Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun yesterday registered for the National Identity cards in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital.
The former president who registered at the secretariat of National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), called for inclusion of blood group as part of data to be obtained from Nigerians.
According to Obasanjo, “I hope that as time goes on, we will even be able to include blood group of each individual so that if anybody has any accident and he needs blood transfusion, it is from his identity card that you'll know what blood group and what type of blood such requires”.
Obasanjo, however, identified importance of the cards, saying "with one identity card, we'll not need a drivers' licence, we will not need another card for voting, you will not need another card for your contributory pension, you will not need another card for your health insurance, that with one card, you will not only be identified, but you will be able to do your business throughout Nigeria.
Obasanjo said "it is a document that every Nigerian deserves which is even coming late. But we thank God that after the initial steps in 1979, more than 30 years ago, we have come back.
"I hope that this step that we are taking now will be sustained and will serve all the needs of Nigerians. It will also help us to maintain a little bit of security.
"Our Francophone sister countries have had it for so many years. When we made the attempt in 1979, there were people who were fighting against it.
Today, because it is a project, a programme and a document which time should have even come before now, nobody is protesting now".
However, Director of IT and Identity Database, Abuja, Mr. Aziz disclosed that
President Goodluck Jonathan would launch the national identity card by next week, saying "after the president launches the card, everybody who had registered can start getting it."
"On the issue of blood group raised by the former president, right now, it is not included in the card because we cannot verify the blood group of people but what we have is the National Identification Number which is also expected to be in the database of the National Health Insurance so that you can use that to connect and get that information."
"But he had advised that we should work towards updating the system and take care of the blood group issue so we insist that people should bring in their documentation before we take the data.
"The response of Nigerians is good, all along they have wanted to be identified, and we had systems before that did not work, so we had to plan this one carefully and take it to its logical conclusion. We are not in a hurry to go with a big bang and we planned this for a long time."
Governor Amosun said the ID card would help the government to execute projects and policies for Nigerians.
He said "If we know those that are within the ages of 16 and 35, I don't know how it is categorised; we would be able to plan for them. And those from 35-60, the official retirement age, we will to plan for them as well."