…pledges support for INEC
By Emmanuel Elebeke
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Nation Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, has pledged its readiness to support the Independent national Electoral Commission, INEC to conduct free and credible elections.
The Director General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, made the pledge at the NITDA@20 anniversary lecture and launch of the ‘NITDA Strategic Roadmap Plan and Action Plan (SRAP) (2021-2024)’ held on Thursday in Abuja.
He said, though, NITDA has always shared advisory notes with INEC on how to strengthen security of its systems and the best practices, the agency is now more prepared to see the Commission succeed in the forthcoming general elections.
‘‘NITDA mandate is for all Nigerians including INEC even though the Commission has its own independence.
‘‘We always share advisory notes with INEC on how to strengthen security its systems and the best practice they can use to achieve that. We are ready to support them’’, said Abdullahi.
Earlier in his remarks, the DG said NITDA considered its 20th anniversary critical because the agency had accomplished significant milestone in the last two decades of its establishment.
Abdullahi, who listed some of the major achievements of NITDA as: increasing internet penetration; , touching the lives of more than 2.5 million Nigerians; recent bail out of the economy from recession; attraction of more foreign investments into the digital economy sector ; creation new economic industry such as business process outsourcing, data protection and a robust software industry among others, posited that despite the multi-dimensional challenges confronting our country NITDA has grown beyond the dreams of its founders.
‘‘Twenty years is a significant milestone in the life of any institution. Some of the biggest companies in the world today were established in the last twenty years or less. Therefore, it is critical for NITDA to introspect its past and project into the future, set new targets, and improve for the better.
‘‘NITDA has grown beyond the dreams of its founders. NITDA was established to implement the Nigerian National IT Policy, which I can confidently say that we have delivered 100% with higher and deeper impacts to our economy. Now, we talk of resilience because NITDA sees digital technologies as a source of inspiration to reinvent and meet the digital age challenges in an increasingly dynamic and competitive world.
‘’We believe there is a silver lining for innovation to create prosperity for all. We have an excellent opportunity to leapfrog into the future through the 4th industrial revolution. We are blessed with the most prominent black Diaspora, resilient and resourceful youths, solid and diverse culture, abundant natural resources etc.
‘‘The NITDA of the next decade is prepared to act as an institutional catalyst to actualise the long-held dream of every Nigerian to build a Nation where peace, prosperity and justice shall reign.’’
He affirmed that the vision has been well articulated in the Nigeria Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) but added that the NDEPS needs strategic action by all relevant stakeholders to become a reality.
According to him, it was for this purpose that the agency initiated a Strategic Roadmap Plan and Action Plan (SRAP).
”This process was carried out in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders by identifying gaps and opportunities in Nigeria’s digital economy aspiration. Critical government policies and documents such as the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy, National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship policy, National Broadband Action Plan, Cybersecurity Policy, amongst others, were consulted to have strategy coherence.
‘‘This SRAP is built on seven pillars with their respective goals and objectives, which are: Developmental Regulation; Digital Literacy and Skills; Digital Transformation; Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurship; Cybersecurity; Emerging Technologies and Promotion of Indigenous Content.
‘‘The objectives of the Strategy are: to articulate a new strategy for NITDA in accordance with the current aspirations of the Government, the realities of today and the demands of the future; to contribute its quota towards the implementation of NDEPS, especially within the framework of its mandate; and to implement programs that would facilitate the digital transformation of Nigeria.’’
In his remarks, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami said the road was developed based on the National Strategy for Digital Nigeria.
He noted that the present administration has succeeded in turning the fortune of NITDA around by enhancing the career structure of service for the staff after 14 years of its existence.
He challenged NITDA to achieve the Digital Nigeria policy and also aspire higher beyond its present achievements to make the much desired difference in the economy.
The keynote speaker, Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola, who went down the memory lane of NITDA from inception, said the agency has had its own share of successes and challenges challenged the management to pursue growth and resilience to attain greater heights.
‘‘We have past IT policy stage, now in the stage of developing digital economy, you must be more encompassing in your policy formation. NITDA operates at the heart of a fast-moving sector and it must endeavor to keep replicating itself, optimize and leverage on the private sector through special purpose vehicles and public private partnership, while cutting down its staff size and overheads cost to survive gown and have desired impact.
‘‘The imperatives of using IT for education, creation of wealth, poverty eradication, job creation and global competitiveness can only be achieved if NITDA’s management earns the trust of colleagues, industry and society and it is important that colleagues, industry, and society believe and have faith in NITDA’s management,’’ he said.