…speaks on census
BEING THE COMMUNIQUE AT THE END OF THE REGULAR MONTHLY GENERAL MEETING OF THE AFENIFERE HELD AT THE RESIDENCE OF OUR LEADER CHIEF AYO ADEBANJO AT ISANYA OGBO OGUN STATE ON TUESDAY 25TH APRIL 2023.
- 000 PREAMBLE.
Afenifere held its Regular monthly General Meeting today, the 25th day of April 2023, at the residence of our Leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo at Isanya Ogbo, Ogun State, which Meeting had in attendance delegates from the member states and presided over by our Leader aforesaid; and after exhaustive deliberations on the state of the Nigerian Federation, Observed and Resolved as follow:
1.0 ON TTHE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Afenifere reiterates our position that the emergence of a President of Southern and specifically South Eastern origin will guarantee equity, fairness and peaceful corporate existence of the Nigerian federation and for which we continue to support the victory of Peter Obi of the Labour Party in the 25th February Presidential election and all his endeavours in its realisation.
2.0 THE JUDICIARY AND THE 2023 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION.
Afenifere strongly calls on the judiciary to ensure that all petitions in respect of the Presidential election be timeously and justly resolved before the end of the tenure of the Buhari administration as the only way the confidence of Nigerians in its intervention may be earned. Precedents in this regard have been laid even by less endowed countries in Africa.
3.0 BUHARI’S MESSAGE OF FORGIVENESS TO NIGERIANS.
3.1 Afenifere considers the request of President Buhari for pardon “by those he might have hurt along the line of his services to the country” as rather short in statesmanship which demands that such apologies be extended to all Nigerians who have been traumatised especially by the pervasive insecurity and marooned in economic quagmire which in the last 8 years have rendered life most uninspiring, nasty, brutish and short.
3.2 That it is rather shameful and painful that the President would celebrate, as achievement, the purported containment of insecurity in Abuja where the sovereignty of the nation has been wantonly challenged by terrorists routinely routing the Presidential convoy, Correctional Centres attacked and emptied and some Local Governments in neighbouring Niger State in effective occupation by Boko Haram.
3.2 Afenifere further notes the President’s lamentations of his serial loss of elections until “God sent technology to my rescue through the introduction of the PVC” . It is rather more lamentable that the manifest desires of Buhari to improve on the efficacy of the technological processes, inherited from Jonathan, by assenting the 2022 Electoral Act with the BVAS and IREV components, were thwarted by the INEC and security agencies under his watch, while high level officers of his government were befuddled by partisan considerations to justify relapse to primitivity.
4.0 THE 2023 NATIONAL CENSUS.
4.1 Afenifere bemoans the unthinkable insistence of the Buhari administration in conducting the 2023 National Census in spite of the objective realities which make such an important national exercise most inauspicious in timing and impossible in credible implementation.
4.2 Afenifere recalls that in a paper it presented at the National Consultative Forum on the 2023 Census held at the Banquet Hall, State House Abuja on the 11th August 2022, it reiterated the imperative of census in national development noting that the application and misuse of Census data had been our bane as a country where we lie to ourselves and the world about our number indulging in laughable projections sometimes based on assumed and fixed percentage of population growth across different parts notwithstanding glaring variables.
4.3 It is in the light of the importance of credible exercise that, in the August 2022 Conference, we strongly advised against the conduct of the Census which, among other reasons, we said could not possibly hold in the same year of a General election. 4.4 Other well meaning personalities and institutions including the UNFPA Resident Representative in Nigeria who at another Conference in PortHarcourt on the 26th-29th March 2023 and most recently the Methodist Church Nigeria, Diocese of Calabar which all have raised concerns on the possibility of reasonable and genuine participation in an acceptable headcount in the current mood of the nation.
4.5 That Afenifere is particularly bemused that Government expects participation in headcount by citizens still incensed and distraught by the trauma of violence and brigandage of the elections or by those in IDP camps within their country in whose ancestral homes terrorists in occupation will now be counted as new indigenes.
4.6 That all factors considered, including its inability to supervise a transparent electoral process, a lesser headcount exercise, the integrity deficiency of this administration is abysmally compounded in conducting census which partisan disputes in Nigeria is often at the level of communities, states and ethnic nationalities having been politicised overtime.
4.7 Afenifere decries the most insensitive deployment of over 800 bilion Naira on this wasteful exercise as scandalous and an economic offence.
4.8. Afenifere conclusively says there is no compelling reason why the census must be held by the expiring Buhari administration and calls for all steps and preparations in that regards to be stopped FORTHWITH.
Issued and signed at Isanya Ogbo, Ogun State this 25th day of April 2023.
Chief Ayo Adebanjo
Chief Sola Ebiseni