The recent events of the country have showcased clearly how the digital age is a pretty difficult one to manage. Many thanks to the very much information that is out there and can be assessed by a simple sign up. This has also indicated how much challenging the task before President Buhari has been and how his successor must be a proven digital savvy individual in order that there can be a transition between war against indiscipline and corruption and a need to get the buy-in of the young Nigerians and their quick and digital expectations. This I’m sure resonates with what any reasonable youths wants to see going forward.
It has not been a secret especially for those who follow up with me that I had since thrown up the #DigitalAgenda23, a cause which presents Dr Isa Ali Pantami, the current Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as being worthy of piloting the affairs of the nation by being Buhari’s successor or at least being a Vice to a southern candidate should the argument for rotational presidency become fruitful. I had highlighted his political suitability in my November 4, 2019 article titled ‘Isa Ali Pantami as Near Perfect Fit for 2023 permutations’ and which can be found here https://opinion.premiumtimesng.com/2019/11/04/isa-ali-pantami-as-near-perfect-fit-for-the-2023-permutations-by-hashim-suleiman/.
In today’s piece however, I am highlighting his technical competence at looking the part with regards to the needed ideology for the kind of leadership required to solve the much problems that have been clearly understood now and that President Muhammadu Buhari is trying to solve by first allowing a democratic identification of them and initiating many policies that would attempt to solve them but this surely requires someone who would consolidate on them and that person has to be digitally inclined thus our initiation of the #DigitalAgenda23.
For every society that truly wishes to progress, there has to be deliberate effort at employing visionary and critical thinking in the analysis of issues and the possible way forward and this has to be employed devoid of emotions and sentiments. For some of us who have always had interest in the public space for over 6 years now, we can say categorically that we understood the current happenings of the country to be related to the young people’s hunger of seeing one of theirs attain leadership status so there can be familiar conversations. What some of them don’t understand however is that nations go through processes of evolution and those processes have to always be appreciated too. President Buhari is the nexus between those stages and we do understand that now is the time for a digital political ideology even though that also has to be done with caution because power is usually negotiated for and not to be snatched.
Furthermore, even before the current protests and agitations, some of us have known and identified the need for a digital transition but found it hard to find an icon that could champion such until the coming of Dr Isa Ali Pantami as DG, NITDA when we noticed that a man had emerged who looked the part owing to his age, education, moral uprightness and digital awareness. We put him under the radar and observed him until he vindicated us by working hard enough to merit a ministerial position where he on assumption to duty immediately hit the ground running as is typical with the expectation of a digital mind. He immediately reengineered the ministry to conform to the expectations of a society that truly requires transformation into a 21st century one. At this point we birthed the #DigitalAgenda23 and it was high time every right-thinking Nigerian young person keys into it and equally flies with it.
At the last count, Dr Pantami had commissioned over 500 digital economy projects around the country in about 4 years and appeared more than willing to do much more. Again, there had been about 68,000 individuals who had been trained to acquire digital skills. The man then capped up all these with his willingness to identify young visionaries and catapult them to stardom as in the case of the cerebral 40 year old Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi whom succeeded Dr. Pantami as the DG of NITDA. You can clearly see how he is willing to create and expand a sort of dynasty of young men who he will not stop at ensuring they achieve much more technically and politically. While Dr Pantami has merited the leadership of the National Digital Agenda come 2023, the expectation is for his dynasty members to look to see to their emergence in different leadership cadres be it legislature or State executives.
Finally, I am using this medium to congratulate the Nigerian youths who now appear hungry for leadership and incidentally have one of them who has distinguished himself for the task and this leaves the only hurdle to be a proper mobilization of the youth constituency with a view to accepting the leadership of Dr Pantami as the driver of such movement. The agenda is however subject to engagements and conversations going forward and we are very much open to it. We shall soon open the conversation up and we encourage every youth who regard themselves as fit and worthy of leadership to present themselves so we can all form a formidable team for the actualization of a progressive digital Nigeria through #DigitalAgenda23.
A new Nigeria has birthed!
Hashim Suleiman can be reached via email@example.com