How kaadi Igbe Ayo now fares
By Adetokunbo Abiola
In 2013, Kaadi Igbe Ayo, which is Yoruba for Card for Good Living, was launched in Ondo State. It was a revolutionary multi-functional smart card with over 90 applications.
The Ondo residency smart card captured bio data, occupation, family size, income level, tax records, and just about everything about the citizen even up to health records. Since it is a smart card, this meant that the information on the card could be updated as the circumstances of the citizen changed. It was scalable and more apps could be added to Kaadi Igbe Ayo at anytime.
In terms of functionality, the closest e-governance card, to Kaadi Igbe Ayo was the national card in Malaysia and it didn’t come close to the quantum nature of data of the Ondo State Residency Card.
However, on assumption of office, the present administration in Ondo State under the leadership of the Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, directed that Kaadi Igbe Ayo be subjected to detailed scientific analysis with a view to putting it into use.
The residency card, it knew, would serve as an interface in all transactions between the government and residents, allow all residents equal access to government’s social and welfare services and allow government to monitor the distribution of such services even to the remotest parts of the state at every point. But that is not all: it facilitates the systematic development of databases for efficient security and surveillance purposes, the categorisation of citizens for employment, taxation and financial palliatives, the use/management of public facilities (public transport, subsidized consumer products, even fertilizer).
Consequent upon the scientific test, the present administration in the state discovered that about 43,000 out of 612,000 residents who registered under the Kaadi Igbe Ayo had no mobile phone numbers, 23,000 without surnames while more than 50,000 were without identifiable residential addresses and photographs therefore rendering them invalid.
Since it is the belief of the present administration that the wheels of human progress can only roll faster with the application of scientific knowledge, computer engineers were deployed to put into use the power of ICT not only to correct the initial problems facing the card but upgrade it to a smartcard that can perform all it original functions with additional values.
So today, the card’s new features include digital photograph, state residency ID Number, expiring date, security, etc. With these additional values, the smart card could enable government to expand, manage, evaluate and control social services, carry out economic planning, general administration, security of lives and property, etc.
At various times in the past decade, a number of state governments have initiated a residency card project or some other forms of identification cards. The Delta State (2016) and Edo State (2010) governments launched residency cards, which appeared to have gone defunct after colourful full-page adverts announcing the projects in national newspapers.
In 2012, the Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha planned to introduce a state identification card for Northerners, and in 2013 it introduced a ‘smart ID card’ for civil servants in the state.
The Rauf Aregbesola administration of Osun State launched a smart card for civil servants in April 2014. It was to serve several purposes including being a source of identification. In August of the same year, it launched a Students Card. On the day of the “launch” of the civil servants card, as it turned out, there was neither a database for the card nor proof that any citizen had been issued with one. None of these cards have been widely deployed till date.
The Lagos State Residency Registration Agency was created in 2011. As at July 2017, records from the agency’s website indicate that only 400,000 permanent cards are “ready for collection”.
Another problem with the idea is that it hasn’t caught among many Nigerians. For instance, during the initial launch of the project, a human rights activist and lawyer, Morakinyo Ogele, brought the Ondo State government to the High Court sitting in Akure over mandate that all State citizens have a Residency Card, known as Card Igbeayo.
“The suit demanded a declaration that the demand for Residency Card (Kadi Igbeayo) by the respondents from all residents residing in Ondo State before having access to government utilities, infrastructures and amenities to Wit: Primary schools, secondary schools, secondary schools, state polytechnic, state universities, hospitals and maternities is unconstitutional, null and void, crude, unprogressive and retrogressive and is contrary to section 18 (1) 42 (1) of 1999 constitution as amended.
Still, it’s no surprise why governments in Nigeria want to experiment with the idea.
According to demographic experts, no government can be effective at driving positive change without a credible demographic disaggregation of its people at its fingertips. Because, at the foundation of an effective social protection policy must be quality data – not taken from a sample, but from the entire population.
“It is important for all governments – federal and states to have a credible database of all its citizens for a variety of reasons,” Tejinder Sandhu, the Chief Field Office of UNICEF said in a recent interview.
So right now, Ondo State Government has upgraded its Permanent Residency Card [PRC] for optimal performance. According to the website of the Ondo State Information Technology Agency, the move will improve revenue generation, property and loans management.
It is a good idea, and one hopes the administration is successful in making the idea a permanent one in governance in the state.