Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Information mismanagement

The census has, er, started. I hesitate because as usual, there is an almighty information balls-up at work. First, we were told to stay at home Tues-Sat. Then, the President stepped in and said we only have to be grounded Fri and Sat. Meanwhile, Lagos State had already decreed that everyone must stay home for the whole 5 days, as originally planned. Lagos has apparently shut down for the week. Now, the FCT minister has apparently announced that everyone must leave work by 12 (or 2?) Tues-Thu, with everyone staying at home Fri and Sat. But then I caught the Information Minister on NTA last night implying that only those who hadn't already been counted and who received a calling card must stay home Fri and Sat. It's all very confusing. I went to see a Director witin a govt agency today and asked him what he planned to do. He said every now and then, he peeps out of the window. If everyone starts leaving the building, he will too!

Worse still, enumerators across the country are complaining they haven't been paid, either for the training or for the work itself, or both. This has led to some unpleasant situations in different parts of the country. One can now see the logic of excluding ethnicity and religion from the indices - what turmoil that would have caused. I'm also not sure if they are counting ex-pats/non-Nigerians or not. Ultimately, I think everything will go off ok. We will finally get to know how big Lagos is, and how many people live in Nigeria (not sure when the results will be published tho).


Akin 6:18 pm  

At the risk of showning my age. I remember one fine Saturday morning in Jos in 1973 when the enumerator came round.

It was all like happy families, daddy, mummy, children, servants all count with all the more adult discussions going on between daddy and the enumerator with mummy chipping in.

Then we got our thumbs stained with indelible ink as the census activity was to last a week.

I do not remember the country being shut down for this activity.

However, because state budgets depended on federal allocations it is safe to assume some states inflated their figures for some sort of benefit.

It is therefore no wonder that the census of 1963 still features in projection even after a few other attempts at this activity.

Unfortunately, the government has not realised that the crucial issue here is logistics.

You get that wrong and any business would go under.

After all the planning it is sad that the census has started with confusing messages.

Another opportunity for politics to play havoc on results that appear in 2007 after some states have either been shorted or bloated.

Even Ceasar of the Bethlehem census fate when Jesus was born seemed to be more clued in about logistics.

Learn we must, but learning from history helps.



tobias,  2:15 pm  

I agree, I went to my office yesterday only to find it closed. No one told me.

The lack of information might be caused more by our Indian (mis)management than the Nigerian government though, but it does not come without its advantages; this morning we drove on emtpy streets to the golf course in Ewokoro (before 8am) - it was a delight not running into busy trafic.

Of course the day we wanted to play golf God opened his skies and made it impossible to play - never play golf in thunder and lightening.

We drove back again on open roads 830am against the rules of Ogun state and now hoping it will clear up for a game of tennis this afternoon, or at least for a game of golf this Saturday - if allowed traveling that is!?!

"Aldri så galt det ikke er godt for noe," as we say in Norway.

Joy 9:16 pm  

Following in Akin's footsteps, I also recall being counted. Don't recall it being such a big deal back then. Perhaps I was a kid in a fabulous age of innocence who knows...

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