By Abu I. Michael
If for nothing else, sociocultural and political sentiments aside, fairness demands loud applause for the present Administration of Muhammadu Buhari for two major executive propellants: the nudge towards making Nigeria become a knowledge-based economy, and the creation of the Department of Cartography and Geographic Information System (GIS) in the Office of the Surveyor General of the Federation (OSGoF) are apt.
Over the years, subsequent governments neglected the inevitability of research through which data and information are generated to inform formulation of tangible policies, implementation and execution of projects/programmes that will induce the various sectors of the economy for growth and sustainable development, and adding values to the lives of the people. It was the realization of this that President Buhari while inaugurating the National Economic Advisory Council asked the members to ensure to generate primary data which will help the Government under his purview formulate policies and projects which would be pragmatic and impactful. This digital approach to leadership is long overdue for a country like Nigeria; it is a surefooted foundation for future governments to build on in the country’s quest to reach the promised land of milk and honey.
It is this demonstration and show of commitment to positively change the Nigerian System by the Government that has inspired OSGoF under the leadership of the Acting Surveyor General of the Federation (SGoF), Taiwo S. Adeniran to begin aggressive push for the development of an Integrated Geospatial Information System (IGIS) for the country.
OSGoF is a repository of critical information, and all its activities and projects are being aligned with the 9 priority areas of the Government which formed the Next Level Agenda of Buhari Administration. Surveyor Adeniran’s leadership search for better service delivery bringing about creativity and thinking outside the box by staff of OSGoF is exemplary for all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) of the Nigerian Government. The cause for better service delivery and good governance is a noble one considering the position Nigeria occupies in the scheme of affairs in the continent of Africa and the world at large; arguably, she remains the hope of the West African sub-region and the whole of the black race. The efforts of the Government for the issues on which this write-up is centered are well prioritized; for me, they are of general acceptability for Nigerian patriots and many who want the country witness unequivocal socioeconomic growth, industrialization and technological advancement. I am always of the view that Nigeria is greater than her trials and the challenges confronting her people. Our endowments are unrivalled, and as a people, we are capable of surmounting our challenges. With these actions of Buhari-led Government we are building a base for a towering economy that will be enviable.
The creation of the Department of Cartography and GIS will give teeth to the development of the IGIS. The department is to enhance the making of maps of whatever need and build a reliable data of geospatial requirements, information on everything virtually on or within the Nigerian space. In fact, experts have buttressed the position of Surveyor Adeniran when he says, “The world cannot boast of where it is today without the enormous contributions of cartographers/map makers. It is indeed difficult to imagine how life would have been without maps and geo-information products. Proper planning and development is easier and faster by referring to maps.” He made this statement at the 41st international Conference/Workshop and Annual General Meeting of Nigerian Cartographic Association (NCA) recently held in Kaduna. It has also been argued that the objectives of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) would hardly be attained in any of the countries of the world without IGIS.
What IGIS will do for the country is beyond imagining. IGIS will help all sectors of the economy to always provide Evidence Based Decision Support System (EBDSS). The IGIS will boost the nation’s defence and security operations hence reducing the ungoverned spaces for criminal activities; agriculture, marine, mining, housing and road construction, transportations, telecommunications, electricity, finance and revenue generation, aviation, spacecraft, robotic activities and among many others require IGIS for general advancement to make conditions of life easier for Nigerians. Therefore, the necessity of the Nigeria’s IGIS Project cannot be overemphasized.
Michael is the Head of Press and Public Relations at OSGoF, Abuja