Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode has underscored the importance of accurate data gathering to national development, urging the national body of all statisticians in the country to improve the process of data gathering and collation for the use of government institutions and research purposes.
The Governor, represented by his Special Adviser on Education, Mr. Obafela Bank-Olemoh gave the charge at the opening session of the 1st International Conference of the Nigerian Statistical Association, NSA with the theme “Positioning National Statistical System for Data Revolution and Inclusive Development” on Wednesday in Lagos.
Ambode stated that data collation and analysis was key to good planning in other to achieve all inclusive governance, adding that the present administration places a high premium on statistics for even distribution of basic social amenities across the state for the benefit of the citizenry.
While acknowledging the enormous task ahead of NSA and its professional members, the Governor tasked participants at the Conference to use the platform to strategize the proper ways to carry out data collation, analysis and dissemination.
The Governor promised that the State Government was determined to provide funding to ensure that reliable, acceptable and right statistics were provided in good quality and timely.
He also expressed optimism that the outcome of the conference would help the state to redefine strategies for improving statistical data production, usage and dissemination.
In his address, the President of Nigerian Statistical Association (NSA), Professor Sidney Onyeagu said statistics help to provide sound information to enhance policy formulation and strategic planning in the public and private sector of the economy.
He noted that the conference will generate novel ideas that will help position national statistical system to address the challenges arising from data revolution and the need to provide data support policy makers towards achieving inclusive development.
Professor Onyeagu also acknowledged the tremendous improvement in social infrastructure and development in Lagos State since the inception of the present administration, adding that the Association, since its 41 years existence, had never received the recognition accorded it by the Lagos State Government from any other state in the country.
The Director of Statistics, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr Mohammed Tumala, called on government institutions to understand and acknowledge the importance of statistics towards the attainment of National development, stressing that all hands must be on deck to accord the profession its rightful recognition.
He encouraged members of the association to partner with Central Bank of Nigeria in the areas of research and data collation as the bank has a unit solely saddled with such responsibility, adding that this will help the bank understand the country better for policy making.
The guest lecturer, Mr. Michel Mouyelo Katoula in his lecture titled: “How Useful are our Statistics to Government at all levels and the Ordinary Citizens”, stated that statistics is a vital source of evidence that helps provide clear objectives on critical aspects of a country life, population, economic performance, health, poverty and well-being.
He noted that data is significant from the smallest unit to all levels of government for proper and accurate planning in matters that affect the lives of the masses.
He emphasized that “Data is just not the collation of numbers but it is consciousness. What we decide with today’s data will create tomorrow’s wealth, future and our consciousness and it is central to communication, research and design.”
Katoula opined that data should be used to heal our communities, to understand our sociological and behavioural patterns and to ensure social justice and survival.