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Data policy: Why Federal Ministry of Information and Culture should be unbundled – Dr Oyedokun

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Dr. Oyedokun Oyewole
A possible separation of the Ministry of Information from Culture and the ultimate establishment of a relevant agency – National Information Management Development Agency (NIMDA)) – must not be ignored by the Federal Government, says the President/Chairman, Governing Council, IIM Africa, Dr. Oyewole Ayodeji Oyedokun.

He said the Agency will be tasked with managing the Information Lifecycle of data, information, documents, contents and archives generated by all government agencies, ensuring enabling standards, specifications, processes, laws, and policies are in place for a good data and information governance regime in the Country

Similarly, he said that the human race is living in an exciting time with data and technology at the heart of many major transformational initiatives and policies, in both public and private organizations.

However, to develop and propagate these transformational powers of technology, the Institute of Information Management (IIM-Africa) believes that the primary requirements are skilled manpower, legislations, standards, and government support.

Dr. Oyedokun, re-echoed these in his speech at the 2019 IIM National Summit and 23rd Induction/Investiture ceremony held in Abuja over the weekend.

IIM-Africa

He described IIM Africa as an exceptional international professional institute developed to promote the highest standards of excellence, integrity, competence, and research in Information Management.

The Institute, with Chapters in Ghana, South Africa, Australia, United Kingdom, United States of America and Canada, is an embodiment of everything that is good and principled about professionalism in data, information, records, document, archives, and content management education, and capacity development.

Dr. Oyedokun said that the Institute is out to position organizations and government in Africa to be globally competitive, leveraging on quality data and information for better decision making, lower cost of operations, prevention & mitigation of exposure to information risks, promotion of quality and timely service delivery, effective monitoring and evaluation of business processes, increase control over access to information, enable information governance and so on.

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In his words: “The pace of change and the challenges of the digital era means we’re not only seeing new opportunities but are also facing new risks. Strong leadership, governance, and professionalism in data, information, records, document and knowledge management will be key, both to seizing opportunities and meeting the challenges ahead.

“The Institute of Information Management is strategically positioned to help both public and private organizations in Africa develop the required frameworks, tools and culture needed to build capacity.”

“By improving professionalism in this essential field, as required in functions such as healthcare, finance, administration, engineering, construction, project management, procurement, IT, communications and so on. For any organization to seize these emerging opportunities, and meet the evolving challenges of managing information in this rising knowledge, artificial intelligence, machine learning and information age, they would need to begin to see data and information as strategic corporate assets”.

The President/Chairman, Governing Council of IIM, said that it is their desire to develop and propagate the industry here in Africa and across the globe.

“The primary requirements for a value-driven IM Industry, however, are skilled manpower, legislations, standards, and government support of which we are working on realizing in records time”, he stated.

He added that the theme for the 2019 IIM National Summit, Induction/Investiture ceremony “Institutionalizing Information Management: A Key Element for Strengthening Governance & Reforming Public Institutions” is timely, following the recently inroduced data privacy regulation in Nigeria.

“Creating trust online is a fundamental challenge to ensuring that the opportunities emerging in the information economy can be fully leveraged. The handling of data and information is a central component in this context. In today’s digital world, personal data are the fuel that drives much commercial activity online. However, how this data is used has raised concerns regarding privacy and the security of information.”

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“For these to be mitigated, information professionals in the Industry charged with managing the information lifecycle, need to evolve and assume their rightful position, as Information Management is gross misconceived in Nigeria. Government and a good number of organizations are yet to regard data and information as essential corporate assets, with a clear understanding of the difference between Information Technology and Information Management (IM).”

“The recent introduction of the data privacy regulation in Nigeria is a very good example. The Ministry in-charge of Information needs to wake up and take the lead in the scheme of things as it affects data and information, as the Ministry of Information has got a pivotal role to play for the effective management and institutionalization of Information Management in the Country.”

“Going forward, the Ministry needs to be transformed and repositioned to enable it takes its rightful position as it concerns the management of data, information, records, archives, and contents in Nigeria. A possible separation of the Ministry from Culture and the ultimate establishment of a relevant agency (National Information Management Development Agency (NIMDA)) which will be tasked with managing the Information Lifecycle of data, information, documents, contents and archives generated by all government agencies, ensuring enabling standards, specifications, processes, laws, and policies are in place for a good data and information governance regime in the Country. Setting the standards and ensuring that qualified and certified personnel are assigned to the management of government data and information.”

Lai Mhammed

Minister of Information and Culture. Alhaji Lai Mhammed

“Developing and promoting best practices in government business processes and providing adequate training and monitoring for data and information management personnel in government. Ensuring all government MDAs comply with standards, processes, procedures, and specifications as it applies to data, information, records, content, and archives use, classification, storage, collaboration, retention, and disposition. Work with other relevant government agencies in ensuring appropriate information management and technology tools are deployed at all government MDAs for effective information security, governance and so on.”

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Addressing the inductees, he said, “The Fellow of the Institute of Information Management is reserved as a sign of recognition, specially set aside for personalities who have made substantial contributions to the development of the Information Management and Technology profession, its practices or the Institute of Information Management itself and Honorary Fellows on other professionals with backgrounds outside of Information Management field but are identified as having made significant contributions that impact on the profession and the society or the Institute of Information Management”.

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