Digitalisation necessary to build stronger communities – Pantami

Nigeria needs a digital government, a digital society, and also a digital economy for a digital transformation to improve the lives of citizens and support stronger communities, the Minister of Communication and Digital Economy has said.

The minister was speaking at the third edition of the CIO Awards, with the theme “Honouring Digital Eminence”. Edniesal Consulting Limited, an enterprise governance firm, organized the event, which took place at the Oriental Hotel on Victoria Island in Lagos.

Pantami, who was the chairman of the occasion spoke through a representative, Aliyu Aziz, the Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC). The minister highlighted the role of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) which is to ensure the digital economy drives other sectors in the economy while facilitating the digitalization of all sectors in Nigeria.

He urged the stakeholders at the event to study the strategy and see areas of collaboration to transform Nigeria.

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“The level of technological advancement and data-driven solutions have shown us that digital innovation is no longer an option but an essential tool for reinvention and effectiveness that will benefit businesses, individuals, and nations,” Pantami said.

Abiola Laseinde, the convener, CIO Awards and the CIO Club Africa, said the awards which is a first of its kind would be expanded to include digital leaders in other countries such as Kenya, South Africa, and Ghana. The 2022 awards categories were expanded to recognise sectors such as Media, Education, and Social Services.

“I need to let you know that all the nominees are highly distinguished people and notable contributors to the technology ecosystem. We invited independent members of the Jury from Nigeria and other African countries to assist us to objectively examine and make qualified assessments of the shortlisted entries and nominees. The evaluation exercise was done in conjunction with our technical partners; Deloitte and KPMG. I want to appreciate the incredible hard work put into the entire project. Our activities lasted for about 16 weeks. Let me break this down for you: that is 120 days /2,880 hours/172,800 minutes),” she said.

Obinna Ukonu, President of the Executive Leadership Council of the CIO Club Africa, said recognising digital personalities has become necessary considering the prevailing situation in which talents are relocating from Nigeria to other countries. Platforms like CIO Awards provide opportunities to recognise talents.

“This kind of platform, The CIO Awards can retain and sustain the talents that we have. The reason for this is that these IT talents form a major part of our human infrastructure in Nigeria. If we lose them, we will definitely spend more to close the gap that we have created or even to import capabilities that will be needed to help us drive our digital agenda,” Ukonu said.