Elder statesman, Tanko Yakasai, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari to ignore some northern leaders calling for the postponement of the 2022 national census, saying the “so-called leaders” do not mean well for the Northern region and Nigeria at large.
The nonagenarian, who made the appeal on Thursday when he received a delegation of the National Population Commission (NPC) in his Kano home, said with Nigeria already several years behind on timeline for the census, it would be foolhardy to further delay the exercise as all resources already committed would turn to wastage.
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Daily Trust reports that Yakasai was reacting to the position of a group of northern leaders under the aegis of Northern Leaders of Thought, who called on the president to postpone the planned 2022 national census following their meeting on January 15 in Kaduna.
In a communique read on its behalf by Professor Doknan Decent Danjuma Shenni, a former Vice Chancellor of Plateau State University, the group said the call was in view of the large numbers of displaced Nigerians and the proximity of the census to the 2023 elections.
But Yakasai argued that an election that is still over a year away should not have any negative bearing on the census while also casting aspersion on the credibility of the group, alleging that those behind them knew the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF) and Northern Elders Forum (NEF) would see through the agenda.
“Secondly, I am suspecting some people to be behind that gathering”, he said, adding those behind the group may be southerners that are afraid the North will further assert its numerical advantage with the census.
“I am afraid it might be some individuals from the South that came to buy some of our northern people,” he said.
He added that some members of the ACF that were at the meeting might be ignorant of the real motive for the call for the postponement of the census.
“We are several years late already (for the census), and we should be late again? This is not something our leaders – politicians and other influential people should allow. They should stand firm and encourage this census. They should not allow the postponement even for a minute talk less of a day.
“The day they fixed, it should take place. It’s a one-day exercise. All the days before are for the training of personnel and other things. It is not right. Whoever said they should not do it, it’s either he does not know what he is doing or he is in alliance with our enemies.”
Daily Trust gathered that the national census is being scheduled to hold between April and May.