By Dahiru Kera –
With the world now almost reduced to a mere street in the face trending information and communication technology, the wider corners of African Nations and specifically Nigeria, are still profuse struggling to have a placement on this ‘street’. For Nigeria, it has been one frustrating effort or the other to develop its information technology complex largely by attempts by the federal authorities to regulate the ICT activities. Many believed that the regulation may be an attempt to stifle or strangulate the progress and development of the potentially blossoming ICT sector, but majorly, the inability of the government to appoint an ICT crackerjackers to manage the sector has been attributed to one of Nigeria’s albatross in the ICT world.
Therefore, any technocrat or administrator who heads the federal ICT regulatory agency has his work cut out for him; and given that the ICT sector is an all comers affair in order to reap untold financial and economic rewards, there is likely no incentive on the part of the emerging practitioners to tolerate any attempt to regulate the sector. As far as the ICT upstarts are concerned, it is everyman for himself and the sector is for all.
Today, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), has been effectively repositioned and set for better dealings by the coming of Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami as the Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the agency. Pantami is a highly motivated, articulate, competent and uncompromising professional administrator who is not attuned to cutting corners or seeking the easy way out as he has vowed to take the bull by the horns to ensure that, the development of the nation’s ICT dynamics is taken to the next level in all its positive ramifications.
Having been appointed to this strategic position on September 26, 2016 by the present administration, Pantami, a holder of Bachelor of Technology in Computer Science and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science. He did not see his appointment as a means of feathering his nest or engaging in unnecessary grandstanding or self-aggrandizement at the expense of the general public, rather, he saw his historic engagement as a call to duty, a unique opportunity to join hands in improving the nation’s ICT infrastructure for the benefit of Nigeria and the citizens.
Indeed, Pantami has engaged in unprecedented research into the computer development and advancement of the leading economies of the ICT world and he has come to the conclusion that any nation that is not advanced in the ICT is as bad as living in the Stone Age.
The ICT sector accounts for over 50 per cent of the GDP of many advanced economies as it is inexorably tied to other sectors of the economy like an umbilical cord, inseparable and tightly entwined. Dr. Pantami a team player led the management has produced a cohesive operational blueprint that would serve a regulatory standard to guide the activities of operators and other stakeholders in the ICT sector.
The intense brain storming, deliberations, research and extensive consultations by the management under Pantami’s watch was no mean assignment and was not done in a secretive or autocratic manner as all those who needed to be involved were brought in to make the process more compact.
The NITDA was created to implement the Nigerian information technology policy and co-ordinate general IT development in the country. It has been duly mandated by the NITDA Act 2007 to create a frame work for the planning, research, development, standardization, application, co-ordination, monitoring, evaluation and regulation of information technology practices, activities and systems in Nigeria.
Its role therefore, is to develop IT in Nigeria through regulatory standard, guidelines and policies, as NITDA is the clearing house for all IT projects and infrastructural development in the country. It is the primary agency for e-government implementation, internet governance and general IT development in Nigeria, a tall order you might say. In carrying out this onerous assignment, the NITDA DG has mandated the creation of a vast data base that would capture all IT projects and infrastructural development and e-government implementation in the country.
Specifically, he would need to lead his team to checkmate the excesses of the yahoo-yahoo boys giving Nigeria a very bad name, he would also need to get around and about cybercrime and security of the nation as well as the activities of the relentless hackers with their international networks if the sector’s operators are to be safeguarded.
Expectedly, the NITDA can’t work in isolation of the relevance agencies ar e involved in IT projects and infrastructural development as well as e-government implementation in Nigeria. Given this fact that, regulating a sector as vast and as complicated as the ICT sector requires partnering with the major stakeholders involved. Pantami would be multitasking as an interlocutor, arbiter, negotiator and facilitator in achieving the NITDA mandate. Indeed, the calm, and tolerant Pantami is a recipient of a post graduate degree in Computer Information Systems obtained in 2012 from the renowned Robert Gordon University, United Kingdom could as well be the proverbial round peg in a round hole to streamline the rough edges of the nation’s rofo-rofo network.
Therefore, it’s in the spirit of promoting good governance cum due diligence in the service of the nation that I join thousands of other public affairs commentators to applaud the unprecedented and remarkable feats achieved by Pantami at the leadership of NITDA. With numerous awards and recognition already in his cabinet; received both locally and internationally, the appointment of this gentleman is indeed the best demonstration of ‘the square peg in a square hole’ analogy.
– Kera a developmental journalist, writes from Kaduna