#Nigeria #Pantami #Kashifu #DigitalNigeria

PANTAMI’S DIGITAL REVOLUTION AS MORE THAN ENOUGH REQUIREMENTS FOR A PROFESSORSHIP AWARD By Hashim Suleiman

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During a Launch of Pantami’s compendium of speeches.

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.

Hashim Suleiman

oneheartnaija@yahoo.com

Kashifu Inuwa’s Extraordinary Two Years As DG NITDA By Mubarak Umar

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Kashifu Inuwa and the Vice President with Barrister Ismaeel Ahmed

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.

THE DIGITAL AGENDA AS THE RIGHT TOOL TO CONSOLIDATING IDEAL SOCIAL MEDIA GAINS FOR NATIONAL PROSPERITY By Hashim Suleiman

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Dr Isa Pantami as a tech event

It does not need too much echoing to recognize how much the surge in social media participation has been since the ascendance of Dr Isa Ali Pantami unto the headship of NITDA and ultimately to become the current Minister of Communications and Digital Economy. The increased interest and surge is as a result of increased broadband penetration as well as increased government participation on these emergent technologies and applications, in fact the honorable minister himself is personally active on these platforms which made people increased interest through engaging him most times for good and a little times for bad and mischief but that’s what you get from serving humanity. What’s most important is that the job is being done.

However, in a developing country like Nigeria, while you’re developing the emergent technology sector which has resulted in the influx of many more people into the virtual  social space, you would have to recognize the resultant negative effect especially as relates to the fact that education and awareness wise, the country’s citizenry cannot be said to have attained a maximal critical thinking stage. It is the understanding of this fact that makes Dr Pantami to make capacity building, mentorship and awareness critical pillars of his digital transformation. The idea is to have an all round technological as well as usage development so it can be geared towards national development.

The major way the digital agenda deploys all of these strategies is through engagement, it’s our most important tool, that’s why as much as Dr Pantami has engaged Nigerians enough to get them to embrace the digital technology as a tool for the advancement of democracy, free speech and progressive ideas, he equally knew at some point that the tech giants needed to be engaged about our peculiarities especially as relates to the majority’s ability to assimilate and process every class of information. This is the area we are at the moment and it seems to be going well to the extent that the resultant delivery will be a functional social media that’s aligned towards national development.

It is the foregoing and more than has made some of us to insist that the Digital Agenda is the most ideal formation for the 2023 where Dr Pantami must be utilized for a presidential cadre position. He has all it takes to partner with his colleague to ensure the consolidation of the solutions to the nations problems. The problems which are mostly misunderstood due to their being twisted by mischief makers to hoodwink the innocent lots whose level of understanding is pretty low to discern properly.

If you take the increased participation of the people of the Northern Nigeria into the virtual social space and their level of increased engagement, you will understand what I mean by Dr Pantami’s understanding of the major problem to be awareness and education. There has been increased voices speaking up from the northern Nigeria on national issues, thanks to his mentorship qualities. He has demonstrated rare mentorship skill by empowering able youths to take up critical national positions as in the case of Kashifu Inuwa, the current DG of NITDA.

The level of engagement down south has been very impressive and has resulted in the springing up of industries that are manufacturing chips and SIM cards for usage in Nigeria and the African continent, the states governments have been encouraged to develop their digital roadmaps to align with the national one and you know the southern states are more tech savvy than their northern counterparts even though the honorable minister is trying to ensure the expansion of the broadband penetration to ensure overall national digital development.

As 2023 approaches, it is our firm belief that the Digital Agenda is more than ideal and well placed to take over the nation with a view to being fully armed with what’s needed for consolidation of national progress.

Hashim Suleiman

oneheartnaija@yahoo.com

THE ONGOING CAMPAIGN OF CALUMNY AGAINST DR PANTAMI; DEBUNKING ANOTHER LIE

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Since his emergence as the Minister in-charge of Communications, which later metamorphosed to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Pantami has been celebrated as a Titan of the Communications Industry, and has received local and global commendations and awards for the strides he has made in dramatically steering the Nigerian Communications and Digital Economy to an ever-increasing level of becoming the New Oil to the Nigerian economy. This no doubt won’t go well will so many people, as he has stepped on giant toes that were hitherto believed to be untouchable, especially in the Nigerian Communications Industry. Thus, the recent onslaught on his person, being blindsided, facing mean-spirited and jealousy-fuelled campaign of calumny is at all not surprising. The cruelty of these series of attacks, that are glaringly driven by bitter political rivalry, some elements of bigotry and that egoistic feeling of, “I can do better” has pushed the sponsors of this calculated attack on Dr Isa Pantami to throw away all decorum and embrace that culture filled with volatility and irresponsibility. It has been one lie, then another, afteranother, which have all being debunked by Nigerians as they are being hatched. 

Of recent is another mischief that links Dr. Pantami to the death of a student of ATBU many years ago.  Unfortunately to the fabricators of these allegations, this too would be debunked, because this happened while we were undergraduate students of ATBU Bauchi. For the objective minds, I know you won’t have difficulties understanding this rather very straightforward explanation to the easily dismissible allegation. It happened while I was an official of the Muslims Students Society of Nigeria (MSSN), also the Vice President, Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) ATBU Chapter and as well a Senator representing my department in the Nigerian University Engineering Students Association (NUESA). The death of Sunday Achi, someone I have known personally being an indigene of Kaduna state, and someone I have met several times in different capacities, came as a shock and a sad surprise to so many of us. I have known him as a member of the Kaduna State Students Union (KADSSU) where I was an active member from 100 Level until my graduation, held different positions including Chairman Electoral Committee. I also have met him during Security Meetings, normally held in the University between the University Management, representatives of the MSSN and those of the Nigerian Fellowship Students (NIFES). This was what happened:

On a Saturday, the leadership of the Muslims Students received a rather worrisome report that some Christian students that do normally go room to room for evangelism (irrespective of whether the rooms are all occupied by Muslims) have distributed some blasphemous pamphlets (copies of which I am sure can still be found in the University Security Department orthe federal security agencies). The President of the MSSN then was Nasir, a final year student of Education Technology that hails from Katsina State. Malam Nasir was a great leader. This unfortunate news was kept away from the public for close to three days, all in an attempt to de-escalate brewing tension, should the news of such deliberate provocation be broken. The first question that will come to the mind of every peace loving human is, what has evangelism or calling to your religion got do with making cartoons of the most respected human being to the same Muslims you are trying to preach to? Can we not invite others to our religion without attacking and making mockery of their own ways of belief? This sent the first signal of a deliberate attempt to disrupt the peaceful coexistence between Muslims and Christians in ATBU Bauchi. For the records, I do not know a single University in Nigeria, located in a state where Muslims are minority and yet they enjoy the equal treatment Christians share with Muslims in ATBU Bauchi. Christians hold every position a Muslim can hold in that University, even though it is situated in the heart of Bauchi, a predominantly Muslim state. When Muslims were given a plot of land to erect their Central Mosque, the same size of plot was given to the Christian Community within the University to erect their Church, where a Governor from Southeast Nigerian built a very huge structure that is still there as we speak. How many Universities in southern Nigeria has done that to the Muslim communities there? 

It will also interest you to know that, to the utmost surprise of the leadership of the MSSN, the same blasphemous pamphlets that were distributed in ATBU have been distributed in the Federal Polytechnic Bauchi, a federal higher institution of learning situated 20Km away from ATBU. This again signalled a grand plot orchestrated by enemies of peace and purveyors of evil. This information can be verified from the federal security agencies, because I believe they are not unprofessional and would keep such vital records. A meeting was called, of executive members of the MSSN and it was agreed that the matter should be handed over to the university management for further actions. For the records. Dr. Pantami was not the one controlling MSSN or deciding what MSSN does. As at that time, he was not even a Patron of the Society. If my memory serves me correctly, Prof. Mansur Bindawa, Malam AU Misau, and another senior medical doctor were the patrons. They were contacted and they agreed that we should handover the matter to the University management for actions. The university management acted accordingly and a Senate Meeting was held to that effect, which led to the dismissal of the three students that shared those blasphemous pamphlets. There was no single riot to that effect, neither within the University promises nor the outside environment. Infact, so many people in Yelwa, the Bauchi suburb where ATBU Yelwa Campus is sighted did not know about what was happening within the university until the closure of the university following the death of Achi. On a morning (I think a Tuesday morning), when students have resumed to their classes, the terrifying news of a dead body found within the university premises was making rounds. The university management immediately closed down the school and gave a two hour-deadline for everyone to vacate the premises. His death was not only a shock to the entire university environment, but also created suspicions in the minds of many of us, as to who was behind such. Achi was not among the students that spread the blasphemous pamphlets neither was he among those expelled. Secondly, his dead body was placed behind the University Central Mosque. It was believed to be a calculated attempt by some agents of evil to link such murder to the Muslims of ATBU, the same agents of evil that might have championed the spread of such blasphemous pamphlets, and probably the same agents that are again doing everything possible to link this to Dr. Pantami. I can remember clearly that even at that time, the MSSN wrote memoranda, exonerating itself from such heinous act of murder and also charged the security operatives to investigate further. 

It is worthy of note that to anyone who has been familiar with the activities of the MSSN in ATBU at that time, the society was at several times awarded the most active society in organizing public lectures that are open to Muslims and Non-Muslims, organizing Tutorials to all students, especially of engineering and sciences, doing several humanitarian activities of hospital visitations and so on. It is only mischief people and agents of evil that will ascribe such act to the MSSN or to the Chief Imam of the University, Dr. Isa Ali Pantami who has rather played several key roles in de-radicalizing youths and preaching peaceful coexistence among students. This lengthy explanation would not have been necessary, but for the purpose of objective people who would want to know the truth of what has happened. While we continue to debunk every mischief linked not only to Dr. Pantami, but to any responsible member of the society, we wish to call on the Honorable Minister to not allow naysayers, bigots and political jobbers distract him from the good works he has been doing to Nigeria and Nigerians. 

Dr. Abubakar Hidima (contact.hidima@gmail.com)

DR ISA ALI PANTAMI AND HIS PREACHINGS AGAINST TERROR AND EXTREMISM; SETTING THE RECORDS CLEAR By Dr Abubakar Hidima

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Dr Isa Ali Pantami

In the last few days, Nigeria’s social media has been visited with another intensified campaign against the Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami. 

Although these attacks did not start today, and certainly will not end today because of the spectrum of persons his personand recent activities as a Minister has touched. The sudden re-emergence of the renown scholar’s political opinions of the past years to public discourse among certain people is not surprising at all. Although, many would say “WHY NOW”? and why the multifaceted attacks? Your guess is as good as mine. 

So unlike the easy-going Dr. Pantami that many of us know, the sensitivity of the spate of allegations and mischievous attacks has necessitated the Minister to seek for legal recourse. To so many people that know the person of Pantami, this comes as a surprise to them, especially that he is someone who most times chooses to settle issues in a laid-back manner, such that no hassle is involved. This can be seen in his spectacular method of engagement with others when they disagree. You may never find a time he engaged a particular scholar or dwell on such even in the face of personal attacks he has suffered in the cause of his preaching activities. But closely looking at this scenario, the Minister’s action on taking legal action against the disparagers is not surprising, especially that the ill-intended publications by several print and online media houses were calculated to soil the reputation of the Minister and a renown Islamic Scholar who has spent close to two decades preaching austerely against the same evil they are struggling to link him with. 

Until his appearance in the Nigerian Political Sphere, Dr. Pantami has continually held opinions that not only de-radicalise thousands of youths faced with the challenge of radical ideas, he has also spent most of his valuable times to educate the youths whose illiteracy about the religion has led them into embracing such ideologies. This might not be very clear to many, especially if you do not have a first-hand experience on the emergence of Radical Ideologies in the early 2000s in Nigerian Universities. I personally had my first encounter with Dr. Pantami when I was a 100 Level Petroleum Engineering Student, at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi when he was a Lecturer in Information Technology. I met him close to the Lecture Theatre we call “LE” in the company of my friend, who was also an undergraduate student of Chemical Engineering. We met the Minister after he parked his car and was walking to the School of Science and Science Technology. We said the Islamic greetings, which he responded and stretched his hand to us for a shake. We shook hands, and he passed a message to us, a message that imparted on me personally to date. His message after asking us about our studies was simply, “Make sure you excel in what brought you here from your different states, donot disappoint your parent, What you do not understand in class, ask the next person, We are all students here.” These few lines stuck to my memory and served as my inspiration throughout my years in ATBU. Unknown to many of us, who were just new in the environment, Dr. Pantami was to be not only a moral guide to many of us and a teacher of Islamic tenets, but one in whose hands many youths would be saved from the hurricane of radical ideologies. His sermons and almost daily teachings have shaped the lives of thousands that are today important members of the society. 

After the most recent attempt by some online media to sell a totally awkward and false news about the US listing the Honorable Minister on a watch list, and their sudden U-turn after realizing the obvious legal battle they are driving themselves into, then comes the publication from some otherFake News Merchants, where the same effort is being made albeit in a manipulative manner. One would not be surprised, because by now, it is clear to every right thinking person that the Nigerian media is littered with not only unprofessional reporters and publishers, but carriers of mischief and spite. If you take time to follow almost all the allegations, you will understand that:1. They were almost all cut in between statements from lectures or talks he presented which in the average last for 60 minutes or more. 2. Most of the talks are academic presentations from Islamic Perspectives, where he makes discerning clarifications as to why Muslims cannot attack others because of what is happening to Muslims in other places. 

For instance, the Yelwan Shendam Crisis in Plateau state was a very sensitive issue at that time. As a scholar and mentor, who enjoys a wide support and loyalty of thousands of youth, he had a responsibility to speak about it, which he did, an effort that prevented reprisal attacks. It is laughable that when these agents of evil decide to pick places of interests (POI) in order to achieve their ungodly plans of tarnishing the image of the Minister, they failed to pick at those points where he has spoken largely against Terrorism, reprisal attacks even in the face of provocations as well as preach peaceful co-existence. And just come to think of it, if Dr. Pantami has been preaching extremism or has had ties with any terror group, how come you do not find his students fronting insurgency or terrorism in Nigeria? A man who has spent more than 20 years of his 48 years in life teaching men and women, children and aged people, yet did not form a battalion of terrorists waging war against the Nigerian state? Contrary to that, what Dr. Pantami was able to formulate is a team of purposeful youths, today holding significant places home and abroad, and with good record in their places of work.. 

I remember something that happened sometimes around 2004, when a delegation was sent to meet Dr. Pantami about his method of preaching, despite the various religious crisis that had engulfed the nation. That delegation happens to be of some youths that have radical opinions, which Dr. Pantami do not hold. To understand the extent of the Minister’s philosophy and prognostication, he invited almost all his students within the University Campus (because that was where those visitors met him at), He asked the spokesperson of the delegation to repeat his message, which he did and we all listened. That was when Dr. Pantami exhibited a high sense of responsibility as a mentor and teacher; clarified the misconception by those youths and spoke to us at a longer length why we must study Islam deep enough to identify alien ideologies. How can such a man have ties with such radical groups?

On Dr. Pantami’s position about the war in Afghanistan, I deliberately decided I speak on it at the end of this very short article for obvious reasons. Largely, it is because, only Ignorant chumps do not know that the war in Afghanistan has been a bone of contention among even non-Muslim scholars. Do you expect such a myopic and mischievous publications to go beyond the surface and seek for more information? No. They know that majority of their audience are as gloomy as they are. For instance, Ryan T. Williams, an Assistant Professor of Law, at Western State University College law has discussed in details a political opinion he holds about the war in Afghanistan, in his article, “Dangerous Precedent: America’s Illegal War in Afghanistan”. His and several other positions aired by scholars around the world centre on the legality or otherwise of America’s intervention in the politics of other countries and how the use of force in international Law is largely outlawed, “except in three circumstances; in self-defence, pursuant to a United Nations Security Council resolution, or with the consent from the leader of an invaded state”. I will also recommend the book authored by Carlotta Gall, entitled: “The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001 to 2014”. In addition to several other Books that have detailed the politics of the war in Afghanistan and the positions of world scholars on the war, from Muslims and Non-Muslim writers. I also recommend the book, “In Defense of Islam, in the Light of September 11”, for anyone who wants to see how the Scholars of Sunnah speak against Terrorism and such ideologies. 

To end this short article, it is pertinent to note that Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami is not what these underlings and propaganda dogs want the world to believe. He is human, and he makes mistakes. But linking him to any form of Terrorism or ties with terrorists is ludicrous and reckless. Whatever the motives of the perpetrators of this unsold lies are, they will be put to shame.

Dr Abubakar Hidima (contact.hidima@gmail.com)

KASHIFU AND EFFORTS TO ENTRENCH JIGAWA’S ‘NEW WORLD’ MOTTO By Hashim Suleiman

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Presentation of a grant for Digital Agriculture at the Jigawa Innovation Summit by Mr Kashifu and the Executive Governor

You will all agree with me that the major identity that could qualify any society to be part of the new world is digitization and once it is adopted and consolidated upon, such society becomes connected to the world by way of intellectual and economic development.

It is also not a news that Jigawa had long identified ICT and digitization through the initiation of the Galaxy Backbone fibre internet company as well as the famous Kazaure Informatics, the subject matter of this write up, Mr Kashifu Inuwa is well informed about this and can be said to in a way be a product of such initiative. Jigawa is today blessed with numerous human resources in the ICT sector as a result of these laudable initiatives piloted by Alhaji Saminu Turaki, the then executive governor of the state.

While all of the above policies may have resulted in the production of numbers of individuals that are digital savvy, there was also a need for the consolidation of such by broadening the scope of the whole policy to end up at empowerment and increased awareness of how to utilise digital knowledge for economic gains and this gap was what I saw Kashifu Inuwa, the Director General of the Nigeria’s National Information Technology Development Agency identified and collaborated with the Jigawa Government to attempt to bridge.

The attempt was laudable enough to be brought to the fore for the sake of those who may not have had opportunity to get the information or decipher the intent. Young people who have obtained digital knowledge through Informatics Institute, Kazaure or the various interventions that Mr Kashifu has developed throughout the state must understand the need to key into these initiatives with a view to taking away ways and methods that such knowledge could be utilised for economic gains.

The Jigawa Innovation Summit was piloted by Mr Kashifu and the Governor, Alhaji Badaru Abubakar on Monday, 18th January, 2021 with clear roadmaps on how to utilise ICT to develop the Agric sector which is Jigawa’s backbone for economic prosperity. There was appropriate awareness through the various media handles to let the youths become aware of the digital drift that was imminent for any meaningful development in today’s world.

From the trend of the policies of Mr Kashifu which had started with Dr Isa Pantami and continued till date, it was clear that these attempts are going to be continues with so much prospects. I had earlier written about Mr Kashifu’s exhibition of youthful qualities of energy and zeal enough to see to the fruition of any agenda or policy that has been started on https://www.premiumtimesng.com/promoted/409867-one-year-at-nitda-kashifu-as-a-vindication-of-youth-excellence-in-governance-by-hashim-suleiman.html . This is enough to get one to be optimistic about the prospects of these attempts.

I also wish to refer to my Open Letter to Muhammad Badaru Abubakar after his 2015 victory on the need for the utilisation of youths in the delivery of his mandates https://magarya.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/an-open-letter-to-his-excellency-mohammed-badaru-abubakar-governor-elect-jigawa-state/. It is now also clear how such an opinion was becoming clearer and vindicated by the synergy that Mr Kashifu and the governor are forging towards the development of a sector that will see to the upliftment of millions of youths remotely, in fact such is the real future.

Charity they say begins at home and the quick identification of the way forward for Jigawa State as far as digitization is concerned by Mr Kashifu is enough to make one become even more optimistic regarding what is to come from the sector under the superintendence of the progressive gentleman.

For some of us, we are committed to echoing display of progressive tendencies for the utilization of an economically insecure upcoming generations.

Hashim Suleiman

oneheartnaija@yahoo.com

PANTAMI’S DIGITAL POLICIES ARE THE REAL DEAL, OUR PESSIMISM AND INTERESTS ARE THE PROBLEM; A REJOINDER TO SHAKA MOMODU’S THISDAY ARTICLE By Hashim Suleiman

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Dr Pantami inspecting the progress of the NIN registration

By their pseudo names and hidden identities, one will simply identify where such vituperations like the one posited by one Shaka Momodu through his article posted on Thisday newspaper of 1st January, 2020 are coming from. You would understand it to be related to the position of some mischievous industry players who’s interest is other than national interest. Such positions could also be of those who are hell bent on frustrating the emergence of the new class of politicians who don’t  bow to mediocrity.

The writer pointed to why people would be asked to gather to pick up their NIN’s as if the minister ever mentioned such specific instruction in his press releases. Yes people must pick up their NIN’s and whether they prefer last minute rush for a policy that has been in existence for years is left for people like Shaka to be asked regarding how much they’ve done with their pens to help liberate the people into inculcating positive mindset and patriotism.

Shaka never also took his pen to write to the banks to stop people from going to the banks while observing the COVID-19 protocols. We never also saw him write when all the campaigns were going on in Lagos of recent and Ondo and Edo before then. Even the recently rescued over 300 students had to meet Mr President  under strict COVID-19 protocols. The Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 has and is still issuing out these protocols for the adherence of the citizenry, if such people choose to prefer last minute rush and equally evade the protocols, hows that an issue of Pantami?

The writer also pointed to BVN and the rest which are policies that have been there but may not even be as old as the NIN policy, the only thing missing on the NIN policy Ab initiio was a Go Getter like Dr Pantami who would stand for the policy to get implemented regardless of the works of mischief makers like Shaka and the realistically difficult Nigerians attitude to progressive policies. Not all Nigerians have bank accounts or drive but every Nigerian is expected to have a NIN and that must be achieved against all odds God’s willing.

He also went ahead to share a press statement issued by the NCC which in my opinion was typical of a regulatory body and which we encourage all other regulators to do like the NERC for electricity and others. But the writer felt it was issuing directives and threatening. What else did he want a regulatory body to do in a country with pessimist like him as citizens? Such questioning made his position to be suspicious towards being sponsored by some industry cabal whose interests are indeed other than national interest.

INEC usually opens up their voter card registration a year to two before elections but it is at the last hour of elections that Nigerians would start trooping in and complaining to the heavens about the inefficiency of INEC and one would continue to appreciate the difficulties that Nigerian policy makers go through especially very serious ones like Pantami.

For how long are we going to be playing cheap politics with every issue especially very serious ones. Why must we always take advantage of the innocent gullibility of some Nigerians and be spewing hate comments and pessimistic tendencies which would make them not supportive to government or viewing government as their enemies over attempts geared towards bettering their lots. We were in this country when months ago the National Assembly summoned the minister over sim registration as related to insecurity. Same Nigerians like Shaka pounced on the minister over something they know so little about it’s challenges.

The minister and his team have been up and doing regarding all the concerns of the senate and Nigerians, what’s missing is the needed support from some of the industry players like Shaka’s sponsors who are all about the profit and not the well being of the country. However, Pantami’s sincerity of purpose will defeat that with the help of God. When is ever going to be a Perfect time to initiate any policy in Nigeria? When will the mischief makers and naysayers ever allow Nigeria to prosper from efforts of professionals like Pantami?

These questions and the absence of their answers at the moment should spur Dr Pantami to ignore such barks and ride on as it’s only posterity that would vindicate him.

As for Shaka who wrote and refused to share his contact and identity, here’s mine below in case of opting up for a public debate on the matter. Regards

Hashim Suleiman

oneheartnaija@yahoo.com

ISA ALI PANTAMI AS THE ORIGINAL GAME CHANGER By Hashim Suleiman

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Dr Isa Ali Pantami, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy.

Let me start this piece on remembrance of the Amazon Dr Dora Nkem Akunyili who died of uterine cancer in 2014. Her popular saying of “A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in” still resonates with so many compatriots. She was indeed a great loss to Nigeria. 

Dora Akunyili was a professor of Pharmacology from the University of Nigeria Nsukka, she worked with Muhammadu Buhari’s PTF as a zonal secretary for four years where she was an integral part of the PTF’s medical programme and he excellence in such activities led to her recommendation to Olusegun Obasanjo for appointment as NAFDAC Director General in 2001 where she served till 2008 and since then Nigerians understood what NAFDAC stood for and the drug manufacture and retail industry has had sanity till this date. Her contributions to that sector were legendary, her management skills over erudite professionals and aides like Pharm. Hashim Ubale were awesome and they formed an exemplary synergy that saw to the success of their mission for the benefit of nation. 

Stories like that of Dora form a perfect preamble for my topic of today which seeks to showcase excellence and individuals who make a major mark in societies by planting trees whose shades they may never sit in. Dora met an existing Agency and injected energy and vigor for the actualization of its mandates. Isa Ali Pantami originated a brand new ministry and formulated its agenda and has since taken over the governance space within a span of one year, if this is not genius then what could ever be. It is actually the absolute definition of Game Changer.

In the past, the Game Changer slogan had been used to classify an individual who formulate strategies for winning elections by political parties albeit through the wrong means and that has been an unfair utilization of such an awesome adage. Well, now that we have found someone who suites into the definition of the adage, Nigerians would appreciate better what it means to be a Game Changer.

Before the emergence of Dr Isa Ali Pantami as the minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Nigerians including me only regarded the ministry to be somewhat duplicating the responsibilities of the Ministry of Information, but he was brought to the fore to make us understand otherwise. The only visible activities were those of NCC and NITDA and the latter’s activities were also courtesy of the Game Changer’s role as the Director General of it. There was no coordination between the various parastatals or any agenda over any item that relates to the mandate of the ministry.

As soon as he was unveiled the minister, he quickly sought the approval of the President for the reengineering of the ministry to align with its core mandate and today an average Nigerian can quickly describe what the ministry is about and what it stands for. The various tertiary institutions are appreciating the importance of digitalization and are keying in to his digital policies by embracing the various interventions he created while at NITDA while others are demanding for the deployment of the interventions to their institutions. The industry players in the telecom sector now feel the pulse of regulation around their nerves and they feel more need to be serious more than ever. I am sure your mind can picture how a game has been transformed over here.

Pantami has also changed the game of leadership by institutionalizing the spirit of teamwork. All the parastatals in his ministry move with him as a team and that has helped in articulating and synergizing his agenda amongst all of them and such has visibly led to the increase in ICT’s contribution to GDP for three quarters in a row. The camel breaker was the inclusion of the Nigerian Identity Management Agency to his roll of parastatals which finally made us understand how serious he was of truly setting an unprecedented stage for Nigeria’s actualization of digitization for economic prosperity.  If you’re looking for a definition of game changer, look no further.

Progressive governance stories are meant to be brought to fore in such time when the citizenry have found it hard to differentiate between rent seeking and participation in government policies. For example, the subsidies and free services are not sustainable and funds need to be freed for the provision of the so many infrastructures that are being worked upon amongst others. Young people then need to understand to take advantage of the digital sector that has been rejuvenated. It seeks to create wealth through ingenuity. People like Dr Isa Ali Pantami should inspire hope that government is working to make a brighter future for the citizenry but the buy in of the citizenry is also paramount. We have to quit laziness and get to work.

Next time you’re confused about the meaning or understanding of a Game Changer, I have provided you a case study here.  

God Bless Nigeria.

Hashim Suleiman

oneheartnaija@yahoo.com