President Jonathan's Speech at the Inauguration of the Population Commission

It is my pleasure to perform the formal inauguration of one of the Federal Government’s major statutory bodies, the National Population Commission (NPC).

The critical place of the NPC in the realization of our Administration’s holistic Transformation Agenda can be properly appreciated when we consider the established fact that there cannot be genuine, sustained development if it is not anchored on accurate and reliable data. No meaningful planning is possible without dependable data and statistics.

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This informs why we have chosen these distinguished men and women of noteworthy antecedents to run the affairs of the National Population Commission as Chairman and Members.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, while congratulating you on your appointments, I would like to reiterate the fact that you have been selected to serve on this august Commission on account of your proven integrity, unwavering patriotism, and uncommon sense of duty. It is my hope, therefore, that you will bring these worthy attributes to bear on the discharge of this very vital national assignment.

You are expected to demonstrate the highest standards in the discharge of your constitutional mandate. This entails conducting periodic censuses and the dissemination of accurate demographic data about the country.

As you are aware, the last census which took place in 2006, was conducted using cutting-edge technology, including satellite imagery and electronic data reading technology. The entire members of the previous Commission which conducted the 2006 national census deserve our commendation.

The Commission being inaugurated today is expected to carry on from the lofty heights where their predecessors left off, and consolidate on their achievements, taking the National Population Commission to the next level. This would require total commitment and diligence of the highest order: attributes which I am confident that our new Commissioners epitomize.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, as we strive to build a strong, united, progressive, and stable nation, we must eschew the temptation to pander to primordial sentiments and divisive tendencies. We should rather focus on emphasizing the strength of our diversity and the renowned resilience and creativity that mark us apart as a uniquely gifted people. It is in this context that I advise that we must never subject the sensitive issue of census figures and demographics to the expediency of cheap political advantage, with its potential for avoidable discord.

At the same time, members of the Commission must be conscious of the imperative to be guided at all times by the principles of integrity, accountability and transparency, and the need to function in the overall national interest at all times.

As we move towards 2016, the planning for a successful census should commence in earnest. In the meantime, there should be continuous update of the figures and statistics that we have. As a first charge, the Commission should ensure that the vital registration system is completed by 2015.

Beyond providing us with the numbers, it is our expectation that the National Population Commission will be more dynamic in its approach to population matters by providing real time data, which will provide us key economic and social statistics for planning purposes

I assure you that the Federal Government will be unstinting in its support for you as you face up to the vital task of providing Nigerians with accurate, dependable, and functionally useful demographic data.

While congratulating you all and wishing you every success in your assignment, it is my honour and pleasure to formally inaugurate the National Population Commission to the glory of God and the enduring development of our nation.

Thank you.



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