or legal resident affirm their identity in an environment of innovation and excellence.
He commended the Governor on his breakthroughs in the power sector in the state and thanked the State Chief Executive for his support to the commission.