BY YUSUF ABUBAKAR
The quest to bring back the long lost glory of the public service in which public officials delivered effective and efficient services to Nigerians in an open, simple and transparent manner has not gone unnoticed as the dedicated, focused and charismatic pioneer Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS, FBCS, FIIM was singled out for recognition with the College of Fellows Award; EXCELLENCE IN SERVICE.
The award was conferred on the Honourable Minister during the 2019 National Information Technology Merit Awards (NITMA) held in Lagos, Nigeria. The NITMA award night was chaired by the Minister, who was ably represented by the Managing Director, Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited, Dr Abimbola Alale.
Judging from various comments and tweets trending on social media, the award is no surprise to many. Upon elevation from the post of the Chief Information Technology Officer to a cabinet member of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr Pantami has priorities service to humanity above personal interest or gains.
The Next Level Minister immediately hit the ball rolling, he invited the heads of all parastatals under the supervision of the Ministry to formally brief him about their activities, in line with His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari’s directives to ensure all agencies of government are effective and efficient in service delivery to Nigerians.
Since the year 2001, the issue of improperly registered SIM Cards in Nigeria has made the headlines and started conversations on social media, the political will to drive the process could visibly be argued absent, as, on several occasions, the telecom operators have been penalized for failing to disconnect impropely registered SIM Cards.
A focused incorruptible Dr Pantami in less than 40 days in office tackled the challenges and ensure that no improperly registered SIM Card is in circulation today. Hence, creating a reliable Subscribers’ Registration Database.
The subscribers’ registration database remains a veritable tool that can be used by security and law enforcement agencies in the detection and apprehension of criminal elements involved in monstrous crimes like kidnapping, armed robberies, financial crimes, banditry, and other crimes which leverage on easy access to the national telecoms network.
It is no surprise that for the first time in the history of the Ministry, performance targets have been set for Chief Executive Officers (CEO) of all agencies and parastatals under its supervision. The CEOs are also been appraised periodically.
To Dr Pantami, the NEXT LEVEL isn’t just a campaign slogan but rather, a commitment to leveraging on digital technology for national economic development. It is no surprise that the Senate President of Nigeria, Sen. Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan had to officially seek the Honourable Minister expert opinion in matters of National Security.
For the first time in the history of Nigeria, both the voices of the telecom operators and subscribers are being heard with a view of finding a common ground that will lead to an improved service delivery to Nigerians with no hidden charges and value for money derived.
The incorruptible and transparent stand of Pantami can easily be collaborated with his recent directive to the Nigerian Postal Service (NIPOST), to stop all forms of cash payments at all post offices nationwide. A bold move to block leakages for the Federal Government of Nigeria.
It is no surprise that the Honourable Minister of State, Labour and Employment, Festus Keyamo SAN, described his colleague as an honest, intelligent and talented individual whom he holds in high esteem.
Under the leadership of Dr Pantami, the Information and Communication Technology Industry is gradually finding its lost glory and headed on a part of success with a clear well defined National Digital Economy Strategy.
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