Nigeria's head of state General Yakubu Gowon on Tuesday (23 July) appealed to his countrymen "in the name of God" to help make the nation's post census enumeration check a success.
CU Sign "State House Dodan Barracks"
LV INT General Gowon taking seat for broadcast (3 shots)
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CU General Gowon speaking
GENERAL GOWON: "I wish to appeal to all of you, citizens of this country, to be honest and sincere with the enumerators and to give the census officers maximum cooperation. It is the duty of every citizen to give correct information during the Post Enumeration Check. Anybody who gives wrong information will be doing a great disservice to the nation, to himself and to the present and future generations of Nigerians."
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Background: Nigeria's head of state General Yakubu Gowon on Tuesday (23 July) appealed to his countrymen "in the name of God" to help make the nation's post census enumeration check a success.
The counting of Nigerians is such a sensitive issue that ten years ago it touched off ethnic infighting that eventually led to two coups and a 30-month civil war.
In a nation-wide broadcast on radio and television, General Gowon said the check on the controversial results of the 1973 full census would be carried out throughout the country on August second and third, involving five per cent of the population.
The full census conducted last November showed Nigeria's provisional population as 79.7 million but already the figures have provoked a controversy.
Nigeria's opposition leader in the last civilian Parliament, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, has alleged that the population census has sowed the seeds for renewed ethnic strife. Chief Awolowo said he was impelled to the conclusion that the provisional census figures were totally unreliable and should be rejected by the Federal Military Government.
All Nigeria's censuses except the last one had shown the South was gaining in population at the expense of the North, which in 1931 had 58 per cent of the population, in 1953, 55 per cent and in 1963 54 per cent. Yet the provisional census figures show that the Northern states of Kano and North Eastern have nearly doubled in population in the past ten years, while Western State, for example, had suffered a population decline.