Census Politics In Nigeria: An Examination of 2006 Population Census
Ever since the independence of Nigeria in 1960, scholars as well as developmental experts have sought to divulge the reasons for the nation’s protracted underdevelopment. These efforts gained momentum, following the oil boom of the 1970s, in which the nation boasted of having lots of money at its disposal to the extent that its problem became what to use the money for, yet there was no visible development or its indicators in the country. Most of the studies averred that corruption, tribalism and nepotism, an established system of mediocrity cum general administrative ineptitude account so much for the nation’s developmental catastrophe. This research work, though not completely denying the fact that the abovementioned issues in one way or the other contribute to the nation’s developmental crisis, contend that Nigeria’s developmental problems are inextricably intertwined with Census Politics as observed in the 2006 population census of the federation. Data generated from population census is amongst other things used in determining who gets what, when and why in the Nigerian federation. Consequently, there has been an unending drive towards inflation of census figures amongst Nigerian states, geared towards obtaining the advantages accruing from having higher population figures in the country. This scenario has created a situation of distributive imbalance and subsequently, injustice in the allocation of funds and other resources in the federation. It is observed from our study that the root cause of the jostle towards falsification of population census figures in Nigeria remains the inadequacies in the practices of revenue allocations in the country. The fact that considerable attention is being paid to generative capacity, as well as landmass amongst other principles has created and fortified the character of census that now obtains in the country and which was manifested in the 2006 population census. States with limited access to natural resources tend to see the population exercise as the only means available for them to bridge the gap created by absence and/ or inadequacy of natural resources. This accounts so much for the manipulation of the 2006 census figures in the country. As a result of high intrusion of politics in the 2006 population counts, there has been widespread discrepancy between revenue allocation to states and the call for its rejection.