The apex pan-Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, has condemned some political interests that forced Mr. Festus Odimegwu, to resign his appointment as the Chairman of the National Population Commission.
Odimegwu, who had been under pressure to resign, since early August when he discredited past censuses, claiming they were manipulated to give political advantage to a section of the country, sent his resignation letter to President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday.
The federal government had through the Secretary-General of the Federation (SGF), Chief Anyim Pius Anyim, immediately accepted his resignation, which took effect from Thursday, Oct. 17, while Dr. Sam Ahaiwe, the commissioner representing Abia State in the Commission, was appointed to act in his stead, pending when a substantive head would be appointed.
The spokesman of the Afenifere, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, told SUNDAY PUNCH that it was unfortunate that political interests, bent on maintaining status quo had succeeded in removing Odimegwu, for saying the truth about past censuses starting from 1816.
Odumakin said, “It is unfortunate that some vested political interests in this country have forced Odimegwu to resign. Though Odimegwu has resigned, the issues that he raised will not resign. He has opened our eyes to the politics of manipulation of census, which has ensured that we have not had a credible census all these years. Whoever is succeeding Odimegwu should take note of the issues he has raised.”
Odumakin also noted that the restructuring of Nigeria, which will likely take place after the proposed national conference, will reduce the political significance of census in the country.
The Federal Government queried Odimegwu after the Kano State Governor, Rabiu Kwakwanso, the Arewa Consultative Forum and some other northern leaders protested against Odimegwu’s comment on past censuses and called for his removal.
Some other groups, including the Afenifere and the Christian Association of Nigeria in the 19 Northern States and Abuja, had risen in defence of Odimegwu.