I have said it a million times and many Nigerians and the whole world know this, we are not bereft of talents in this country. The only thing holding us down is bad leadership via a colluding elite class which unfortunately is a product of our society which unfortunately that same colluding class will not be happy to change. But in all that, there are many ordinary Nigerians passionate to help salvage this country from the mess she has found herself in. In their silent corners, they keep thinking of how to make things better, articulating concepts to move the country forward just as many also keep discussing the issues with Nigeria (and Nigerians) in their separate chat rooms.
Jacobs Edo comes along as one of those that have had their own passion boil up to the point where he had to spend some of his expensive time to put down in writing, frameworks for the progress of his fatherland. Nigeria has him to thank for his work “Digital Transformation – Evolving a digitally enabled Nigerian public service”, a book that articulates a complete policy framework to set Nigeria apart like so many of her peers around the world. I personally have read the book and can appreciate the vision after he broke it down for laymen like us and this would be the second time I have come across such bright minds who are able to set out a vision that can transform the way we work to bring in efficiency, transparency and speed. The first was in my office where one of my bosses shared a particular vision with a select few of us and I was so dumb that I struggled to understand where he was going (characteristics of laymen) but later came around and by the time he had finished and the strategy implemented, it was a “waohed” me that carried the thing on my head and ran with it. Interestingly, both are from the same part of the country and I am beginning to think of a strategy to ensure am yoked together with that part either through my son’s in-law (oh my, just thinking about it, I already have a proposal and he is from that area!) or a chieftaincy title purchase “kpaapkaa”!
In digital transformation, Jacobs Edo envisions a Nigeria in which things are tied together digitally. As I read the book, the picture that came to my mind was that of my hand coming together in a fold to produce a solid punch!, something a lot of Nigerians’ already think of, a way of digitally tying together all the bits and pieces of discreet processes and systems that exist currently; drivers licensing, INEC cards, phone data capture, BVN, national ID cards etc. The framework goes beyond that though because it first calls for the transformation of the building blocks by way of ensuring the efficiency of the civil service for example, because he realizes that without people efficiency any system will not achieve its ultimate goal. Take an example, my driver’s license with data recapture that expired since June 2016!
and my three turns to the FRSC office to process a renewal. A three months extension was stamped on a paper after the initial one expired and a further six months have now been stamped as a compromise after I negotiated for a year’s extension since the six months had not worked. The guy opted for a six-month having realized that granting a one-year implied he was confirming their inefficiency to a greater level. This is a country where the bank’s ATM cards with more security requirement are now issued instantly. A related frustrating experience is also the processing of my graduate transcript which meant I had to visit the school physically for about three times and almost got tired of pursuing the process while it took an email right from my desk, with a response within 24 hrs to pursue a similar process for my postgraduate transcript from a school in the UK.
As I will always be grateful to the Jehovah witnesses for my first introduction to the Internet via an article in their Awake magazine years back, so will I remain ever grateful to Jacobs Edo for my first introduction to the concept of “blockchain”, a concept I now began to notice in many publications interestingly immediately after reading about it in his book (just like you begin to notice a particular brand of car once you make the decision to buy it for yourself or someone). He says the blockchain technology can be described as a distributed payment database in which every member of such a network has a copy of the same digital ledger and there is a regular update of the ledger as soon as a transaction is complete. The concept underpins the bitcoin crypto-currency which the whole Nigeria or at least the three million that are into MMM can relate to as the promoter have recently opted to pay participants via that route such that I read recently the head of Google in Nigerian have attributed a high percentage of Internet searches to be about the concept. Other catch phrases I learnt where “big data”, “internet of everything” and other IT jargons he was graceful enough to bring down to earth.
The advantages of the implementation of such a framework is not far fetched as it will encourage the fight against corruption (similar to the foul buttocks the BVN has opened, checkmating some corrupt people with multiple looting accounts), ensure the government is able to plan with correct data (not the contested census or INEC figures we have had to deal with all along) and open up multiple opportunities for SME’s.
And if you are wondering whether the reading is technical and a hard stuff to read, worry no more, because the guy was pretty good he started with some history lessons from around the world that make for an interesting read before laying out the vision he received for his motherland Nigeria.
My only hope is that you will grab a copy and read for yourself (after all this is social media
and you cannot trust that I am telling you the truth) and that someone will take notice and act!
Obidike Peter wrote from www.peterobidike.com and firstname.lastname@example.org