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 onto the headship of NITDA and ultimately to become the current Minister of Communications and Digital Economy. The increase in interest is as a result of increased broadband penetration as well as increased government participation on these emergent technologies and applications. The active presence of the honourable minister himself on social media, his ability to solve people’s complaints and enlighten people on government policies have deepened people’s interest in the platforms.
However, in a 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 education and awareness, the country’s citizenry cannot be said to have attained a maximum 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 agenda. 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, which is the most important tool. That’s why Dr Pantami engaged Nigerians enough to get them embrace the digital technology as a tool for the advancement of democracy, free speech and progressive ideas. The minister equally knows 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 that made some of us root for Dr Pantami for a presidential position in order to consolidate Nigeria’s digital agenda. He has all it takes to partner with his colleagues to ensure the consolidation of the solutions to the nations problems. The problems are mostly misunderstood due to their being twisted by mischief makers to hoodwink the gullible.
If you take the increased participation of the people from 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 increase in voices speaking up from the Northern Nigeria on national issues, thanks to his mentorship qualities. He has demonstrated rare mentorship skill by empowering 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 microchips and SIM cards for usage in Nigeria and the African continent. The state governments have been encouraged to develop their digital roadmaps to align with the national one.
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.
Mr Suleiman can be reached through [email protected]