Mr. Chris Onyemenam
We are back to it again. Another National ID card project. The last one done about six years ago was a huge failure. I don’t have the statistics, but I am not certain if upto 50 per cent of those who registered got their cards. I did not. I know many who also did not. Beside, it is said to lack modern security features, hence the fresh attempt.
The same ID card exercise has been on the table since 1963. Before former President Obasanjo was able to commence his process in 2004, it had been a recurring programme in almost every regime. It was considered the “ Oil well” of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, where every year, money was voted for the a scheme, but it never took place, neither did we see the money so voted. It was from the last exercise that two former Ministers of Internal Affairs—Chief Sunday Afolabi, now late, and Mr Mohammed Shatar got into trouble of allegedly receiving bribe from Sagem to the tune of $214m. They were arraigned, but at the death of Afolabi, the charges against them were dropped.
Here we go again. Another ID card scheme. This time to cost N30.0666 billion. The exercise is billed to commence next year.
Director-General, National Identity Management Commission, Mr. Chris Onyemenam has said he is determined to get on with the project. That is the easy poart, the tough part is getting it done. What is the guaranty that those of us who did not get the card the last time, even after queuing in the sun to register, will get the all important card? What is the assurance that it wont go the way of the past? Many are worried whether the scheme is just to serve as job for the boys or being embarked because of the pending elections? My hunch tells me, we still won’t get it right, important as it may be. But let’s give them a chance and see how Onyemenam and his team will handle this. Meanwhile, the amber lights are on.