Recently, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, confirmed Abisoye Coker-Odusote, an Engineer as the substantive DG/CEO of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) after spending the last three months in an acting capacity.
The 39-year-old Coker-Odusote, who initially assumed the role of acting DG/CEO of NIMC on August 24, 2023, has masterminded a flurry of activities, including many strategic meetings with relevant partners and stakeholders, the high point being the launching of the commission’s self-service online solution in September.
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While many of those activities may be typical of any high-ranking officer just taking the helm at a new office, the energy and focus with which Coker-Odusote has gone about them have calmed the fray nerves about her capacity to thrive in such a lofty office. In speech and carriage, she has demonstrated a firm grasp of the demands of the office and the nation’s expectations of the commission.
As she commences her tenure in full capacity, the dominant impression is that Coker-Odusote and NIMC are a match with great potential. Those who heralded her initial appointment with excitement can all look forward with renewed hope that this potential will gradually be fulfilled in the coming years.
Speaking at the 5th National Identity Day ceremony in Abuja, where the launch took place, Coker-Odusote described reliable identity as a privilege and a fundamental right for all Nigerians.
“We firmly believe that access to a reliable identity is not a privilege but a fundamental right. It serves as the cornerstone upon which we can build a more inclusive, secure, and prosperous society.
“Nigeria’s journey towards a robust Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) is emblematic of its commitment to harnessing the power of digital technology for the betterment of its citizens, especially in providing social services.”
“So as we continue to develop our DPI, we have to keep in mind that it holds the potential to transform lives, improve public services, and drive inclusive growth in a vast country as ours in such a way that we would be seen as a prominent player in Africa’s digital revolution,” she said.
These words affirm Coker-Odusote’s appreciation of the stakes. And she also has the technical expertise and experience to stir the commission towards actualising its lofty objectives.
Coker-Odusote has over 18 years of experience managing complex and sensitive projects across various sectors, including information technology telecommunications, finance, oil & gas, healthcare, government, and public service delivery. Before her appointment at NIMC, she served as the General Manager/CEO of the Lagos State Infrastructure Maintenance and Regulatory Agency (LASIMRA), where she oversaw vital utility infrastructure providers – telecommunication, power, and gas operators – to promote standards and procedures in infrastructural development and maintenance.
Before joining LASIMRA, Coker-Odusote held several critical positions in Nigerian and UK companies where she was responsible for information technology policies and systems implementation, project management and software development.
As the DG/CEO of NIMC, Coker-Odusote is tasked with accelerating the enrolment and issuance of the National Identification Number (NIN) to all Nigerians and legal residents, as well as harmonising and integrating existing identity databases in the country. This critical national project has implications for national security, social inclusion, economic development, and digital innovation.
The launch of the self-service enrolment platform is a strategic move towards actualising that goal and further demonstration that the president’s trust in Coker-Odusote was not misplaced. He knows it, too; otherwise, he would not have confirmed her appointment.