THE Federal Government through the National Population Commission (NPC) has signed a landmark deal with Nigeria’s integrated technology brand, Zinox, for the supply of the tech components and other accessories for the 2023 national census project, further justifying President Muhammadu Buhari administration’s commitment on local content promotion.
The contract, worth over N85 billion, was recently awarded to Zinox after ratification by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
In a statement, yesterday from Zinox, the company, which has already commenced supply of the first batch of about 100,000 units of the Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs) devices required for the nationwide enumeration, emerged the preferred technical partners for the exercise after scaling a rigorous bid process involving other local and international competitors.
It was noted that Zinox met the rating as an indigenous technology powerhouse with global connections which has consistently enjoyed the confidence of leading Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and other tech heavyweights the world over.
This, it was learnt, earned it an endorsement by the Federal Government for the project. Also, to its credit is the fact that it was Zinox that helped the nation’s voter registration exercise in 2006 and 2010 when big foreign tech companies contracted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) could not deliver as scheduled.
Zinox used its Z-Pad smart device to lay the foundation for Nigeria’s digital democracy upon which INEC is building on today. The smooth execution of the over $200 million INEC contract in 2010 added impetus to the profile of Zinox as a strong indigenous company with capacity and competence.
Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, said that the company had built a system of integrity and a record of excellence, both in Nigeria and internationally. Further, Ekeh noted that until there was a credible data census figure, the country cannot plan well.
Also, Managing Director, Zinox Technologies, Mrs. Kelechi Okonta, said: “It is a privilege for the Federal Government to consider us among many other companies in the world. They know we have the capacity. We are deploying all our resources to make sure it is successful.”
The 2023 census, scheduled to hold between March and April, will be the fifth to be conducted by the Nigerian government since independence in 1960 and it is coming 17 years since the last edition which was held in 2006 under the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The NPC Chairman, Alhaji Nasir Isa Kwarra, noted that the 2023 census would signal a new dawn in housing and human headcount in Nigeria as there would be no over-counting or under-counting, adding that the devices, when commissioned with the forms, maps and other digital enhancements, would ensure that enumerators are unable to go beyond the areas assigned to them. In addition, he commended Zinox for the dedication, commitment and huge capacity displayed in the way it has commenced execution of the contract.
He noted that the software (App) that would be deployed to enable and activate the PDAs was locally developed, thus fulfilling President Muhammadu Buhari’s Executive Order on local content, as well as the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) regulation on Local Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) in the procurement of the PDA devices.
The NPC Chairman said: “With all enhancements that the National Population Commission is provisioning the devices with, e.g, the Mobile Device Management, we can monitor the enumerators on the field and ensure that the data provided by Nigerians are secured and well managed for their privacy.
‘‘The geospatial resources that NPC has acquired will be deployed on the devices. This will ensure that all Nigerians are counted where they are and live. We will also be able to collect statistics on housing type and characteristics for better physical and social planning by government for the nation.
‘‘The homeless will be counted, tied to their usual place of abode, referenced with geo-coordinates; the Special Population: nomads, migrants, people in transit, etc, will be counted with geo-reference to where they are found at the time of the Census. Everyone will be counted because all Nigerians count.”