National Identity: Nigeria Wasted $2.5bn in 45 Years, Says Aladekomo


Emma Okonji

Nigeria allegedly lost about $2.5 billion in the last 45 years due to poor implementation of several failed national identity projects, according to the Chairman of Chams Plc, Mr. Demola Aladekomo.
He said this at a recent webinar organised by the University of Lagos MBA 83-84 class.

Aladekomo, who spoke on the topic titled: ‘Socio-economic Benefits of Shifting Paradigms,’ painted a grimmer picture, when he said, “we may even waste another borrowed $400 million by end of 2021 with the non-clarity in the management of various ID projects in the country.”

According to him, “With about 210 million Nigerians yet to be identified fully, I foresee increased chaos, anarchy, militancy, banditry, kidnapping, nepotism, secession calls, corruption and blatant stealing.

“This will further be exacerbated in 2050 when our population is estimated to be about 400 million if not gotten right at this stage.”

He emphasised that just because the federal government does not know and cannot manage Nigerians without proper identity management, the country would be faced continuously with challenging socio-economic imperatives especially in education, health sector, infrastructure development, security, rule of law, among others. This he added, were gravely exposed in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Aladekomo therefore called for paradigm shift in three areas: prioritising data and technology; Multi-agency approach; and Private sector involvement.

According to him, “Technologies have changed the landscape, digital economy is the new play, we need databases at national, state, agencies and sectoral levels.

“These data need to be domiciled in Nigeria while local technologies should be encouraged.
“Our private sector should be deliberately promoted to be involved in the execution of our national identity projects because with them there will be cost effective delivery, speed of execution, and attraction of funding/investment. Moreover, many of them have the right and most suited technology for our peculiar environment.”

Software Developer, Felix Adejimi, who also spoke at the webinar, said data remained the fuel of modern economy.
According to him, “Digital transformation is the driver of global economies and as a nation, we need to take it seriously. Moreover, Nigerian government will do better if it just focus more on providing enabling and secure environment for private companies.”

Managing Director of HISPLUS, Tunde Omitogun, encouraged Nigeria to act fast and implement some of the points highlighted, in order to avoid a situation where Nigeria would be seen as creating a criminal nation or a nation of evil doers, if we have not created that already.