Our paths first crossed eyeball-to-eyeball on November 30, 2016 and it is now 33 months after that inaugural meeting. It was a meeting where Isa Ali Ibrahim would reel out the blueprint of how his public service should be assessed. How well has this man, more commonly known as Pantami, justified his appointment as the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to qualify for an upgrade as the Minister of Communications?

Is it another reward for cronyism or another pedestal for a ‘flavoured’ trajectory to the government house in Gombe State, which some pundits believe is the ultimate goal of Pantami in 2023? There is no denying the obvious of how Pantami made himself very popular on Twitter. He creamed off great following by popularising Islamic messages even in the midst of also riding on the crest of gaining traction with his mandate as DG NITDA.
Besides, no one is in doubt that Pantami also strategically positioned himself as a close consociate of President Muhammadu Buhari’s family. For this singular public perception, not a few industry colleagues seemed wary of him, while some others thought of him as a favoured link-bridge into the inner recesses of the President’s mind. So his nomination and subsequent approval as a Minister in the cabinet of President could be a chirp of the conspiracy theory about his influence in the national government of the day.
Before I delve into the various highs and lows of Pantami’s stewardship as the DG NITDA, let me whet your appetite with the piece I did on him in 2016. And the public is welcome to jointly access him based on this article which placed him in the public spotlight. The article is aptly titled “Pantami: Quest To Remove NITDA From Cesspit Of Sleaze” Enjoy it……
The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) is under a ‘siege’ as the new Director General, Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), picks up the gauntlet to clean the Augean Stables. In this report Olubayo Abiodun captures the inner mind of Pantami’s new direction for NITDA

Director-General, NITDA, Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami

LIKE the sea billows roll, there is a roaring storm that is tearing down at all and sundry in NITDA. A new ‘Sheriff’ at the IT Infrastructure agency, Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), is bearing his fangs at those who have turned the agency to a contract awarding institution.
The date was Wednesday, 30 November, as he held the microphone at the 8th edition of West Africa Convergence Conference (WACC 2016), organised by Knowhow Media and Market Intelligence International Limited, at the Ikeja Sheraton Hotel, his mien and simplistic dress belied the explosive expletives thrown at certain patrons and actors in NITDA who had otherwise derailed the IT infrastructure agency from its core focus of regulating IT infrastructure deployment in Nigeria.

Pantami had a justification for the hot leads fired at the NITDA contractors and actors. No sooner had he resumed at NITDA, he was besieged with countless numbers of proposals beautifully crafted to ensure various cuts from the budget of the IT Infrastructure development agency. But for the new ‘Sheriff’ at NITDA, it is no longer business as usual.
NITDA is not a contract awarding agency. This Ph.D. holder and until lately a Professor of Computer Information System at the Islamic University of Madinah was miffed that an otherwise IT infrastructure agency had become the ‘honey pot’ of sort for some contractors. To him every contract must support the core mandate of NITDA.

He did not hide the fact that the job at hand is enormous and daunting. To successfully prosecute this mandate, Pantami said that he would seek the support of all stakeholders to be able to achieve positive return of NITDA to its core mandate of regulating IT infrastructure deployment in Nigeria. He has offered an Olive branch to the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP). In his mind, NITDA ought to have a desk at BPP which will serve as the clearing house for IT infrastructure procurements.

Before now, he said that the relevant sections of NITDA Act had been violently violated by those who smartly bypass NITDA because there was no proper checks and balances in policing the procurement procedures.
At the top of his head, Pantami had studied the relevant legislations that established the agency and the various bylaws existing to give NITDA its operating muscle. Beyond looking at the legislations, Pantami also has something cooking in his mind. He wants to draw up a strategic framework that would enhance the return of NITDA to its core mandate. And in doing this, he has engaged his predecessors among other stakeholders in dialogues in order to appreciate the landmines strewn around his pathways in the organisation.

According to him, the focus of his regime is to take NITDA out of the cesspits of corruption which had bedeviled the agency. Though, he did not dwell on the content of the Audit Report which uncovered sleaze in NITDA, it is also not clear if heads will roll on account of the report. It is also not clear if former officials and current staff in the agency will be guest of the anti-graft Commission at any time. Already, the new helmsman has his hands full with petitions. Rather than dwell on that, Pantami seems to prefer to direct his energy at revamping NITDA to focus more on its core mandate and allowing the anti-graft Commission and other agencies of government to deal with the other issues.


“If I am to talk on IT Regulation, particularly since I am here to represent NITDA, I will give more emphasis to the responsibility of NITDA when it comes to IT Regulation. What I have been saying actually, even during discussions with my Management staff, NITDA has responsibility over IT Regulation in Nigeria. So in this situation, we can have regulatory body over Communications Technology because you have Information Technology and you have Communications Technology Our colleague in the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) are the regulatory body over Communications Technology but NITDA is the regulatory body over Information Technology.

“So our sole responsibility as encapsulated in our mandate is to regulate IT in Nigeria. And this is something that has been neglected. Why? Because the scope of our mandate; the mandate is very wide. It is difficult for you to pursue all at once. There must be strategic plan, you must get your priority and preference right so that you determine what you need to place emphasis on. Because of this what I want you to understand first and foremost is that NITDA is the regulatory body for IT in Nigeria and this is clearly stated in NITDA Act 2007.
“If you look at Section 6 subsection 1, 2, 3 and 4 Roman Numerals 1, 2, 3 and 4,Section 6, Number 1 clearly stated that NITDA has the responsibility of developing framework, guidelines and standards for IT deployment and maintenance in Nigeria. Section 6, subsection 2 clearly stated that NITDA has a responsibility of advising government for example advising the private and public sectors on IT deployment and maintenance. So NITDA is the regulatory body of IT and it is also the sole adviser of public and private sectors when it comes to IT. You can say that NITDA is the advisory body of IT deployment, IT maintenance and IT innovation in Nigeria. So based on the mandate, whoever wants to deploy any IT facilities in the private or public sectors should approach NITDA seeking for advice on how to deploy.
“But when it comes to public sector or MDAs, NITDA is also the clearing house for IT deployment for all MDAs. This is according to the circular of the Federal Government which was released on April 18, 2006 from the Office of the Secretary to the Federal Government. That circular emphasizes strongly that any MDA that intends to deploy IT gadgets in Nigeria must approach NITDA seeking for clearance Certificate of Compliance. That is what the circular says. Meaning that NITDA is the clearing house for IT deployment in MDAs in Nigeria. So this is another indication that NITDA is the regulatory body of IT, where? In Nigeria.
“Still on IT Regulation, if you look at Section 17, Roman Numeral 1 also states that any Ministry, Department or Agency that deploys IT without seeking for clearance from NITDA commits an offense. Section 17, subsection 2, clearly stated that that person for example the executive officer, or any other officer as the case may be, should be fined or be imprisoned for 1 year and if repeats the same mistake, he should be imprisoned for three years. And these are some of our mandate that have been neglected and many people are not aware of this. And which is very important. “IT Regulation is very important. You cannot develop your capacity without Regulation. You cannot promote, develop and integrate your local content without regulation.
Capital Flight.

“If you look at the amount of money we spend annually on the importation of goods and services of ICT you will be amazed. It is approximately around US$2.6billion annually and this amount is projected to reach around US$147 billion in 2020. It is almost 6 times our current budget. And that is why we are putting more pressure on our local currency (The Naira). There is no strategy on developing our local content. We are focused on sourcing forex and importing something into our nation without cross-checking whether we have it in our nation locally or not. Because we are more addicted and inclined to anything foreign. That is the mentality that we have. And some of the goods that are being imported into our nation are not up to the standard of what is being produced at home, but we only admire other nations whatever they produce we patronise, but whatever is made in Nigeria, we neglect it. Without regulation, you cannot in any way promote our local content; you cannot in any way encourage and motivate people to patronize it. Look at our local industries all over, they are complaining about patronage. Why?
Lesson from India.

“We all admire the effort of India when it comes to software, but they started planning on how to strengthen their local content since around 1967. But today, because of their patronage in local content, and their expertise, India is generating around US$147million annually from software alone. And this local content creates 2.7million direct jobs annually in India. And the percentage of software export only in India is around 77 per cent of all the export they have in the ICT sector. So this is something that we should start preparing and strategizing ourselves towards, otherwise as long as we are not ready to develop our local content, then, for sure it will be difficult for us to strengthen our local currency. You can hardly see a nation where people look for foreign exchange (forex) day in day out like in Nigeria. This is why we are not producing anything and even if we produce, we are not patronizing, we only admire what is imported from outside without even looking at the quality.

Boosting Naira Value

“If we want to reduce this pressure on our local currency, to strengthen it, we have to give priority to what we have at home. We cannot look for anything abroad, except we don’t have any alternative available in our nation. But as long as we have an alternative here it is better for us to prefer what we need here, what we manufacture here and what we produce at home. That should be our priority. And we know that we have a local content policy and this local content policy that is the Office of Local Content deployment here in Nigeria, the office was established under NITDA Act of 2007. If you look at Section 7, Roman Numeral 3 clearly stated that NITDA is what you can call a semi legislator that government allows it to legislate, to advise, formulate laws on IT regulation and deployment in Nigeria.

Prince Bayo

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You may also like

Business Opinion Technology Technology Trends Telecoms

South Africans can now access faster and affordable internet as Liquid Dataport lands Equiano in Cape Town


Liquid Dataport, a business of Cassava Technologies,  is bringing much-needed access to affordable internet in South Africa. Liquid Dataport has acquired a pair of fibre cables on Equiano, the new West coast submarine cable, capable of delivering up to 12 Terabytes of new internet capacity, providing the South African economy with the boost it needs to ensure the successful digital transformation of businesses and individuals. See



The additional capacity augments Liquid Dataport’s existing pan-African fibre network, global satellite connectivity and subsea cable backbone that ensures businesses on the continent have access to affordable and reliable high-speed connectivity – a vital element as they leverage the digital economy. The Equiano sea cable is the highest capacity cable landing in South Africa. Liquid Dataport foresee a much-needed drop in internet connectivity prices and improved quality in South Africa and numerous sub-Saharan countries. As Liquid’s existing and potential…

Read More
Business Investments Opinion Technology Technology Trends Telecoms

How cloud technology can boost economic development in Africa


Cloud technology could be a major enabler of economic development on the African continent – but some stubborn barriers need to be cleared first, says Andrew Cruise, Managing Director of vendor neutral cloud infrastructure provider, Routed.

The African continent represents 60 percent of the world’s arable lands and 30 percent of the earth’s mineral reserves – making it a rich continent in many ways. Yet it contributes only 2 percent of the world’s research output and lags behind in several key technological sectors. For the continent to achieve its potential and escape the unsustainable colonial development model of resource extraction, investment in digital competencies is crucial. In certain areas, the continent is faring reasonably well in this regard. Mobile penetration, for example, is skyrocketing – 615 million users in sub-Saharan Africa are

Read More
Business Government News Security Society Technology Technology Trends




The Honorable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami FNCS FBCS FIIM has said that it has become imperative to implement legislations that will ensure the protection and confidentiality of citizens data as part of the government’s responsibility to protect the lives and property of Nigerians.

Prof. Pantami made his assertion when he flagged off the “National Validation on Data Protection Bill” workshop organised by the Nigeria Data Protection Bureau (NDPB) in collaboration with the Nigeria Digital Identification for Development (ID4D) at the Nigeria Air Force (NAF) Conference Centre, Abuja.

In his keynote address, Pantami said that as part of efforts to sustain the country’s digital economy growth, it was crucial to have legislation that would ensure data protection considering the amount of data being generated in the country daily.

He said, “We know the data generated today is mind-boggling and we must therefore have regulations in place…

Read More
Announcements Business Gadgets Leisure News Society Technology Technology Trends

Garmin Enduro 2 ultraperformance smartwatch adds mapping, touchscreen and its longest-ever battery life


Garmin International, Inc., a unit of Garmin Ltd. (NYSE: GRMN), today announced the Enduro 2 ultraperformance multisport GPS smartwatch. Purpose built for endurance athletes, the rugged yet lightweight Enduro 2 includes built-in TopoActive maps with multicontinent coverage, a superbright LED flashlight and Garmin’s exclusive SatIQ™ technology to help optimize battery performance. What’s more, enhanced solar harvesting provides up to 46 days in smartwatch mode and up to 150 hours in GPS mode1 to outlast the longest ultra race or greatest adventure.

Crafted with premium materials for ultimate durability and comfort, Enduro 2 includes a lightweight and sophisticated titanium bezel and rear case, 1.4” Power Sapphire™ lens, Ultrafit nylon band for a secure and comfortable fit, and a new touchscreen interface that complements Garmin’s traditional button controls. During the day, Enduro 2 harnesses the sun’s energy to provide battery life of up to 150 hours in GPS mode and up to…

Read More
Business Energy Government Investments News Security Society Telecoms Tourism

Africas Economic Growth Decelerates Sharply


Africa’s economic activity is expected to expand by a moderate 2.7% in 2022 and 2.4% in 2023, following a rebound of 5.1% in 2021, according to the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) its Trade and Development Report 2022 .

As a result, an additional 58 million Africans will fall into extreme poverty in 2022, adding to the 55 million already pushed into extreme poverty by the COVID-19 pandemic, the report says.

“The economic slowdown causes further setbacks in the realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Rebeca Grynspan.

According to the report, almost 60% of Africa’s low-income countries are already in debt distress or at high risk of it, as debt levels, both private and public, stand at record levels.

Besides, more than 60% of African countries need external assistance for food, with hunger further spreading across the continent.

Several new challenges

UNCTAD says the sharp economic slowdown…

Read More
Business Events Health Trends

mPharma Launches Hypertension Test and Treat Program to Control Hypertension in Africa


To celebrate world heart day, mPharma ( launched the Hypertension Test and Treat program (HTT) to support the prevention and control of hypertension in Africa. Heart disease is one of the greatest causes of premature death in Africa.The World Health Organization estimates that the prevalence of hypertension is highest in the African region, with about 46% of adults aged 25 years and older being hypertensive compared to 35% in the Americas and other HIC, and 40% elsewhere in the world. Hypertension is of public health importance in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in urban areas, with evidence of considerable under-diagnosis, treatment, and control. There is an urgent need to develop strategies to prevent, detect, treat, and control hypertension according to a research by Julliet Addo et al.


The HTT program will be delivered through the company’s network of mutti pharmacies in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Zambia with plans to…

Read More
Announcements Business Opinion

Keep customer promises to ensure success,Ukheshe appoints Lee Ziervogel as COO




In today’s fast-paced, wealth-driven world where customer service often ends at the point of sale, true business success requires solid, customer-centric ethics.


This is the belief of Lee Ziervogel, the newly appointed Chief Operating Officer at fintech enablement company Ukheshe. “This is especially important for a fintech company like Ukheshe. It’s essential to manage our clients’ journeys with our highly technical products, because if they’re successful, so are we.


“I love being surrounded by an ethically sound team that operates from these solid business principles. One of Ukheshe’s core focus areas is enabling financial inclusion, and enriching lives.”


Ziervogel’s people-centric approach ensured her success as President of Customer Delivery and Success at Ukheshe before stepping into the role of COO. She explains: “I was leading the part of the organisation that is responsible for ensuring we meet our promises to our clients. This needs to happen from several perspectives – regulatory and…

Read More
Business Events News Technology Technology Trends Telecoms

NCC, NLRC inaugurate committee to strengthen consumer protection

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC) on Thursday in Abuja set up a committee to work towards the protection of the interest of telecom consumers against malpractices that may attend mobile lotteries in the country.
The Committee, which was inaugurated at the NCC Head Office in Abuja, was tasked with the responsibility of articulating measures to address mutual regulatory issues, including the review of revenue-sharing formula between Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) and lottery operators.
The NCC’s Executive Commissioner, Stakeholder Management (ECSM), Barrister Adeleke Adewolu, who presided at the meeting comprising senior staff of the two agencies, recalled fondly previous engagements between the agencies and stated that the committee was important in order to review and…

Read More