Stakeholders in the information and communications technology (ICT) industry have called on the newly appointed Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mr. Ibrahim Pantami, to focus more on local content development in the ICT sector, among others areas, in order to save local ICT businesses from total collapse.
The Chief Executive Officer of Teledom Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, who heartily welcomed Pantami to the Nigerian ICT sector, advised him to focus more on local content development, if he must succeed as the DG of NITDA. He said the need for local content development became necessary, following the crash in the prices of crude oil at the international market, a situation that has forced Nigeria, that hitherto depended so much on oil proceeds, to begin to think of economic diversification in the area of ICT and agriculture.
Ekuwem said growth in local content development would reverse the free fall of naira through export of locally developed products and services in the area of ICT.
“Pantami must consider three key factors in local content development such as local content patronage, local content projection and local content protection,” Ekuwem said.
He added that the NITDA boss must encourage software application development in key areas like agriculture, healthcare, job creation, and ensure that classrooms get smarter with smart technologies.
“I have not met Pantami before, but I have read his biography and I understand he has good educational background in ICT, but he must build on the achievements of his predecessors,” Ekuwem said. He also advised him to call for a stakeholders meeting involving key industry players, after he might have consulted with the internal staff of NITDA.
Also speaking, Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Gbenga Adebayo, said there was need for Pantami to reposition NITDA from its administrative outlook, to a more practical oriented agency that has the mandated to develop and implement Information Technology (IT) policies for the country.
“If NITDA could come out of its shell of technology administration to practical technology implementation, Nigeria will stand a better position to address its own challenges, using IT solution,” Adebayo said.
Chairman, Education and Manpower Planning Committee, Nigeria Computer Society, Mr. Rogba Adeoye, who commended the federal government for appointing a DG for NITDA who has the requisite background in IT, however said Pantami is not known to belong to any of the registered computer professional bodies in the country, and advised him to regularise his membership with IT professional bodies like the Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Information Technology Industry Association of Nigeria (ITAN), among other recognised IT bodies.
The federal government, last week, announced the appointment of Pantami, as the new DG NITDA.
Pantami, is an ICT specialist, teacher, Islamic cleric and development activist. He is currently an Associate Professor of Computer Information System at the Islamic University of Madinah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the first Nigerian citizen ever to teach in the university of more than 63 years of existence.
Born and grew up in Gombe State, where he obtained his basic education, completed his first Degree in Computer Science in 2002 at Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, M.Sc Computer Science 2008, Master of Business Admin. (Technology) in 2010 via the same University and he obtained his PhD in the United Kingdom.
Pantami lectured at ATBU Bauchi for more than a decade before joining Islamic University Madina as Assistant Professor in Computing Systems and Information Technology. He authored many books on ICT, STEM, Technology, Politics and Community Reconciliation and Religion.