by Tomide Akinribido
At the inception of Governor Olusegun Mimiko’s administration in Ondo State in 2009, he launched a 12-point programme (CARING HEART AGENDA) that aimed at enabling the people to harness all natural resources in the state as well as create and use wealth for the collective fulfilment of individual comfort in the state.
One of the 12-point programmes, led to the emergence of a residency card project tagged: ‘Kaadi Igbe Ayo’.
The project was designed to “facilitate the identification of all residents of the state so as to deliver directly to them, social, developmental and welfare packages” according to the Co-ordinator of the project, Mr.Tunde Yadeka.
He also, at the time, explained that the initiative would make it possible to “collate the information necessary for planning and executing all manner of people-oriented projects in the state” and that “the residency card will serve as an interface in all transactions between the government and residents.”
In December 2010, Dr.Mimiko flagged off the first ever Residency Card Project in Nigeria and declared that the project was primarily designed for service delivery and not for identification.
He further stated that the project was aimed at having reliable, up-to-date data of all residents in the state that would in turn serve as a precursor for effective planning and allocation of scarce government resources.
Thereafter, the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) enumerated 2,741 towns, hamlets and villages. It also identified 2,010 centres for the scheme, registration of which was voluntary.
So far, the diagnosis is that KAADI IGBE AYO is a dynamic smart card-based solution that will be processed for all residents of Ondo state to serve as interface for all public transactions points within the state. It will allow residents equal access to government’s social and welfare services and let government at every point to monitor the distribution of such services even at the most remote parts of the state.
The digital card, which comes with top security features, will be given free of charge to all interested Ondo state residents upon registration. Experts have identified areas where it will perform essential purposes as including but not limited to health care, education, agriculture, employment amongst other social and welfare packages.
Interestingly, the card will facilitate anti-corruption solutions in the public sector, enable higher level of qualitative and quantitative service delivery in people oriented sub-sector such as health, education, transportation and agriculture as well as facilitate the systematic development of databases for efficient security and surveillance purposes.
Furthermore, several pieces of information could be stored in the electronic digital card such as health records of patients, blood group and genotype of individuals, individual bio-data and records of free social services offered by the state government such as fertiliser distribution, immunisation, farm tools distribution, relief materials distribution, free drugs distribution for pregnant women and sick people, among several others.
The records captured in the card, are readable through electronic card readers and the records would not only help government get proper information of beneficiaries of its free social and welfare services but would also help government block leakages in governance. The card will check abuse of drugs and fertiliser distribution in the event that farmers want to exploit the system and take double rations thus denying others of such free services.
While it all appears grand, the execution of the project has not been without difficulties as the Ondo state Governor, Dr.Mimiko, admitted some technical difficulties challenging the successful completion of the project.
Another difficulty has been the condemnation that has come from the opposition parties in the state- PDP and ACN. Both parties, in separate published statements, have berated the Ondo state Government for what the ACN terms ‘another chapter in the series of absurdities of this clueless administration’. The PDP, on cue, also described the project as ‘another frenzy of publicity, seeking to name a baby that was never born’.
While the constant check and balance which opposition parties give incumbent government is laudable, such is only effective when criticisms are constructive.
Just as there have condemnations, there has been commendations. Minister of Communication and Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson has promised her Ministry’s support on the provision of infrastructure to make the project succeed.
From a personal perspective, the fusion of governance and innovation is a benchmark that appears to suggest a distinct purposefulness in the government of Dr.Olusegun Mimiko as it is not everyday that the lack of reliable and accurate data is tackled. That lack is what the KAADI IGBE AYO project aims at defeating and that in itself is a breath of fresh air.