Why Statistician General Should Be Member Of FEC – Shehu Sani

Human Rights Activist and former Senator Representing Kaduna Central, Senator Shehu Sani has advanced reasons why the Statistician General of the Federation should be a member of the Federal Executive Council (FEC).

Senator Sani spoke at the National Stakeholders Engagement Workshop for the Drafting of the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) Phase III, on Tuesday in Abuja.

He suggested that before the start of the FEC meeting, the Statistician General should give the statistics of the week to guide the President on what to discuss.

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“I don’t see a reason why we have the Federal Executive Council Meeting every week without the Statistician General of the Federation being among them.

“Because to me, just like you open a gathering with a prayer, if the President is sitting down in a council, the first person he is supposed to call to open the meeting is the Statistician General of the Federation.

“Give us the Statistics for this week so we know what we are going to discuss”, he said.

He noted that “if those in positions of power will discover and prioritise the importance of the data that comes from the bureau, we could not have made a lot of mistakes which we have made as a country”.

Sani said, the 8-point Agenda of President Bola Tinubu was commendable, however, it should be backed with data.

“We now have 8-point agenda which I know touches on Security, Education, Youth Employment, Industry, Agriculture, Health, and so on. But these are all lofty goals, if we want to do things differently, it must be backed with data.

“This forum and the new strategy that is going to be developed from 2024 onwards should be a new face where every Nigerian knows the value of data that will guide him in what he says, what he does, how policy and programmes of government are being drafted and implemented

On his part, foremost Economics Professor, and Former Chief Executive of the National Planning Commission, Ode Ojowu said, as the country continues on the transformative endeavour, it is essential to recognise the global best practices in statistical development that are imperative to the country’s success.

Prof. Ojowu said, Nigeria must draw inspiration from nations that have set remarkable benchmarks in the field.

He said, countries such as Sweden, the United States, and South Korea have demonstrated the significance of robust statistical systems in shaping informed policy decisions and fostering economic growth.

According to him, “emphasis on transparency, accuracy, timeliness in data collection, expanded stakeholder participation and determination has been a cornerstone of their success”.

To emulate these global leaders, he said, Nigeria should prioritise the principle of Professionalism, independence, and international cooperation in its statistical development efforts”, Ojowu said.

He noted that it was paramount that the NBS maintains its autonomy, ensuring that the data it produces remains impartial and free from undue influence.

“By adhering to international Standards and collaborating with global statistical organisations, Nigeria can foster a reputation for data reliability and integrity, thereby attracting investments and engendering trust among policymakers, businesses, and the general public”, he said.

Moving forward, he said, “it is crucial to recognise the need for continuity and developmental plans. The National Strategy for the Development of Statistics in Nigeria is a long-term endeavour that transcends political cycles and government changes.

“It is imperative that this Strategy becomes a part of Nigeria’s National Agenda 2050 (NA 2050), with a commitment to its successful implementation regardless of political transitions”, he said.


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