President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of Mr. Kashifu Abdullahi as the fifth director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) promises to usher in a wave of refreshing changes to the agency given his antecedents. Established by an Act in 2007, NITDA had Prof. Olalere Ajayi as founding DG, followed by Prof. Cleopas Angaye who was succeeded by Mr. Peter Jack. The immediate past DG, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the fourth chief executive of the agency, is now Communications Minister.
Of all the past chief executives of the agency mentioned above, Abdullahi holds the record of being the youngest, at 39 years. Given his youthfulness, especially so in a sector that is ever dynamic – technology – Abdullahi is expected to bring changes to the sector like never before. Technology will challenge him to offer of himself, just as he industry awaits the best from the new DG.
Dr. Pantami was 43 when he was appointed in 2016. Interestedly, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi was serving as Technical Assistant to Dr. Pantami before his appointment. This is also expected to serve as a smooth booster, as Dr. Pantami is the supervising minister for NITDA. The relationship and understanding between the director-general and his former boss, now minister, will give NITDA an edge as an agency that could receive the minister’s attention the most.
Besides NITDA, the communications ministry supervises Galaxy Backbone (where Abdullahi once worked), the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Nigeria Postal Service (NIPOST), and Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd (NigComSat). Abdullahi was a principal officer at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) when he was placed on secondment to NITDA as Technical Assistant to the immediate-past NITDA chief executive, now communication minister.
A 2004 graduate of the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi state, Kashifu was born on February 21, 1980. The new D-G- of NITDA had also worked with Galaxy Backbone Limited, where he put in nine years, from 2004 – 2013, and held several positions such as Network Engineer, IP Network Field Engineer, Senior Network & Lead, IP Operations Team, and Senior Solution Architect & Lead, Technical Solution Design.
Abdullahi is a Massachusetts Institute of Technology – MIT Sloan – trained strategist with 15 years’ experience in IT operations, business transformation and solution architecture, across both private and public sectors. He attended Leadership and Management courses at Harvard University in the USA, University of Cambridge in the UK and IMD Business School in Switzerland.
As the 1st Cisco Certified Internetwork Expert (CCIE) in Nigeria’s Public Sector, he is also a Certified Project Manager and Solution Architect. He also has many professional certifications in Networking, Telecommunications, Service Management and Solution Design. In 2014, Mr Abdullahi joined the Central Bank of Nigeria as a Technology Architect, where he dedicated his time to developing Technology Architecture Repository that gives 360 view of the Bank’s IT Infrastructure and facilitated ease of decision making on new IT investment. He was part of the team that executed software license rationalization that has increased cost savings for the Bank in license annual subscriptions.
Mr Abdullahi was a key resource in the development of IT standards for the apex bank, which has reduced mean time to deploy/integrate new system by over 20%. One of his major achievements as a Technology architect was the production of 7 Solution Architectures for critical IT initiatives that helped in achieving cashless society in Nigeria.
He joined NITDA in 2017 as Technical Assistant to the Director General/CEO. Being the IT regulatory body in Nigeria mandated to implement National ICT policy, he managed execution of strategy which has increased ICT contribution to Nigerian GDP by over 13% in Q2 2018. He also coordinated Local Content initiatives that have increased ICT local production by over 200% in 2017. Mr Abdullahi is a member of both Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) and the British Computer Society (BCS).
Source: IT & Telecoms Digest – https://ittelecomdigest.com/kashifu-abdullahi/