Chairman, National Population Commission, Chief Festus Odimegwu
The Presidency has queried the Chairman of the National Population Commission, Chief Festus Odimegwu, over his reported comments on the nation’s past census.
Our correspondent gathered in Abuja on Tuesday that the Presidency felt the comments negated his position as the NPC boss.
A source in the Presidency said, “Odimegwu was queried over some comments that were credited to him in the newspapers.”
Before the source spoke, there were speculations that he was suspended. Odumegwu, however, denied both the suspension and the query.
“There is nothing wrong,” he said when contacted on the query and the alleged suspension, adding, “it is the propaganda of those who are jittery concerning the reforms we are bringing to the NPC.”
“What they are saying is not true; it is blackmail. It is propaganda and that is their wish. You should know that if wishes were horses, beggars would be riding every day,” he stated.
Odimegwu had in a recent interview with journalists in Abuja said the country had not had any credible census since 1816.
He had blamed the irregularity on the distortion and falsification of figures for selfish and political reasons.
Odimegwu said, “No census has been credible in Nigeria since 1816. Even the one conducted in 2006 is not credible. I have the records and evidence produced by scholars and professors of repute. This is not my report. If the current laws are not amended, the planned 2016 census will not succeed.”
But the Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankanso, at a meeting with President Goodluck Jonathan faulted the appointment of the NPC boss.
In an interview with State House correspondents, Kwankanso “I also raised the issue of the Chairman of the National Population Commission headed by one Festus Odimegwu.
“We are not happy about that appointment, and think that it was a mistake. Odimegwu shouldn’t be there in the first place, why because, you see unfortunately we were together, somebody read his curriculum vitae.
“He had only one thing in alcoholic industry, all his life. And my guess is that he’s taking a lot of his products and that is why we feel that his appointment is a mistake because he cannot be the Chairman of NPC and at the same time attacking what his predecessor had done.”
The NPC, in its reaction, faulted Kwankwaso’s comments.
In a statement by the Chairperson of the NPC Public Affairs Committee , Oluseyi Aderinokun-Olusanya, the commission said “the governor’s call for the sack of NPC chairman was diversionary, ill-advised and a reckless attempt to politicise the yet-to-be conducted 2016 census.”