For his revolutionary initiative that triggered the introduction of modern technology to state ministries, he occupies a conspicuous place amongst Lagos State Galaxy of Stars.
Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, whose arrival into the public service from an illustrious private sector career, was announced by his appointment as Commissioner for Science and Technology during the tenure of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu in August 2005, hitting the ground running, with rolled-up sleeves, aptly described his duty- assumption disposition.
Like a big bang, his appointment induced silence in the State political circles and forced observers to make meaning of the new addition to a somewhat perfect team, which had delivered on its promises of enterprise building and good governance, after the state had suffered decades of military rule.
The suave initiate abated wagging tongues with his clinical execution and superlative delivery of projects that were hitherto adjudged complex. Just as his appointment made life easier for the Lagos State residents, the State government’s operations also became more efficient.
Retaining him as Commissioner for Science and Technology when Governor Babatunde Fashola assumed office in 2007 was natural because of his comprehensive rollout plan of designed initiatives that permanently changed the face of data and record keeping in the state, and swiftly dispatched the ‘ghost workers’ phenomenon in the state civil service.
One after the other, Hamzat untangled historical challenges that had crippled the efficiency of different facets of state operations and made drudgery a forgotten part civil servants’ operations in the state.
Let the counting begin:
- Hamzat implemented Electronic Document Management Systems (EDMS) across various agencies in the state civil service including Lands Bureau, Pension Directorate and automation of the Certificate of Occupancy Process. By this, he simplified the internal operational procedures and made statutory document collection easier for the people of Lagos State.
- He supervised the going live, maintenance, operation and upgrade of the Enterprise Resource Planning Software (Oracle Business Suite), with Eleven Modules for the State. This business application serves as the backbone of the state public service operations, which helps in managing its global businesses and operations, improves decision making, reduces costs and increases performance.
- With the implementation of e-Health in thirteen General Hospitals across the State, Hamzat could be superficially said to have boosted the State’s health system with technological innovation, but a deeper implication of this front-line effort is reduced mortality rate in the State, which is a corollary of intelligent reduction in out-patient queues in our hospitals.
- He completed the GIS (Geographic Information Systems) for the whole of Lagos State. Amongst other benefits, the GIS was installed to provide a visual representation of data for the state and serve means for data storage in a database for representation in a visually mapped format.
- His upgrade and management of the State Network Infrastructure improved network connectivity, communication, operations and management of enterprise network in the State. The exercise also improved the efficiency of the communication path and services between users, processes, applications, services and external networks/the internet in Lagos State. This is a positive influence on our social and commercial lives.
- He introduced ICT laboratories and facilitated e-tutor installation in over 220 Secondary Schools across the State to improve learning quality and process. Specifically, the scheme was implemented to train our children with the modern learning equipment used for teaching in metropolises around the world like Lagos State.
- The ICT Skill Acquisition for 1500 youths under his watch at the Lagos State Ministry for Science and Technology was an empowerment programme executed to strengthen the capacity of the participating youths in ICT to enable them explore the endless opportunities the skill offers.
- A steadfast dynamo, he planned and set-up the Lagos State Residents’ Registration Agency to gather and create a beneficial database of all Lagos State residents, with a view to providing useful and reliable information for social welfare, infrastructural needs analysis, political, security, employment and financial activities among others. This celebrated initiative is touted as Lagos State’s equivalent of US social security number.
- In 2009, Hamzat planned a top-line Forensic Laboratory that would support provision of better evidence in the adjudication of criminal cases and unresolved murder cases in the State. By this effort, Hamzat made it possible for Africa’s most populous nation to independently investigate criminal incidents and significantly reduce instance of miscarriage of justice caused by improper investigation or human error through the Forensic Laboratory in Badagry
- With his implementation of Eleven Solar Villages across the State, which means off-grid electrification of some designated areas, Hamzat-led decentralized solar-energy supply is targeted at initiating and improving economic and social development in the State, particularly, through provision of electricity for SMEs and other categories of private sector operators, recognized as the drivers of economic growth.
- He admirably completed the State’s Storage Area Network (SAN) Infrastructure to enhance the capacity of existing storage devices and augment the capacity of current information storage. This effort is geared at averting loss of document and guarantees information security. With this, valuable State information and archival materials are indestructible as they are now stored in modern storage such as disk arrays and tape libraries.
Indisputably, Dr. Hamzat recorded remarkable feats during his tenure as Commissioner for Science and Technology between 2005 and 2011, initially in the Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu’s government, and later under Babatunde Raji Fashola’s administration.
His aptitude for conception and implementation of defining initiatives and projects, which came in torrents, could not be ignored. Rather, his perspicacity was put to more use by deploying him to the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure between 2011 and 2015, during Fashola’s second term. It may be important to highlight that the Ministry had no Commissioner in the first term of the administration, but a Special Adviser, who was directly supervised by the Governor. This was because of the importance of the Ministry to the Governor and the urgent need for a revolution in state-wide infrastructural development.
Hamzat’s efficiency ship berthed at the Ministry of Works and Infrastructure, and the streams of infrastructural development already assuaging the infrastructure deficits in the State began to flow faster. This contributed to increased affinity of the Fashola’s administration among Lagosians.
As a best-in-class public administrator, Hamzat understood that government’s responsibility towards a growing population of 21 million people in Lagos State required critical planning to avoid disruption of public life and commercial activities. This manifested in the coordinated execution of numerous world-class projects executed to support the population, and drive the State’s developmental agenda of becoming Africa’s model megacity as well as a global economic & financial hub.
With its litany of soul-pleasing newly-built infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, public building, offices and other infrastructure assets, Fashola’s name became imperishably etched on the minds of Lagos State residents. This also meant that Hamzat’s works were evident and deservedly appreciated by the people.
Hamzat is a team player who eschews the limelight, but craves collective achievement. This explains why his name is not in the air like those with little achievement, who need loudness to fill the void created by their ineptitude. For his extraordinary performance and rare technical ability, Babatunde Raji Fashola, an outstanding Minister, with oversight for three critical ministries namely Power, Works and Housing, picked him as his Special Adviser (Technical).
In this advisory role, which he occupied from January 2016 to July 2018, Hamzat was Adviser to the Honourable Minister on roads and other infrastructure assets. In addition to this, he also served as Consultants to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on public infrastructure such as Architectural designs, Structural designs, Quantity surveying, Mechanical and Engineering devices.
His forte also extended to Quality control of Civil Engineering and Building Projects, Planning, Designing and Implementation of Infrastructure Programme as well as Rehabilitation and Maintenance of Roads & Bridges and Research & Development.
Kadri Obafemi Hamzat was born on September 19, 1964 in Lagos to His Royal Highness Oba Olatunji Hamzat, an influential Lagos politician, a member of the Lagos State House of Assembly and Commissioner for Transportation between 1979 – 1983) and one-time Vice-Chairman SW of Alliance for Democracy (AD). His mother is late Alhaja Amudalat Kehinde Hamzat, who is from Iga Egbe in Lagos Island.
Oba Olatunji Hamzat, Dr. Hamzat’s father, later became the Lagos West Senatorial District leader of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and a Monarch in Ewekoro LGA in Ogun State through his maternal royal lineage, even though he is from the Ajiborisha ancestry of Epe in Lagos State, his paternal hometown.
Before public service, he had garnered about two decades of work experience in notable leading global institutions like the City of New York, RTP Consulting Services, Columbia University, College of New Rochelle, Cranfield University, Merrill Lynch Inc., Morgan Stanley, Citibank, and Oando Plc.
At the College of New Rochelle and Columbia University – an Ivy League University, both in the United States of America and Cranfiled University in the United Kingdom, Hamzat served as students’ adviser and was responsible for curriculum development, teaching of computer programming and system administration of Windows NT workstations & Servers to students.
His know-how in information technology also served three of the world’s largest banks – Citibank, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley Inc., as System Design Lead, Design, Implementation and Alignment of I.T Strategy with Business Direction, and as Consultant on System and Infrastructural Upgrade.
As Chief Information Officer (CIO) and Group Head, IT& Strategy at Oando Plc, he was responsible for managing the company’s information assets. His career is an intermingling of valuable experiences and uncommon expertise, spanning academics, human resources administration, information technology, consulting and advisory services, Oil& Gas, investment and financial services, project management, strategy and process design, and social service which was his role at the City of New York.
A private sector prodigy, whose magnificent entry into public service, headlined notable publications that chronicled his accomplishments, Hamzat has resoundingly affirmed his expertise on both halves of the economic field, comprising the private and public sectors. Highly revered and extensively decorated for his efficient resources utilization in the private sector and gallantry in public service, he was the winner of the 2013 edition of the Lagos State Man of the Year Awards and an unprecedented recipient of CTO commendation within the first year of employment.
Beyond accolades, Hamzat’s, extensive knowledge and leadership ability have earned him a seat at critical decision making and advisory tables. These include serving as Chair, State Consultancy Board, Vice Chair, State Tenders Board, Vice Chair, State Light Rail Negotiation Committee, Member, State Treasury Board and Committee Member on Realigning of Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government.
This family-centered man, whose marriage to Oluremi Hamzat is blessed with lovely children. Hamzat, a practicing Muslim, had his early education at Odu Abore Memorial Primary School in Mushin and Olivet Baptist High School, Oyo State. For his tertiary education, attended the University of Ibadan, where he graduated with a B.Sc. (Second Class Upper) in Agricultural Engineering in 1986 and a M.Sc. in Crop Processing Engineering in 1988.
In 1992, he earned a Ph.D. in System Process Engineering from Cranfield University, England and was the first student in the department to complete his doctorate within three years. He is also an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education Programme.
With two publications in reputable Scientific Journals to his name, the Microsoft System Engineer, member of the Nigeria Computer Society and Fellow of Nigeria Society of Engineers, also attended a World Bank Third Country Training Programme in Singapore to keep himself abreast of challenges facing the developing nations of world.
Dr. Hamzat has deep interest in development economics, social welfare and gender empowerment. He is a vociferous voice against discriminatory policies that debase humanity.