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Meet Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami, Minister of Communications  

Soni Daniel

Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim known as (Dr) Isa Ali Pantami hails from Pantami District of Gombe State. Prior to his appointment as the DG/CEO of NITDA, he worked as an Academic in various capacities. Before joining a formal school, he spent more than four years in Tsangaya Traditional School learning Qur’an.

Pantami, communication, minister
Dr Isa Ibrahim Pantami

He later attended and completed both his Primary and Secondary Education in Gombe State with excellent results. After secondary education, he spent almost 3 more years learning advanced Religious knowledge. He attended Federal University of Technology Bauchi (Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University) where he obtained his first degree of B. Tech in Computer Science in 2003. He also obtained an MSc in Computer Science 2008/2009 session and MBA in Technology Management 2010/2011 session from the same University.

In addition, he obtained his Ph.D. in Computer Information Systems and Post Graduate Certificate in Research Methods from the prestigious Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland, and the United Kingdom. He is a CCNA certified professional.

He lectured at the Federal University of Technology Bauchi (ATBU), Nigeria for over a decade. He taught courses such as Multimedia, Software Engineering, Hardware Technology, Software Technology, Fundamentals of Software Engineering, Advance Programming languages, Management Information Systems, and Geographic Information Systems, among others.

He also supervised over eight postgraduate and over 100 undergraduate students. Furthermore, he held many positions in the Faculty and was a member of four major University committees constituted by the University Council.

Furthermore, Dr Isa moved to the International Islamic University of Madinah where he served as an Associate Professor and Head of Technical Writing. He also taught courses such as Operations Research, Software Engineering, Information Systems Application and Principles of Marketing. He was also the Secretary and member of three major committees: University Accreditation Committee, Staff Training, and Development Committee, and the Information Technology Committee.

He has authored more than a dozen books on many areas ranging from Technology, Religion and Peaceful coexistence and over 15 publications in International Journals.

Since assuming office as the DG/CEO of NITDA, he has impacted his extensive knowledge and experience as a thoroughbred professional on the Nigerian IT Sector. His initiatives in the sector are largely responsible for the renewed vigour and focus in the industry. He has sustained an unprecedented level of professionalism and compliance in the sector.

Major achievements that may have earned him the ministerial appointment

Under his leadership, a strong foundation for ICT development, adoption and grown through effective regulation was built.

According to him, he had ensured the agency walked the talk and builds an enabling environment for the growth of ICT industry; pave the way for efficient and sustainable use and adoption of ICT for the development and growth of the country.

NITDA under his administration had presented five (5‘) regulatory instruments before a select group of public institutions, private organisations and individual Nigerians who have excelled in their spaces as part of its rulemaking process to review and make inputs to the draft regulations.

Two out of the five documents presented and three additional documents that have passed through our rulemaking process are to be signed off today. They are Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as amended; Nigeria e-Govemment Interoperability Framework (Ne-GlF); Nigeria ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision (NIIEV); Nigeria Cloud Computing Policy (NCCP) and Framework and Guidelines for ICT Adoption in Tertiary Institutions. Following the adoption, the agency on Friday, 25th January 2019, launched and signed off the five regulatory instruments.

In a similar vein, the agency last week officially signed off on five (5) additional regulatory instruments for the second quarter of 2019. These regulatory instruments according to the agency were meant to address fundamental issues in our journey to greatness as a nation.

While unveiling the five additional Regulatory Instruments, Pantami, said one of his biggest and strategic achievements in NITDA is reactivation of the regulatory functions of the agency. He noted that tremendous progress had been made in the ICT sector since the reactivation of the regulatory instruments.

He noted that more digital jobs have been created ever than before following the renewed vigour in the regulation of the IT sector. He also added that consumption of indigenous ICT brand had increased; the unprecedented contribution of the ICT sector to the economy; improvement of the quality of digital services and as well as quality value of IT to our socio-economic development.

Pantami further stated that his administration had also laid the foundation for digital transformation in Nigeria, and charged his successor to sustain these efforts. 

Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as amended

The NITDA boss said though, the maiden regulatory guidelines for Nigerian content development in ICT was launched in 2013 based on changing realities such as the dynamism and changing capacity of the ICT industry, they amended the maiden edition according to new opportunities that are beginning to emerge and the fact that the maiden guidelines were meant to be reviewed after five (5) years. Through the implementation of the maiden guidelines, he explained that NITDA  was able to develop the local ICT industry better which ensured it increased contribution to GDP. He added that the amended guidelines are focused on accelerating the development of indigenous skills, technology transfer, use of indigenous manpower and local manufacturing.

Nigeria e-Government Interoperability Framework (Ne-GIF).

We have a serious challenge of interoperability of government information technology systems, sharing and exchange of information among public institutions. This challenge has been a clog in the wheel of efficient delivery of government digital services.

“Nigeria as a developing country has her own share of good experience of e-Government or ICT adoption for streamlining and improving governance. Such good initiatives where Nigeria has recorded successes in using ICT to drive government policies include Treasury Single Account (TSA), Integrated Personnel Payroll Information System (IPPIS), Government Information Financial Management Information System(GIFMIS), Bank Verification Number (BVN), e-Taxation, e-passport among others. Most of the times, it is difficult for these systems to talk to each other. This has created unnecessary inefficiency, inconvenience, delay in service delivery and caused citizens to pay more for government digital services.”

Nigeria ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision (NIIEV)

The Nigeria ICT Innovation and Entrepreneurship Vision (NIIEV) is a compendium of policy recommendations and incentives designed to strengthen the Nigerian technology ecosystem.

It consists of Digital Infrastructure development, Education Reform, Skills Development and R&D as well as Support for ICT Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Innovation.

Pantami said NITDA has through this instrument been engaging investors, hubs, entrepreneurs, innovators, academia, government among other stakeholders to collectively identify challenges encountered in the ecosystem and determine ways to address those challenges. “NITDA produced the NIIEV as a policy response to the aggregated demands of the tech ecosystem. The NIIEV will be implemented through the Office {0,151 innovation and Entrepreneurship (011E) a subsidiary of NITDA.

“President Muhammadu Buhari in his speech at 2018 eNigeria Conference gave a clear directive that the NIIEV must be fully implemented. I am sure that OIIE will collaborate with relevant stakeholders to ensure effective implementation.’’

Nigeria Cloud Computing Policy

Pantami described the NCCP as a set of policy statements that articulate government’s strategic plan and direction for cloud computing adoption in the public sector and by Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) that provide ICT-enabled services to the Government. Computing resources for him could be expensive to deploy, difficult to access or manage by most public institutions and SMEs. But the NCCP was aimed to nip in the bud these challenges. ‘‘The Policy has a “Cloud First” value proposition aimed at promoting cloud computing as a “first choice” consideration for acquiring and deploying computing resources by public institutions and SMEs that provide digital-enabled services to the government except where the cause of deployment is related to national security concerns or cloud is not the best option politically and economically.”

Framework and Guidelines for ICT Adoption in Tertiary Institutions

Pantami said we cannot go far as a nation if the adoption of ICT in our dear tertiary institutions is not systemic and coherent. As the world is becoming digital and tertiary institutions are where our leaders of tomorrow would come from, he opined that we must ensure a digitally conducive environment in our tertiary institutions. He insisted that modern education demands an appreciation of core 1T principles, systems and methodology for such academic endeavour to be regarded as functional. The goal here he said is to provide a flexible and comprehensive general framework and guidelines for the deployment of ICT tools in Nigerian tertiary institutions for effective and efficient support of the core business processes of teaching, learning, research, and administration.

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