ELRUFAI: PROGRESS, EGO AND PETTINESS By Hashim Suleiman
In the entire time of the Buhari presidency, the president has never spent two full days in any state for working visit and it came as no surprise to us that such a state was Kaduna. Elrufai had indeed been working hard trying to secure funding for the urban renewal and other educational infrastructural policies and he finally secured the loan with the ascendence of favorable senators who worked hard to ensure he succeeded, though he mentioned that the a President and Minister of Finance helped too. We also know him to be a man that lives to his word even if it’s for the sole purpose of satisfying his ego, so there were more than enough projects to be commissioned and Buhari would do him that favour considering that Kaduna is his own base of residence and Elrufai is also considered one of his most closest strategist pre 2015 elections, one cannot be sure the relationship with the ‘cabal’ afterwards.
Strategically, the commissioning started from Kafanchan, the southern kaduna where the governor had been accused and perceived of discriminating. Massive roads were commissioned and you could see the intent of a progressive person who had a clear economic blueprint for these infrastructure developments which would culminate into urban renewal with quicker and faster economic movements. In all fairness also, the nagging conflict in the southern kaduna has also subsided for atleast the past two years less for the banditry which is not peculiar to that zone alone. Apparently, his management strategy of whatever the crisis were has worked, big kudos.
Next was the Kaduna capital city where Mr President kept commissioning projects till he confessed to being lost on the road to his Sultan Road residence. Such is how massive Elrufai’s infrastructural developments are. The entire development is being executed with a clear plan for creating a transport network in the state. The overall aim is to expand the city and equally connect all the various forms of transport. The ever busy Kawo flyover has been transformed to delight of all those traveling to the northern hinterlands and this has brought joy to not only residents of Kaduna but to millions of travelers into deeper North West and even North Eastern states.
Thereafter, the president proceeded to Zaria where he commissioned massive infrastructure made of roads, schools and other urban renewal endeavors. The crowd that greeted the President in Zaria further showcased how much Buhari’s goodwill is still intact in the Northern Nigeria. There was royal visits and the two day hectic project commissioning came to an end and it was apparent Buhari was elated and impressed with what he witnessed and one can understand why the entire event was capped with a banquet to properly put words to it.
So many people believe Elrufai is not politically very sound because his both electoral successes were on the backdrop of Buhari’s popularity and I suspect the timing of these projects commissioning to be his only strategy of selling himself to the president and the public for a possible presidential slot. But as usual, he used his own mouth to further mess that opportunity during the banquet. His ego and pettiness that rightly made people submit his name less amongst the presidential hopefuls came to bare.
Elrufai went berserk calling political opponents stupid and showcasing first class of the ego that has got people to cancel him off political ascendency based on personal goodwill and strategy. Perhaps that display of pettiness and name calling was an attempt to further convince Buhari to nominate him for the presidential ticket because that would be his only near opportunity at clinching the number 1 seat, but I’m not sure if Buhari is as petty to find such interesting. He went gloating about how he sent Senators Hunkuyi and Shehu Sani packing almost three years after. This could pass for intimidation and fear of loosing out in 2023 where Buhari will not be a factor. That moment was too low for me and it diminished all of the increased impression that the projects brought to my mind. While gloating, he paused deliberately assuming there must be a laughter that must greet his littleness, sycophants will ofcourse but it was totally needless, Elrufai believes he’s more clever than everyone else and his opinions must pass with everyone, doubt if he has any advisers cos if there were, they would advise against such. That was how the other day when Gov Bagudu was addressing the press after their progressive governors meeting, Elrufai was almost interjecting the man and itching to be the one passing off the press briefing, he didn’t believe Bagudu was saying enough, he felt he would say it better and was busy passing same off with his body language.
Elrufai must remember, infrastructural development alone is not enough to guarantee political successes if not Governor Bindo of Adamawa would have still been there today. He must be careful how he condemns political opponents because they could indeed emerge victorious tomorrow regardless of his many progressive strides.
God bless Nigeria
ENDSARS AND US By Hashim Suleiman
The famous Dj Switch that aired the famous Lekki Tollgate incident of 20th October, 2020 is today a sort of a world figure that got her Instagram and Twitter followers sky rocket owing to her resolve and advocacy. She speaks in world stages and appears so many serious people are ready and happy to engage with her. This and more makes it difficult for me to to insult or abhor any protester, I don’t have an idea what propels them into doing it, atleast as you can see Dj switch had a resolve but utilized it into stardom.
However, I do believe in dialogue, engagement and sound arguments, Nigerians are extremely divided, we don’t like one another and we judge people’s intelligence and actions by the tribe they speak or religious beliefs. Such makes it difficult for us to collaborate and form a common front, we all don’t see things from similar perspective and that’s why for example the #EndSars protests had a delineation among a certain curve of the geopolitical zones but trust me there’s a way we can all reach to one another and see reason to champion same cause. Such way is respect and understanding.
I am elated to here that most of the youths who champion this cause don’t champion bigotry but how far is the reach of their message? Pretty short. This is why we preach for political participation because it is only through such platform that one could gather enough wherewithal to reach out to as much to see reason to embrace a new leaf, a true Nigerian way. This is how revolutionaries change nations, they get to the top and drive down the change.
Therefore, I wish to tell the youths to begin conversations and engagement towards increasing the participation in politics, it’s not going to be a day’s job, it will require persistence and resilience to tolerance of absurd and mundane tendencies, the tactics of stooping low to conquer. Those youths we have left to represent us are only after handouts and oppression, opulence basically. There is no depth in character or street credibility. I have always said that I need to make more impact and leave a mark than amass money.
These protests have sparked up conversations that will never stop but how we engage and utilize it going forward will determine its effectiveness. Dj Switch, is talking, a lot of us down here are doing same even though not exactly same strategy and content but at the end of the day we’ll all converge and engage in sound arguments towards national cohesion and advancement, the time is sooner than now.
SANUSI AND THE USUAL MISUNDERSTANDING BY HYPOCRITES By Hashim Suleiman
You know unfortunately we live in a society where it has become somewhat a taboo to speak truth to the issues bedeviling her and that is the crime that Sanusi Lamido and some of us are facing on a daily to the extent that if one is not strong hearted he could actually feel like giving up but that can never be an option in a society that needs emancipation especially socially and economically.
Sanusi has always been in the eyes of the storm for always remaining consistent about his person, he has never come off as any other thing than himself to the extent that he could be predictable regarding positions he would take on certain issues. He doesn’t know how to bottle up opinions, he prefers to air them so people don’t confuse his position about issues. Some people would say he doesn’t know how to be diplomatic and trust me I’m experienced in this clime to know that when people tell you that, they are only trying to take advantage of you because In the real sense, they don’t understand what diplomacy entails. It can prevail more in a society that is socially, intellectually and mentally stable and not ours for now.
The recent hoopla about the sack of the Kaduna Chief of Staff which had some events that preceded it made me to understand the depth of hypocrisy and how much people insist one’s lifestyle must fit into certain box or cycle to be it. Could this be why we find it difficult to settle for leaders with capacity because we confuse those without it but hypocritical for those who have it? The answer must be in the affirmative. Sanusi is too consistent like I said above for the Chief of Staff not to know what he has always stood for and what he is up to, who was he needing to remind him in order to set his protocol right. You know they say ‘ from their fruits, you shall know them’ so perhaps that display was a show of who he really is regarding incompetence and inability to discern. Who really would wanna keep such a person at that high echelon of taking critical decisions let alone whisper his wanting to be governor, must we always joke with everything in this country.
People who say Sanusi spoke about the Chief of Staff as being former and they’ll understand soon did not care to critically determine if SLS was speaking from the point of view of information regarding the guys incompetence and that a general evaluation of him had resulted in a need to relieve him of such critical position. After all the guy even demonstrated such by that major goof. Actions by people like Elrufai and SLS can only be understood by people who have deliberately chosen to be critical in their thoughts and examination of issues. They are striving by their actions and words to let us know how we must advance and become progressives but hypocrisy has eaten deeply that we mostly misunderstand them and rather embrace those who don’t mean well and are daily complicating our issues.
This issue about the former Chief of Staff brings to so many of my articles I had written in the past relating to age not being an automatic qualification for leadership, capacity should be. When he was first appointed amidst so much hype about United Nations or what have you, I was never moved, I opted to wait to watch and analyze myself and it didn’t take me long to recognize their was nothing much other than perhaps sheer luck and a little effort that got him to wherever. I heard him speak with no much depth to commensurate the hype. He was no where, he didn’t go anywhere, we didn’t see him, he didn’t mingle, we couldn’t understand who his friends were and what he had done. Everything was just about some sketchy United Nation story and one would wonder if that alone was sufficient.
I admire to a great extent the straightforwardness of SLS and I strongly believe it is the way to go if we wish to build a conscionable society. I was present at his book launch in Lagos and I saw the meaning of friendship which must have as it’s critical ingredient ‘loyalty’. You’ll learn how to build bridges, the advanced meaning of life and ability of giving back.
Some of us have chosen to learn from SLS and co regarding speaking up on issues and unless we deliberately choose to get critical, the possibility of misunderstanding anything and everything will be with us for a long time and this could eventually culminate in more chaos than the ones we have at hand already.
TINUBU 2023: IT WILL ONLY BE FAIR FOR POLITICS TO PAY BACK By Hashim Suleiman
I have repeatedly believed and said Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is the most progressive politician in Nigeria alive because he has demonstrated it with Lagos even though people argue that the level of the development is not commensurate with the revenue but they forget that even the revenue itself they are discussing is the handiwork of the man and they should equally remember that no other state has utilized as much as he has albeit selflessly for the development of the state and the people. For these and more, I have immense admiration and respect for the man.
I was moved to write today’s piece after waking up to barrages of photographs to the effect that Asiwaju is back from his medical sojourn and it has become a trending topic in the country and beyond and I’m aware only critical people get this much free advertisement and for the positive for that matter because all I see is some sort of celebration by so many. Another video of the launch of SWAGA 2023 is also trending alongside the return photographs. If these don’t attract an attention for a write up, what will do more.
Let me go a little deeper to analyze how Tinubu has been a man of very few words since the advent of this administration and that left him out of the mainstream media for most of the time but regardless of that you cannot erase or not come across his footprints everywhere through his mentees and the work they do regardless of whether some of them have chosen to be snitches or not. Regardless of his being quiet and respecting himself to a large extent, people have refused to let him drink some water and drop the cup without attempting to dig dip and make a meaning out of a simple personal medical trip for example, when did it become a crime to get ill and seek attention. However, that is the price of leadership and one that is consequential so one can understand.
For those who do not know, Tinubu had been in politics for practically all his life, even his little stint at the private sector was all about his efforts at expanding his network and forging a democratic front that he wanted to see Nigeria key into also. That left him in so many controversial circumstances including exile and so on. They persevered until they finally succeeded and Obasanjo rode on the sympathy of their activities to become the president while Asiwaju became the governor of Lagos state and the rest is now history.
Fast forward to today and check the empire that Tinubu has been able to build around the south west and Nigeria at large, some people misconstrue him to be a regional leader but I see those people as not critical enough to understand that people are free to maintain their identity while pursuing whatever, so yes Tinubu is a Yoruba man but for all the time his political party the ACN has produced northern presidential candidates in Ribadu and Atiku Abubakar other than the AD which produced Olu Falae in 1999 for obvious reasons. You cannot erase a jew’s identity regardless of his being an American and loving America to death. Asiwaju has demonstrated maturity and a sense of love for Nigeria while maintaining his identity and this is what any reasonable persona should do, in fact it should be a virtue that should demonstrate people who can be trusted, people who are not hypocrites.
Having said all these, I thought it was only fair for politics to pay back such an individual in whatever capacity. There are those who argue within the APC that Asiwaju must be cut to size and I ask for what crime? For working together to provide a platform for them to come to a position they would have only dreamt of in their lifetime? This must be the highest form of treachery if indeed there are people who discuss that sort of narrative in the party. Some of them were not born when Tinubu started to contribute to this venture and his own type is not theirs because he has been committed to ensuring the provision of mentorship and development of people who came across him. Is it because of all these qualities that they hate him or because they are intimidated and envious that they have not amassed as much goodwill. APC must be truthful to itself and engage Asiwaju appropriately for whatever outcome the 2023 would bring. At the last count before his return to Nigeria last night, 58 top politicians have visited Tinubu at his London home including President Muhammad Buhari. Asiwaju is also firmly in charge of Lagos State, one of the top economies in Africa. He has his network built over years and you would only want to toil with such a politician at your own peril. Growing up, they always told us that politics always pays those who worship her.
I wish all the APC elites the wisdom needed to act appropriately towards 2023.
NIGERIA AT 61: THE ENTRENCHED US VERSUS THEM SYNDROME By Hashim Suleiman
Nigeria is 61 today and I have always maintained democracy has brought certain goods owing to individual performances as against a coordinated national one that would aim to put the country on a planned and predetermined expectations. We are mostly having to deal with some states having good infrastructure that are not necessarily linked to other states because of the ownership of the linkages by the Federal Government that is overwhelmed and with major cash crunch that has led to massive borrowings which have to be rationed to the ones that are lucky if I may put it that way.
The reason why there is that lack of coordination of the developmental agenda of the nation is a matter that is less discussed in the polity and which I’m bringing on today as National Unity and Identity. Growing up till date, I have practically become sick of the Us vs Them coloration of things I get from every angle of the society, this is without being unfair to some very fine Nigerians I’ve met out there, in fact ‘my Director’ Alero Tenumah of Delta State is worthy of mention. Highly detribalized and realistic Nigerian.
Sadly, this narrative which has become entrenched in people has made it become normal to the extent that those who exhibit it do not feel they are doing any hurt to the nation. It has permeated the major fabrics of Public, Private and even diplomatic services. The other day I attended the burial of a friends dad at Delta state and someone had to ask me what I went to do in ‘that place’. I didn’t know what to do or say I shook my head and left in so much pain about the mentality. I have had conversations with some southerners regarding the presence equal number of illiterates in their zone as much as the north and the way they’ll insist it to be an only northern thing even when I prove to them I’ve lived there leaves me wondering what’s going on.
What is going to shock you about this matter is the depth with which it has penetrated the society and you’ll most times also wonder about the caliber of the people who imbibe such character. It is enough to get someone worried about whether there would be any hope for the nation after all. The major topic in the past weeks was The Southern Governors Vs their northern counterparts, you can see how deep it has gone. The VAT controversy is also there and the fault lines of the for and against are also very clear. Practically every national topic must be presented in the Us Vs Them narrative with little or no discussions around the possible solutions to the inevitable problems we have at hand.
The other day, I was watching a programme on the TV and a southern public analyst was asked his opinion about the south and north governors debacle over the Presidential slot and he was blunt to say the southern governors were wrong in their approach and had a lot of work to do to lobby and present a candidate that could win the heart of Nigerians and it sounded more like it, but the question is how many people can be such? The number is certainly on the negative. Everyone has to say pleasant lies to comfort their kins and this has gone on for too long now that there is a crave for truths and there are very little people to say them. The result is chaos.
Last night, a friend called from Kano and was asking about my opinion on the polity, I told him the north was economically disadvantaged and could run into troubles if these policies about VAT and fiscal restructuring scale through, he immediately retired into the usual syndrome and started to shop for consolation narratives around agriculture and I asked him if he was ready to pick his hoe to farm at that moment and if he also understood that agriculture was a chain up to production and once that is not there, there cannot be an economy from it. His response didn’t tell me I was convincing enough to get him off the Us Vs Them thoughts and as usual all that was for conversations sake because I have long known what to expect per time from the different corners of this country. Shortly after my conversation with him, another one called about the issue of PDP, this one surely hates PDP with his blood and appears bigoted towards APC. He tried to insist why I must believe it’s a work over for APC because the PDP governors had zoned national chairman to the north, I told him to never say never in politics as nobody can accurately predict what 2023 will come with, I encouraged him to imbibe the spirit of keeping his mind open about these PDP and APC issues and keep his support simple after all we are all Nigeria’s property.
Finally, I am very worried about the prevalent and most especially depth of this narrative and unless an emergency is considered on the need to mentor and heal these dangerous wounds, it is going to be very difficult to make a head way towards a coordinated national development.
Happy Independence Day Nigeria
SELF DEVELOPMENT AS THE ONLY OPTION LEFT FOR THE YOUTH By Hashim Suleiman
Apparently, the cry and wish for youth to take over leadership has become a myth which can never be realizable in our clime. However, so many have not realized such reality and it continues to create lots of difficulties for the youth to understand how to navigate the Nigerian system and make a living out of it. Honestly, some of us have utilized opportunities that came our way and we have learnt almost perfectly and realistically how you can aspire in the so much misunderstood Nigerian system.
I am not in any way saying people are not ready to try out anything or even dream about certain things related to ideality but my message today is borne out of so many practicable attempts which have yielded permanent answers to this debacle around expectations. Top of such answers is the fact that no youth wants to give, they just wanna take and I keep asking if such happens or has ever happened anywhere in the world because I know how Nigerian youths love basking in the euphoria of abroad. I’m personally very less excited about anything abroad, I recognize I’m African and I understand the place of Africa in the world and I have appropriated my expectations around such realities. I appreciate the beautiful things certain people do and I always wish to work hard to make enough money to afford them but attempting to superimpose one narrative over another is not my thing and I have been in peace ever after.
So what has happened over a long period of time of no mentoring and sharing of handouts is the production of very lazy minds who are very less ready to learn a thing nor even make attempts at imbibing them. Economy has become what it is now and all heavens want to be let loose. I know for a fact that so many young people who have chosen to develop capacity over time are doing so well and not minding who politically becomes this or that. I was discussing with a colleague within the week and he was complaining about how he wished certain things could get done, I agreed also that they should get done but the biggest question was the availability of the capable hands with capacity and sharp deciphering IQ, we lastly both concurred there were very less of them and my understanding of such makes it preferable for me to bulldoze my way into getting things done.
Politically and leadership speaking, the elites have long succeeded in cornering the resources to themselves and their lackeys plus those who have developed capacity and critical skills they can’t do without. All others have become increasingly on their own over the years. They have equally succeeded in depriving the youths of mentorship and critical education and awareness including deep rooted hatred that were capable of perpetually shutting the youth out from ever succeeding in any dream or desire for leadership takeover. I can assure you that I know the majority of people that would come across this write up may not be patient enough to read it to the end because reading and search for knowledge have become increasingly low owing to the things I’ve enumerated above. Guess what, I’ve discussed with lots of youths who are waiting for the ways of before to come back someday but I always shock them to say those days of free money and handouts was gradually coming to an end for good. The next set of people whom I presume could return as next Nigeria’s president are people who detest rewarding unworthy people, they have even demonstrated that from their various homes regarding how they ensure their kids go through the ropes in terms of their aspirations e.g Atiku Abubakar.
What we have now ended up with is a youth population that is very less receptive to themselves and superior ideas. Everyone feel they know enough and do not require any more. Young people nowadays only listen in conversations for the purpose of providing an answer as against understanding the topic for informed responses. Further to that are youths who are busy and wanting free and quick money at all cost, such has degraded morals and left the society in some sort of a chaotic situation and the social media laced with mysterious and unbelievable stories. No vision, no purpose, no intents. There’s so much deficit in the availability of leaders for tomorrow and even those who have been opportune lack depth in character.
Clearly from the above, there’s no iota of hope left for the youth of Nigeria in terms of an integration and understanding of the Nigeria system. The worst to poverty is hopelessness and that’s the state that majority of Nigerian youths are in. The only solution to this gigantic and scary problem is attempts to get the youths to understand the need to develop critical skills which could in turn provide some resource that is needed to aspire including leadership positions where there would be expectation of a change from the way things have been done in the past.
Such narratives provide us opportunity to highlight examples like Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the DG of NITDA who has long developed capacity that catapulted him to such executive position and the best of it is his effort at vindicating what youth with sound mind and skill can bring to the table.
God grant us wisdom to direct ourselves appropriately, Amen.
FANI-KAYODE AND THE IMPORT OF DEVELOPING ‘SELLING POINTS’ By Hashim Suleiman
Apparently, tongues have been wagging since the controversial Femi Fani Kayode, FFK as he is fondly called moved to the APC after his previous track of being a serial opposing attack dog to the Buhari administration but let me burst your bubble, FFK is one of the most smartest and properly educated Nigerians ever, take this to the bank.
The reason why Nigerians have developed a mentality that would see the action of FFK as unusual is the fact that most see being dedicated to work, duty or causes as absurd. The only acceptable standard in the society now is hypocrisy where you must appear to be comfortable with a venture even when your heart says no or that the price to move to the next is right. There can never be a more retrogressive mentality than this in a lifetime and that is why there is so much poverty and hopelessness in the society because people are scared to try certain things for the fear of stereotypes and discriminations which is so prevalent in the current FFK defection matter, unfortunately for some of them, the guy had long grown a thick skin for it and he had got enough answers for them, they can’t even stand him on a public debate podium.
When did it become a norm to begin to hold us accountable for all of the things we’ve said in a lifetime? Seriously? People don’t have a right to have change of mind. Every decision of a lifetime is made based on prevailing circumstances and once those conditions are no longer existent, one would be a fool to continue to harbor initial positions. Some other people say he swore and I’ve always wondered in my life how people must insist to have assumed godly status to the point of determining the status of a swear or sins per time, God himself whom we swear about forgives. Let me refer you to my article of 16 June 2020 titled ‘Pantami and His Citizen Right to Political Opinion’ and which can be found here https://dailytrust.com/pantami-and-his-citizen-right-to-political-opinion. In the article I had called the attention of the critics of the Prof’s past political commentaries to the fact that all of them were made at a time when certain conditions were prevalent and once those conditions have changed, the reaction and opinions must also change.
Some other people including some media personalities have also spoken about FFK’s bigoted posturing and I wondered who is really a saint regarding bigotry issues in this country. I have written articles which certain media men and houses will refuse to publish clearly because it didn’t sit well with their bigoted tendencies but then I understood because I’ve been well grounded in the Nigerian issues and I know how it could go per time and circumstance. The question is ultimately if anyone of us is sincerely qualified to crucify anyone in terms of bigotry.
Then let me simply tell you why politicians like FFK, he is very intelligent and never a hypocrite. He has come a long way of building critical knowledge and a beautiful selling point of eloquence that’s good enough to bully off detractors and opposing views. Who wouldn’t want to recruit such a figure. So many other people who had different opinions in the past like Godswill Akpabio and who have defected to the APC did not generate the sort of furor that FFK’s has generated, this says much about how much swag he carries. Hate him or loath him, you’ll always give it to him for his eloquence. Furthermore, we must not forget the sacrosanct fact of politics being just a game and nothing more, recruitment of players to further boost chances is absolutely allowed and only those who have showcased capacity and critical skills needed per time will be approached and of-course once the fees are right, deal is sealed.
All of these are why we have always clamored for citizens to imbibe critical skills and develop them
Into selling points to the extent that one becomes a walking commodity that could be priced at any instance and of-course once the condition and price are right, working together becomes imminent and it’s incumbent on the employee to ensure a near perfect delivery of what’s expected of them. So before we all crucify FFK and Buhari (APC), let’s ponder on these thoughts.
PANTAMI’S DIGITAL REVOLUTION AS MORE THAN ENOUGH REQUIREMENTS FOR A PROFESSORSHIP AWARD By Hashim Suleiman
Professor Farooq Kperogi has once again come to attempt to hoodwink us with his very well written grammars which does sway certain people into believing a lot of the things he reels out including me at some times back but I have lately chosen to attempt to engage some of his opinions especially when they touch on some very important fabrics. In this latest one, he attempted to insinuate that Pantami’s award of professorship by the prestigious FUT, Owerri was unmerited and I beg to disagree with such conclusions.
He felt that Pantami had not written enough publications to merit being a professor and I wondered if truly just write ups should be the reason for awarding professorship even when they don’t impact anything to the society nor the academic environment. Let me give an example of some of us who were not the ones carrying first in class owing to the fact that we don’t cram to write exams and that forms what most teachers and lectures prefer around here. Fast forward to today, majority of those crammers are today finding it hard to understand the workings of the street nor integrate properly into a progressive venture. All of their humongous write up are gathering dusts wherever they are and have not made any impact to the individuals nor the society. Why should professor Farooq not think towards contributing to the advancement of the criteria for award of professorship as against sticking to an old method that has in many cases not turned out progressive.
Let me also give an example with an argument I’ve been trying to push out in the Nigeria’s civil service sector where there’s an alleged law that stops civil servants who are professionals from practicing their professions. Perhaps, this law was made back in the days with the aim of mitigating conflict of interests but trust me along the line it has deprived that civil service of practical professionals who are solution providers. I believe this law is archaic and must be revisited as soon as possible in order to allow civil servants who have instruments of practice to do so while ensuring that personal interests are not in conflict with such practice.
In view of the foregoing, let me attempt to evaluate why I feel Prof. Isa Ali Pantami merits more being a professor if there is anything as such. Firstly, he did obtain his PhD through proper academic participation at the Robert Gordon University and he had been lecturing at the ATBU, Bauchi before proceeding to the UK. He also left UK to the University in Medina, Saudi Arabia to lecture and while doing such Prof Kperogi stated in one of his write ups how they had been exchanging notes with Prof. Pantami. The man did not leave lecturing because he didn’t like it or was tired of it, he left because his credentials had been admired by a government who thought they could utilize it for the good of a nation. If Prof. Kperogi could merit an award, why not Prof. Pantami.
Ever since such appointment was made, a sector which Nigeria and her government never exploited or knew existed in terms of harnessing it has been brought forward by this man to the extent that it has become the most functional and promising sector in the country’s economy. It is somewhat miraculous that any one man can formulate all the strategies and policies in a sector he’s given to manage within 2 years and equally make them manifest within same period. If this is not genius, then what could ever be. I thought the idea behind professorship was to portray genius out of a person in a particular sector. Just recently, Inyene Ibanga had to publish a compendium of Prof. Pantami’s speeches and submissions in the Digital Economy drive, a voluminous book that I’ve not been done reading but so far rich in digital contents enough to serve as a tutorial material in an academic environment or for research and development purposes for any individual.
One of the cardinal pillars of Prof Pantami’s policies is the Digital Literacy which birthed things like the NITDA Academy which is an online school that certifies people in ICT and has affiliations to Microsoft and other major ICT players. Majority of interventions that his sector has made was to tertiary institutions in order that the aim of ensuring improved digital literacy in the society is achieved. The professor did not just formulate these policies, he equally lives it which has eventually culminated into mentorship for the sector.
Consequently, I’ll exit this session by concluding that Prof Pantami’s intellectual contribution to the society more than merits a Professorship award just as Prof Kperogi has equally made enough contributions regardless of how controversial to merit his professorship award.
APC’S APPOINTMENT OF KASHIFU FOR DIGITILIZATION AS A SIGNAL FOR GENUINE YOUTH ENGAGEMENT AND PARTY ENTRENCHMENT, By Hashim Suleiman
The basic reason that dragged me into the political terrain in 2013 was my becoming worried about the state of the youth especially those from my creed. I had a desire to see the youth imbibing my understanding of life which had largely paid up for me at that time till today and I thought it was possible for every other person to do so but with the possession of certain principles which must be consistent. The most important of such characters was Openness to acquire network and skills.
Consequently, my NGO named ‘One Heart Initiative for Equity and Good Leadership’ birthed the #30PercentOrNothing which aimed to speak to the youth to acquire the needed skills for self-survivalas well as to encourage the government and private sector to utilise the youths to solve current problems, this however came with a caveat on the fact that the recruitment of such youth must be objective enough to ensure the appropriate skills requisite for the assignment were sufficientlyavailable.
I was also part of the speakers at Aisha Buhari’s ‘Just the Beginning’ programme alongside Festus Keyamo and co. which held at the Banquet Hall of the State House in 2015 to engage with youths and celebrate President Buhari’s ascendence to presidency. In the event, I had told the youths present to cease from antagonism of the Jonathan presidency and utilise their social media handles in propagating the policies of government which their followers could key into and eventually culminate into them feeling inclusivity and benefaction of the government. The rest is history.
Against such backdrop, I had supported and written different articles on issues I had seen which had conformed to the narrative above and just recently on Thursday the 26th August, 2021, the All Progressive Congress party had inaugurated a committee that will see to the Digitalization of the party processes and that caught my eyes. It was not the digitalisation attempt that caught my attention because the People’s Democratic Party had also initiated the digital registration of members in recent times, it was the recruitment of the individuals to manage the process by the APC that moved me because it indeed sat exactly with our ideals.
Let me refer you to my article titled ‘Kashifu as a Vindication of Youth Excellence in Governance’ which I had published on the 20th August 2020 and which can be found here https://www.premiumtimesng.com/promoted/409867-one-year-at-nitda-kashifu-as-a-vindication-of-youth-excellence-in-governance-by-hashim-suleiman.html. In the article I had highlighted how important it was that Dr. Pantami had ensured that his recruitment process for the job was right and Mr. Kashifu had equally vindicated such choice. Our belief and commitment to such ideals was borne out of practical engagements and experiences and we do not have an iota of doubts that anyone who means business and patronises such recruitment process will eventually succeed, Nigeria has got some of the finest young men full of critical skills around the world. Any young man reading this by any means may choose to understand the importance of skill acquisition and imbibe same.
Mr. Azibaola Robert of Mangrovetech Construction and Engineering Ltd. was also a beneficiary of such ideals when in 2010 he chooses to publish a public advert for the recruitment of professionals to help in executing the provision of engineering infrastructure at Maitama Extension District project in the FCT, Abuja, a project which was the first of its kind to be awarded to an indigenous company in the FCT. He succeeded in recruiting just 16 of us after a rigorous process and kudos must also go to Mr. Obinna Oleribe who’s company oversaw the recruitment process. The rest about the success of the project can be found with the FCDA but it indeed showcased how far objective recruitment can go in the successes of ventures.
Therefore, the idea of the recruitment of Mr. Kashifu to head such a critical committee with its mandate including the formulation of strategy for the 2023 election leaves a lot of commendation for the Mai Mala Buni led caretaker committee which itself have been performing wonderfully well through the advancement of the membership of the party by porting so many opposition bigwigs. I will encourage them to ensure more inclusivity going forward to the convention in order that the party becomes well entrenched in the Nigerian polity. With the Digitalization committee and the recruitment of its chairmanship however, it does appear they are ready for such and I am confident they’ll be vindicated after all.
From the mandates of the committee, the APC has created a formidable mechanism to communicate with the youth which make up over 70% of the voting population. Only the youth understand the language of their constituency and one thing that I know Kashifu will do going by his antecedents is to make the assignment an all inclusive one for a united Nigeria and equally ensure his recruitment of those to drive the matter is objective enough to attract the requisite skills. Our initial movement of 2014 was unsung to a large extent because of the absence of resources and a formidable platform but now that the APC has through critical leadership and reasoning offered itself for the actualisation of the 21st century rejuvenation by ensuring it stuck to appropriate recruitment at that, the party has positioned itself for entrenchment in the Nigerian polity for a long time to come.
All of us at One Heart Initiative for Equity and Good Leadership identify with this lofty idea and are open to provide any needed support because we believe strongly that the development of the Nigerian youth could lead to the cessation of many of the problems currently bedevilling our dear nation.
Long Live a progressive Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Kashifu Inuwa’s Extraordinary Two Years As DG NITDA By Mubarak Umar
Two years gone, and it was just like yesterday when President Muhammadu, GCFR, approved the appointment of Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, USA) – trained IT expert, as the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), following the elevation of the then Director General, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami)FNCS, FBCS, FIIM, to the position of Minister of Communications, which was his ministry later re-designated to Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
With his appointment, it is heartwarming to note thatgrowing corps of well-educated, world class technocrats are coming to the public domain to help change the narrative in public service.
Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the current Director General of(NITDA, has equipped himself with leadership and management courses at Harvard University (USA) and IMD Business School, Switzerland before his appointment as DG, NITDA on 20th August, 2019. He is one of the growing numbers of leaders appointed by the present administration many Nigerians are proud of.
In these two years, Abdullahi proved to the world that he knows the ICT global terrain deeply and he is very aware of the challenges, limitations and constraints keeping Nigeria – a nation of about 200 million lagging behind in the evolving world of digital economy. Against all odds that face Nigeria’s IT sector, the NITDA DG has an indefatigable vision and passion to take the nation into the comity of nations running on digital economy.
Tough, it is a herculean task considering six month after his appointment, the entire world found itself fighting an invisible enemy – COVID-19, but that does not stop him from looking outside the box to find out the lasting solutions of the economic challenge posed by the deadly virus.
Abdullahi has already made it to the stage where he plays pivotal roles in Nigeria’s quest to be Africa’s largest digital economy. Since ascending leadership of NITDA in August 2019, there has been a steady and impressive implementation of the Strategic Roadmap for the Development of Nigeria’s IT sector envisioned by Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Kashifu’s predecessor at NITDA who is nowMinister of Communication and Digital Economy), as well as implementation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s core vision of Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) through Information Technology.
For Nigeria to effectively operate a digital economy, NITDA mapped out a Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP 2021-2014) identified by the Agency as the fulcrum for the Roadmap are: 1) Developmental Regulation; 2) Digital Literacy and Skills; 3) Digital Transformation; 4) Digital Innovation & Entrepreneurship; 5) Cybersecurity; 6) Emerging Technologies and; 7) Promotion of Indigenous Content.
SRAP has been broken down into strategic initiatives that speak to its goal. The resultant initiatives were further fragmented into activities and an implementation plan which was in turn developed for these initiatives. Also, a result monitoring framework was developed for identified key performance indicators of each of the initiatives.
The Agency set out strategies to digitise government functions and processes and it successfully created over 150 user accounts to enable Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) submit their IT projects through the agency’s IT projects clearance portal, licensed of 94 Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCOs), and of Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture/Nigeria e-Government Interoperability Framework (NGEa-Ne-GIF).
Under Kashifu’s watch, NITDA has developed several regulatory frameworks for information technology development, which most of them have been published both on soft copy and hard copy by the Agency.
The Standards, Guidelines and Frameworks developed by NITDA include: Nigeria Government Enterprise Architecture (NGEA); Public Private Partnership regulatory framework for ICT and eGovernment projects; Government Digital Service Framework (GDSFrame); National Block Chain Adoption Strategy Document; Nigeria Digital Agriculture Strategy (NDAS-2020-2030); Business Process Management Guide for Federal Public Institutions (FPIs); Management System Guidelines for Federal Public Institutions (FPIs); Government Digital Transformation Performance (Readiness) Assessment Toolkit (GDT-PAT); and eGovernment Masterplan and Digital Transformation for Jigawa, Nasarawa and Ogun States, to mention a few.
To drive these initiatives, the Agency set up an ICT Technical Working Groups in MDAs to enable the adoption of Ne-GIF, NGEA and other related initiatives to drive ICT, e-Government and made a mandatory ICT Capacity Building for staff of MDAs. It organised Capacity Building and Certification of 442 Digital Transformation Technical Working Group (DT-TWGs) members drawn from different Federal Public Institutions (FPIs).
Furthermore, during these two years, Kashifu continues from where his predecessor stopped in unfolding potential Nigerian farmers through Federal Government initiative of National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA), to change the face of agric sector in the country.
National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture is an ecosystem-driven digital platform envisioned for the transformation of the agriculture sector in Nigeria. It is designed to help farmers and other agricultural ecosystem players navigate their journey across the agriculture value chain. This journey cuts across farm production to management, processing, harvesting, storage, marketing and consumption. 565 farmers were trained and empowered with digital devices and N100, 000 seeds funding, which also created jobs direct and indirect jobs in the country.
NITDA also launched the National Adopted School for Smart Education (NASSE) to promote digital literacy and skills among students with 500 students and 30 teachers at Junior Secondary School Karshi benefited from the pilot scheme. The Agency supervised training of a totalnumber of 1,858 Artisans across the 6 Geo-Political Zones on digital literacy and phone repairs.
The Agency also conducted training for 200 women on ICT and Entrepreneurship, each provided with Laptops (pre-installed e-learning & graphics Software), Internet Dongles & Bag-Packs, 1200 direct jobs and 3000 indirect jobs were created; it further graduated 300 Nigerians on Software, Mobile App & Web Development, and Entrepreneurship. People Living with Disabilities were also not left behind, as NITDA trained 30 and 52 persons in Kano and Enugu respectively, and laptops were giving to them as working tools.
In addition to making an effort in IT development as well as enhancing the IT capacity of the citizenry, hundreds of IT Hubs, IT Parks, and Community ICT Centres wereeither deployed, furnished or equipped with world class facilities across the states of the country.
On cybersecurity, NITDA conducted five (5) incidents analysis affecting National ICT infrastructure, handled 34 hacking of MDAs’ websites, 15 ENDSARS hacking attempts resolved, 10 defacement of MDAs’ websites handled, and dark web monitoring 15 incidents handled.
The Agency, under the supervision of its mother Ministry, launched NITDA Academy for Research and Training(NART) with 67 plus active courses, 58227 plus active students and 55,539 plus active training sessions.
To ensure Nigeria’s fool of talents was not left behind, the Agency Establishment National Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Robotic (NCAIR), NITDA aims through NCAIR, to drive and support the research, development, and adoption of Emerging Technologies in Nigeria.
The Centre is creating the required environment for Nigeria’s teaming youths; encourage innovation and indigenisation of technologies to help address the continuous reliance on foreign products and services which has negative impact on the country’s economy. It serves as a bridge between the Government, industry, and the academia in providing research environment for creativity, idea integration, collaborative environment, development of ICT policies, processes and strategies.
As a result of Kashifu’s commitment, Nigeria made history when it received Public Key Infrastructure (PKI), during the handover ceremony of Root Certification Authority (RCA) for Country Signing Certification Authority (CSCA) and Country Verification Certification Authority (CVCA) of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
With the strategy already in place, the Agency has succeeded in programming, developing and mapping out digital process to cushion the effect of Coronavirus since it is outbreak globally; Nigeria COVID19 Innovation Challenge, an online innovation challenge that was set up to meet the challenges our society was, and still facing as a result of COVID-19 pandemic. Developers, entrepreneurs and other creative minds joined to experiment and build software solutions to help address this crisis, received overwhelming applicants in Nigeria.
Though, considering the vast technology expertise possessed by the DG, Nigerians always ask why Kashifu Inuwa has such intellectual prowess which makes him an extraordinary Chief Executive in discharging his duties in the last two years as Director General, NITDA.