A Professor of Computer Information System, an Islamic scholar, an author with several publications to his credit, a humanitarian, an information technology expert and an exemplary leader. These adjectives barely do justice to Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Director-General /CEO National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
Dr Pantami is a man of vision, drive, tenacity, an embodiment of professionalism and intellectualism worth being talked about.
Through his immense contributions to the Information Technology sector, politics, religion and other strategic fields of his specialty and interest, he has earned immeasurable respect from both local and international bodies as he was conferred an award in 2017 as the “ICT Promoter of the year” by The Nigerian in London as a recognition for his positive contributions to the ICT revolution in Nigeria, Youth empowerment and good governance.
A well-schooled academic, Dr Isa Ali Ibahim Pantami is the first Nigerian privileged to lecture in the University of Medina since its establishment more than six decades ago.
He was appointed the Director-General of the National Information Technology (NITDA) in 2016 and has ever since continued to soar high adding to his accolade in 2017 ,an induction as a fellow of the British computer Society (FBCS) – an international body of professional Information Technologists.
A Principled man of values to the core, Dr Pantami was once described by YBTCNEWS, an online news as ‘the IT Sector’s anti- corruption Caesar’ and another renowned online media platform as a revolutionist due to his zeal to end the incessant corrupt practices plaguing the sector. Since his appointment as the Director-General /CEO NITDA, Dr Pantami has strived to put all hands on deck in order to ensure the total eradication of this social menace in the IT Sector.
By engaging the support of other anti-graft agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes commission (EFCC) amongst others, with which he aims to speed up the transformation process of achieving his vision of a corruption-free IT Sector. A man driven by team spirit, Dr Pantami’s first approach to leadership was to urge the staff of the agency to work hand in hand as well as step up their level of integrity.
“I am allergic to corruption and can build your confidence in me is your professionalism, integrity, and dedication”. This statement made by Dr Pantami during his inaugural speech in September, 2016 to members of staff at the agency buttresses his knack for efficiency, effectiveness which will invariably lead to the success of his administration.
A man who is set to create a difference in his own time and generation, Dr Pantami as the newly appointed Director-General, in 2016 led a delegation of sixteen startups to the thirty-sixth edition of the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition week (GITEX) held at the World Trade Centre in Dubai (DWTC), United Arab Emirate which was co-organized by Nigeria under the auspices of NITDA andDWTC.
Under his leadership, two out of the startups made it to the finals amongst other sixty-three countries to participate at the 2016 edition.
GITEX is an international event aimed at highlighting the most innovative tech startups around the world and providing them with a platform to sell, form partnerships and attract possible investors.
To further prove the agency’s commitment of achieving a technology ecosystem driven by indigenous manpower in Nigeria through exposing innovators to mentors and venture capitalists, Dr Pantami emphasized the agency’s aim to explore the potentials of Nigerian youths, as they will play a key role in the development of the Nigerian IT sector. He said “our young people are highly talented.
With more training, exposure, funding, and mentorship, a thriving IT industry can be encouraged to grow within international standards so that we can not only meet our local needs but also become an IT exporting nation”.
In view of these, a total of ten startups were selected this time to represent the country at the thirty-seventh GITEX edition held in 2017 in a bid to compete with over sixty other countries for global attention to their IT driven inventions which was promoted under three thematic activities on IT investment and exposure of indigenous namely – the Nigerian pavilion, the startup innovation Hub, and the Africa investment forum (AIF). The AIF was designed to highlight Nigeria’s investment as the largest economy and market for ICT.
The GITEX 2018 edition is expected to play a more significant role than ever before and is set to hold by 14-18 October, 2018.
Despite facing a number of controversial situations which he has been vindicated of , Dr Pantami has been able to carryout certain policies to ensure the restructuring of the IT sector which includes – placing a caution on IT service providers against poor service delivery, calling for the patronage of the Nigerian data centers, re-organising the process for the registration of indigenous Original Equipment Manufacturers ( OEMs), issuing guidance on combating cyber security threats, bringing up initiative on the registration and licensing of IT contractors and service providers to mention but a few, although there is still a need for a strict follow -up of all these initiatives in order to achieve a high and lasting result.
Since the IT sector of a country is considered to be the engine growth of such a country, onus is on the agency to imbibe the ability of forecasting imminent problems that may plague the sector due to its dynamic and rapid growing nature.
In credit to him also, is the Statistics released November 2017 by the National Bureau of statistics (NBS), which shows that, the information and communications sector has contributed in nominal terms to the gross domestic product (GDP) 10.78% and 11.57% to the real GDP in the fourth quarter of 2016 while in the Second quarter of 2017 as reiterated by Dr Pantami, the ICT sector contributed 11.27% to the nominal GDP which is tantamount to when he assumed office as the DG NITDA.
In line with the goal set by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led administration of achieving sustainable economic growth and development strides, Dr Pantami has in a most recent event given 92 postgraduate students an opportunity based on merit to benefit from the 2018 NITDA scholarship scheme (NITDEF).
The scholarship scheme which is to now have a wider scope ,covers different areas including Masters in ICT Law through the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) of the agency. Before now, the scholarship scheme, NITDEF had successfully sponsored 247 Nigerian graduates in information technology fields at post graduate level and 24 for doctorate degrees.
Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, a man worth being talked about ,has managed to touch the lives of so many aspiring youths both home and abroad, he has been able to win the respect of intelligent people not through arguments but actions, he has won the affection of many Nigerians through his meaningful contributions to the academic field, politics, religion as well as the information technology sector and also through his policies.
It is thus based on this, that he can be numbered amongst the ‘successful’ as described by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Ramat Aliyu: she is a certified mass communication expert, a prolific writer, a diligent individual with the knack for efficiency and open to new ideas, she is based in Abuja
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