In the diverse tapestry of Nigeria’s political and economic history, a remarkable transformation has been unfolding, transcending the boundaries of identity and redefining the nation’s sense of self. Previously, Nigeria was a nation where individual identities were fragmented, loosely defined by location, occupation, and circumstances. However, a monumental shift has taken place, spearheaded by the visionary leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), paving the way for a monumental gift to the nation – the empowerment of 100 million Nigerians with a distinct and tangible proof of identity.
Just some years ago, the concept of identity in Nigeria was multifaceted, with individuals navigating a web of varied personae. Geographical location, occupation, and personal circumstances shaped their sense of self, leading to a complex tapestry of multiple identities. It was not uncommon for individuals to possess numerous bank accounts bearing different names, states of origin, dates of birth, and even genders. Those years, a Mohammed in Sokoto can go to Bayelsa and become Timpreye; likewise, a Wabara of Rivers origin can become a Modu in Borno, while a Jamila in Kaduna can become a Jenifer in Enugu. These fragmented identity landscape not only presented challenges in everyday transactions but also hindered the nation’s progress towards a more inclusive and secure society.
The situation had deteriorated to an alarming and pervasive extent, reaching a level of deplorability and prevalence that was truly disturbing. Within this distressing context, individuals found themselves in possession of certificates that were passed down from their parents and siblings, treating these documents as if they held the status of transferable assets. The seriousness of the situation became increasingly evident as criminal acts were perpetrated without any regard for the potential consequences or accountability. What worsened the matter was the ease with which a criminal, apprehended by the police but lacking any form of identification, could effortlessly evade capture and establishes a new life in a different geographical location, effectively enjoying the same liberties as law-abiding citizens. This alarming lack of control and the inherent peril it posed were only amplified by the absence of reliable identification methods, heightening the overall state of vulnerability and insecurity.
Recognizing the need for change, President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration set forth a transformative vision to revolutionize Nigeria’s identity landscape. The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), under the dynamic leadership of Engr. Aliyu A. Aziz, embarked on an ambitious mission to provide a tangible proof of identity to the Nigerian population. Their efforts aimed to bridge the gap that had left the majority of Nigerians among the one billion people worldwide without basic proof of identification.
With unwavering dedication and strategic foresight, the NIMC has achieved remarkable milestones. Now, a staggering 100 million Nigerians proudly possess proof of identification, ushering in a new era of empowerment and inclusivity. This monumental accomplishment is a testament to the tireless commitment of President Buhari’s administration and the NIMC in establishing a robust and comprehensive national identification system.
The impact of this transformative gift of identity cannot be overstated. For the first time in Nigeria’s history, a vast portion of the population can access a wide array of opportunities and services previously unavailable to them. Financial inclusion becomes a reality as individuals gain access to banking services, loans, and investment opportunities. Social welfare programmes can now be effectively targeted to those who need them most. Educational opportunities expand as schools and institutions can better verify student identities, ensuring fair and equitable access. Secure online transactions become the norm, bolstering e-commerce and digital platforms.
Moreover, this achievement transcends the individual level, resonating on a national scale. A comprehensive national identification system strengthens security measures, ensuring the safety and protection of citizens. Efficient governance is facilitated as accurate identification data enables targeted policymaking and implementation. Socio-economic planning becomes more effective, as resources can be allocated based on verified identity information, leading to better outcomes for communities and the nation as a whole.
The transformation of Nigeria’s identity landscape under President Buhari’s administration and the NIMC marks a historic milestone in the nation’s journey towards progress and development. The gift of identity to 100 million Nigerians is a testament to the power of vision, determination, and inclusive governance. It symbolizes a new chapter in Nigeria’s story, one where every citizen’s voice is heard, recognized, and valued.
As the National Identity Management Commission strives in expanding its reach, diligently working towards extending proof of identity to an even greater number of Nigerians, the transformative impact it generates continues to flourish. Nigeria is gaining recognition as an exemplary nation that acknowledges and values the inherent worth and dignity of its people, equipping them with the essential tools to actively participate in the social, economic, and political fabric of the country. Also, as President Buhari’s tenure gradually eclipses and individuals reflect upon the blessings and milestones achieved under this administration, one crucial aspect that deserves significant emphasis is the invaluable gift of identity bestowed upon 100 million Nigerians under the indefatigable leadership of Engr. Aliyu A. Aziz.