For his role in championing the quest of a digital economy for Nigeria, which he got President Muhammadu Buhari to approve, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Pantami was at the weekend named the Digital Leader of the 2020.
The innovative goal-oriented approach of his administration and leadership which has been commended by the President, describing the synergy in the digital sector as worthy of emulation was another reason he was conferred with the Award “DIGITAL LEADER OF THE YEAR 2020” during the 4th edition of the Nigeria Tech Innovation and Telecoms Awards (NTITA), an event organized to celebrate organizations and individuals in the technology sector who have distinguished themselves exceptionally.
The ongoing transformation of the sector championed by the Minister, seeks to ensure the sector conforms with the 21st-century reality where a digital economy thrives seamlessly has severally been hailed by State Governors, Serving Cabinet Minister, Industry Captains, among others.
Shortly before receiving the award, some dignitaries at the event poured encomium on him, of such, the Governor of Imo State, Mr. Hope Uzodinma, said: “On Wednesday 21st August 2019, when he was sworn in as the minister to oversee the Ministry of Communications, some of us who followed his activities as the Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) were convinced that he was going to lift the ministry from where it was to the next level. Knowing him as a thinker, an individual full of innovative ideas, and a man under whose leadership NITDA came up prominently to the fore”.
His Borno State counterpart, Mr. Babagana Zulum, said: “Honestly speaking not because the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy is here with us, the activities of the Ministry of Communications was not well known to many Nigerians before his arrival as the minister of Communications. We have applauded his competency in handling the affairs of the ministry, he gingered the performance in his ministry that makes it possible for him to achieve a lot during his short stay in office.”
Also speaking, the Kaduna State Governor, Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State, said: “If you will list 2 or 3 performing Ministers in this administration, the Minister, Dr Pantami is at the top. He took a Ministry that was sleeping and upgraded it to a 21st century Ministry”.
It is on record within a year in office, the Minister developed 10 National policies and commissioned over 50 projects to accelerate the development of Nigeria’s Digital Economy for a Digital Nigeria.
In the face of the global COVID 19 pandemic, Pantami ensured continuity in governance by coming up with the innovation that allowed for top government activities such as the Federal Executive Council Meetings, National Council of States Meetings to be held virtually on a secured and dedicated platform.
Under the leadership of Pantami, Broadband penetration hit an unprecedented 43.30%. Over 120,000 Nigerians have already been empowered with digital skills in line with the paradigm shift championed by the Minister, Dr Pantami where emphasis is placed on skills in preference to merely having degrees without skills.
Within a few months in office, Pantami also addressed the Right of Way (RoW) challenges that had lingered for over a decade. He brought an end to the sale and usage of pre-registered and improperly registered SIM Cards and likewise ensured that telecom infrastructures were declared as critical National asset, a feat the telecom industry captains were long yearning for.
Under the leadership of Pantami, the directive of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari GCFR to ensure all agencies of government under the supervision of a ministry are effective and efficient in service delivery to Nigerians is headed to the latter.