The Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) yesterday in Kaduna called on President Goodluck Jonathan to sack Festus Odimegwu as chairman of the National Population Commission (NPC).
The pan-northern political and cultural association made the call in a communiqué after a meeting between ACF and members of the Presidential Committee on Dialogue and Peaceful Resolution of Security Challenges in the North led by Minister of Special Duties, Alhaji Tanimu Turaki.
The communiqué which was signed by its spokesman, Anthony Sani, argued that Mr. Odimegwu’s recent utterances had exposed his inability to conduct the 2016 census in an honest manner.
The ACF was reacting to reports in the media which quoted the NPC chairman as discrediting the last census exercise, saying it was marred by widespread fraud and could not be formally released.
“Nigeria has run on falsehood for too long. We must stop this falsehood and put a stop to all of these. Because the 2006 census was not correct, the former board of NPC was unable to publish the figures. If they try it, there will be uproar”, Mr. Odimegwu was quoted as telling journalists in Abuja recently.
However, the communiqué by ACF read in part: “The meeting noted with delight the query which the Federal Government has issued Chief Odimegwu for discrediting past censuses, considering the sensitive nature of census exercise not only in Nigeria but across the globe.
“While ACF is not opposed to improvement of management practices that could bring about acceptable census needed for planning of socio-economic and political development of the country, to submit that all past censuses were manipulated in favor of a section of the country to the chagrin of the other sections may be understood but not acceptable.
“That is why ACF appeals to the Federal Government to reconsider its decision to allow the 2016 census under the watch of Chief Festus Odimegwu.”
Meanwhile, the Presidency has reportedly issued a query to Mr. Odimegwu over his statements. The query was said to have been issued to the former chief executive of Nigerian Brewery Limited through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim.