By Adamu Usman Garko
It was not startlingly surprising when Dr Isa Ali Pantami, on one of his official sojourns to Mallam Kashifu Inuwa’s hometown, did a public eulogy of the NITDA Boss as one of the most inquisitive, determined, and honest persons he has effaced in his sojourn as a public figure. This encouraged the Honourable Minister to recommend Kashifu to the President as a befitting figure to head NITDA spearheading IT operations under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
Kashifu has efficiently headed NITDA for two graceful years, and at this point, it is crucial that we retrospect on his strides borne out of his application of experiential know-how coupled with sterling leadership since his resumption to office. After graduating from the renowned Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Kashifu furthered to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), a world-class institution famed for her vast repository of tech training and knowledge.
After graduating cum laude with a master in IT Operations, Business Transformation and Solution Architecture, Kashifu proceeded to arm himself with professional certifications to deepen his technical expertise and broaden his capacity from Harvard University, the University of Cambridge, and IMD Business School.
Asides from his stellar strides in the classroom, he has exemplified his technical expertise in public and private capacities including but not limited to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Galaxy Backbone, and IP Operations team, where he championed numerous projects aimed at helping the society at large.
Hence, leading NITDA (National Information Technology Development Agency) in this graceful and glorious manner should be no subject of surprise. Still, a candid appraisal of his strides since the resumption of office is important to inspire other agency heads in the country about the prospects and potentials hidden in Nigeria as a whole, especially in the IT sector.
In just two years of taking over from Dr Isa Ali Pantami, Kashifu Inuwa has made notable strides, especially in positioning the agency as an inextricable player in the IT sector of the country. Most recently, the agency, under Kashifu’s authority has kick-started capacity development programs on e-governance and digital infrastructure for executive members of all states in Nigeria and has begun the execution of this program in Kano state, Nigeria.
Also, under the able leadership of Kashifu, the launch of the Nigerian National Public Key Infrastructure has seen the light of the day. In addition, the NITDA Strategic Road Map and Action Plan 2021–2024, which is in line with the digital economy policy and strategy for a digital Nigeria that was launched on the 20th anniversary of the agency, has also been on a high rise.
In addition, the spike in the contribution of ICT to the nation’s gross GDP from 0.5% in 2001 to about 14% in 2020, which has paved the way for innovative creations in the sector, is all thanks to policies implemented by Kashifu’s office in conjunction with the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy at large. In the same light, with programs like the Digital State Initiative, the National Adopted School For Smart Education (NASSE), among other programmes that have catered to the capacity development of the country’s young population, the Digital Nigeria dream keeps inching closer to actualisation.
To augment the aforementioned contributions, the agency has continually distributed digital gadgets and equipment to the Nigerian populace and NGOs, which are inclusive and consistently equipped and funded digital economy centres countrywide. This has birthed pioneer sterling projects like creating a National Center for Artificial Intelligence and Robotics, the first of its kind in the country, to oversee the harness of the largess of potentials the AI industry can bring to the country. Also, The National Policy on Virtual Engagement in the Public Service has witnessed smooth execution.
It will be herculean to detail the strides of Mallam Kashifu Inuwa as the Chairman of the NITDA in just one article. However, as a loyal protégé of Dr. Isa Ali Pantami, Mallam Kashifu has proven time, and over that quality leadership is not impossible with the right people in the right positions, which has positioned him as the subject recipient of numerous awards from various fronts. Most recently, The Northern Youth Council of Nigeria tagged him as the “Icon of Humanitarian Service,” an award of excellence as SDG Humanitarian Icon of Societal Transformation, the Blueprint Public Service Award, among others that testify to the excellence of Kashifu Inuwa.
There is hope!
Adamu Usman Garko writes from the city of Gombe State.