Resignation from public offices is something alien to Nigeria's political class. Who will rather sit tight on their various posts despite allegations or controversies. That's why the news of Festus Odimegwu's resignation from the top job at the Nigerian Population Council (NPC) came as a surprise.
Controversies have trailed the comments credited to Festus Odimegwu in August that Nigeria has not had a credible census since 1863. These controversies are the reasons for his resignation from the office of the National Chairman of the National Population Commission, (NPC).
According to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Senator Anyim Pius Anyim, President Goodluck Jonathan accepted
Odimegwu's resignation and Dr. Sam Ahaiwe, the Commissioner representing Abia State at NPC, will act as the commission's chairman on a Temporary basis.
Now, back to Odimegwu's claims that Nigeria have not had an accurate head count since 1863. Was he right?
Well, different sections of the country have different answers to this question. The south believes the census have always been falsified to favour the north. While the north will argue that the census figures are relatively accurate.
Odimegwu blamed the irregularities on distortion and falsification of figures for selfish and political reasons by politicians, as allocations from the Federal government are somewhat based on the population of a given place.
Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwankwaso is the most vocal in attacking Odimegwu. He even called for Odimegwu's sack during a visit to President Jonathan.
Kano State is the most populated State in the country according to the 2006 census which put the population of the northern state at 9.384 million with Lagos state coming second with 9.014 million people.
Going by simple demographic
distribution pattern all over the world, population increases as one move from the hinterland (desert or savannah regions) to the coast except in the case of Nigeria where the North which lies in the arid zone, is more populous than the coastal South.
Odimegwu said his statements where from scientific research and reports from others. Though Odimegwu is no longer the NPC boss, I believe these report he spoke about needs to be studied in order to understand the curious case of Nigeria's demographic distribution and why it is a departure from what's obtainable else where.
And until these questions are answered, the constant argument of falsified population data will continue.