Monday, October 18, 2021

Quest for youth political leadership: Kashifu as good yardstick

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By Mairo Muhammad Mudi

The youth of this nation keep complaining of being excluded in the affairs of the Nation. Some of them are of the belief that if the mantle of leadership of this great nation is handed over to the youth, things would be better for the country, we would have developed far beyond what we are witness as a nation today.

To be fair to Buhari administration, even though the president is of the older generation, there are many young people today being given opportunities either through elective offices or appointments. The question is, have they made a good representation of their class that would warrant their fellow youth to take their performances as a ticket for securing their own ambition of leading the nation in the near future?

Some analysts who are the opponents of total youth political leadership are of the opinion that the youth still have a long way to go considering the performances of some of their class that were given opportunities as a case study in preparation of them taking over the mantle of leadership but performed below average.

In my own assessment, I can conveniently say, all hope is not lost looking at the present situation, there are few youth that are recording huge successes in their fields of assignments that their fellow young ones can use their scorecards to demand for what they think is theirs for the take.

One such person is Malam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) who in his two years of being the Head Of NITDA has recorded a massive successes that can make every young person proud of these great achievements by the young man.

I assure you that this space won’t be enough to exhaust all the achievements of Malam Kashifu in NITDA in two years as highlighted by Mubarak Umar of the same agency, so I will bring few out of what I read with the hope that more will be assessed through other means.

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, Kashifu has an indefatigable vision and passion to take the nation into the comity of nations running on digital economy.

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The Agency set out strategies to digitize 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 continued 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.

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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 total number 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 were either 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 pool of talents was not left behind, the Agency Established 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.

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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.

Based on the above, it is not wonder that when Zuma Times in its preparations for its upcoming speech and award day decided to publish a magazine of 100 Top Personalities and allowed their followers who are mostly youth to nominate and Kashifu name was constantly nominated.

The committee that is saddled with the responsibility of picking special 30, also picked Malam Kashifu as one of their top pick.

Also the management and staff of the company are of the opinion that Kashifu will be in the best position to do justice to this year’s theme of the speech on Security and Technology as so sent their request to the D.G who accepted humbly.

On behalf of Zuma Times staff and management we congratulate Nigerian Youth for having someone that earnestly represent them in giving them hope to achieving their long time ambition of leading the nation to the promised land.

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