The failed ID Card project was one of the vital project initiated by the administration of Obasonjo. However, just as other equally important projects initiated in Nigeria, the project was allowed to fail or not to take off due to corruption, lack of political will, incompetence, policy inconsistency, and general inefficiency. This made the actualisation of this laudable project impossible. The gains of an ID card policy transcend economics, political, social, legal, technological and fight against terrorism. It is imperative that we go back to the project and complete it because of the different benefits inherent in the scheme.
The ID card project can be of immense advantage to the economic revival of the country. If our intention to modernise the Nigeria economy and to be a cashless economy, we need to implement the ID card project. The economic benefit of the ID card project will positively affect the different sector of the economy. It will help the tax system and will greatly improve the tax collection of the government. As we aim to diversify our economy from a mono economy, we need to have an effective tax system that will be aided by an ID card system because all the transaction will be done in a system that will capture our income and expenditure. This will also help us to be able to control the cash circulation and inflation in the country. The ID card system will also help the economic and political planners to plan and implement policies that will affect the population .It is an open secret that our economic planners plan with fake and false data’s. This false data has not made government programmes effective the population because of inaccurate data. Moreover, this false data also affects the policy implementation as the false data breeds faulty implementation or implementation that does not impact on the life of the population. In addition, the global economy generally is an e-economy and the use of an ID card will facilitate the easy conversion to a cashless and e-economy. This will also improve the service delivery because the government and others will implement policies and programme that will be directed at service delivery. The ID card system would also be an immense success in the financial sector and other sectors of the economy.
Apart from the economic effects, the social benefit of the ID card system is big. It can help in collecting data’s that will help the government in setting up social infrastructure that will benefit the local community. The availability of the data collected will also help the government in tackling crime as people’s fingerprints and other valuable data that will help in tracing criminal and criminal activities will be easily available. In addition, it will help us in easily tracing the true origin of those that perpetuate crime, terrorism on the guise of religious disturbance and illegal immigration. In addition, the effective implementation of an ID card policy will help us arrive at an accurate population census once we will be able to register the death and birth rates. It is no doubt good because some researchers and policy makers rely most times on wrong, inaccurate and falsified data in policy implementation and formulation. This is why most of the programmes fail even before implementation. In all honesty do we really know the accurate population and composition of our population in Nigeria.
The ID card policy will also be of benefit in our political evolution. It could help in having an effective voter’s register as the data of every citizen would easily be accessible and will minimise fake voting and election rigging. This would make our adoption of e-voting easy.
Moreover, an effective ID card system will help our legal system. This could be in form of tracking offenders to the adjudication of cases in court
If we are talking of modernising our economy, we should embrace an ID card system. Our transactions are haphazardly and this breeds inefficiency, corruption and manipulation. With accurate data our planning, implementation and excursion of project will positively affect the population. In addition, they are numerous loophole and openings that people can easily circumvent for their own personal, sectional and selfish interest .For us to be competitive and join the rest of the modern and growing economy we need to modernise and adopt an ID card policy that will aid in data collection and use.
Ogwu Paul Okwuchukwu
Leicester , UK.