Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal has clinched the 2020 National Information Technology Merit Award (NITMA), the highest award ensemble for the Information Technology (IT) industry in Nigeria coordinated annually by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), after a keen contest between him and his Delta and Lagos states colleagues.
In a statement by the governor’s special adviser on media and publicity, Muhammad Bello, said Tambuwal, by this feat, the first Governor in Nigeria to receive the Digital Governor of the Year Award at an event held at the MUSON Centre, Lagos State Nigeria on Thursday.
Adjudged a technophile of remarkable note by the organizers, going by his superlative performances in the IT sector, Gov. Tambuwal garnered majority of the votes cast online from across the country as a result of his achievements in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in Sokoto state.
These achievements include: the establishment of an ICT Directorate in the state in 2015, deployment of techno-savvy resources in COVID-19 interventions made by the state, contributions to the NCS, eGovernment-related initiatives, computer aided E-education/awareness efforts and global ICT engagements.
Being the first Governor to appoint a Director General on ICT in Sokoto State,
within five years (2015-2020), the Tambuwal administration in Sokoto has
established an ICT Directorate, institutionalized same in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the 23 local government areas of the state.
Making ICT an integral player in the state Civil Service, his administration recruited Computer Sciences/ICT graduates, established and commissioned the first All Mackintosh ICT Resource Center in Sokoto and bankrolled the training of 23,000 civil servants on ICT.
Other accomplishments of the governor are the drafting of a bill for the establishment of Sokoto ICT Development Agency, biometric enrolment of all state-sponsored foreign students, primary school teachers and civil servants; training of 10,000 women on various components of ICT skills in the state and hosting of Google in the state, to launch the first Google Digital Skills Training in Nigeria.
In the period under review, the governor led Sokoto to become the first state to host 1000 entrepreneurs on live training program, increased budgetary allocation to the ICT sector from N80 million to N1 billion per annum and led Sokoto to win the first and second positions on e-Nigeria in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
As the COVID -19 pandemic took its toll on the world and the state, Gov. Tambuwal, deployed ICT for interventions in learning and public awareness. In the process, virtual training and lectures were launched and provided to all basic and secondary students, just as television and radio programs were broadcasted in all schools across the state.
Similarly, online activities were launched for the state media organizations whose managers were trained on ICT. In the same breath the media organizations were hosted on websites: Rima Television Sokoto: (www.rima.tv), Rima FM Sokoto: (www.rima.fm) and Rima Radio Sokoto: (www.rimaradio.com)
At the same time, virtual Ramadan Tafsir (Islamic preaching sessions), recorded, processed and uploaded on YouTube for public access, were held throughout the Ramadan period following the state government’s ban on public gatherings as required by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC).
While moving all of the state portal-web contents towards adoption of States Fiscal Transparency, Accountability and Sustainability Programme (SFTAS) in the state in compliance with the World Bank requirements, Gov. Tambuwal has given his blessings to the sponsorship of the registration of 100 qualified Sokoto indigenes to secure annual membership of the NCS the membership which started this year.
He has also facilitated partnership between the NCS, the state and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for awareness campaign on cybercrimes in all the 23 local governments of the state from the beginning of this month.
In addition to working proactively on creating ICT and cyber security awareness across the state, the state government has remodeled the VIP conference halls in Sokoto and Abuja liaison office to an international standard virtual meeting and training centers; launched the #SokotoDigitalAgenda under the ICT Directorate with the aim of achieving all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy (FMCDE) goals on ICT and digitization.
On national eGovernment-related initiatives, Sokoto state government circulated a policy mandating all MDAs to have portals/domains/subdomains under the www.sokotostate.gov.ng. In furtherance of that the MDAs were directed to be using only official email for correspondences, hence all the emails shall bear a domain tag of ..@sokotostate.gov.ng
Rebranding its portal and making all its services 100% on Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), the state government also became one of the first states to comply with the Federal Government regulations on retaining the services of Data Protection Compliance Organizations (DPCO).
In the area of education/awareness, work is in progress in the construction of a Computer Based Testing Centers (CBTs) across 3 senatorial districts of the state with specific locations at Nagarta College Sokoto, GCSS Tambuwal and GSSS Gwadabawa. The Sokoto State House of Assembly was also computerized.
At the global level, the Tambuwal administration has actively participated amongst the Nigeria delegation to the Global City teams Challenge in Washington DC, USA in 2016. It was the first state in Nigeria to qualify for eGovernment training program in Seoul Korea in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
The state government has sponsored students abroad for undergraduate and post-graduate studies on Software Engineering and other ICT related disciplines up to PhD levels, as it has concluded arrangements for the commencement of an ‘Global ICT Center’ in the state.