When I was asked speak about role of ICT in National Transformation by the Nigerian Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSS) at its 2012 South West Convention (at Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago Iwoye, Ogun State), my first thoughts were: what is national transformation? What is the transformation agenda?
Another red herring or smokescreen to divert attention away from issues that matter? Or is development part of the package? What are the issues on the ground? At Jidaw we are concerned how young people should position themselves to become active game changers. I always consider it an honour and privilege to share ideas with young minds, the hope for the future. I laud NACOSS for choosing a theme that is most relevant. The subject addresses today’s reality. What does national transformation mean to young minds? Can there be national transformation without Information and Communications Technology (ICT)? Nigeria is fifty two and thoughts of national transformation are quite in order. Is Nigeria making progress or is it all about activity?
Jidaw continually asks: what manner of independence do Nigerians enjoy? How true is independence to the Nigerian? Meaning, fulfillment of promise, true liberation or are we merely exchanging shackles? Replacing old chains with new ones? Rising trends reflecting and reinforcing backwardness are alarming. Transformation is positioned as an agent of progress. But it’s truly hard to see how any future ideas, no matter how big, can become reality in the absence of ICT.
What is National Transformation?
Transformation is change. To transform is be different from the past – to become a new entity. It is about dramatic and thorough change. Very often we limit transformation to dramatic change in form or appearance. But at Jidaw we believe it can have deeper meaning. It could characterize the way our thought processes change – a total departure from old thinking and reorientation in the way we think and act. For nations, it could refer to a complete change in the state of the economy, security, education, etc. Essentially the old order gives way to new.
Life itself is transformation, Change is constant, and often we unconsciously watch change happen. In life things keep evolving. Nothing really stays the same. Sometimes transformation may really be about the speed of change. Change can be lightning fast or the gradual shedding of old skin. Transformation is really nothing abnormal – it is our reality
There are changes that are outside our control – the weather, our choice of parents, the lecturer’s background, earthquakes, today’s date, etc. But Jidaw notes that change can also be a conscious decision. There are transformation challenges in all areas, in all levels – personal, business, career, social, spiritual, local, national, global, etc. Allowing ourselves to be influenced by peers and the environment is a choice. Some of us change our direction in life because of what people (peers, parents, colleagues, total strangers) say. Disrespecting the status quo in the surroundings is a choice. All innovators, inventors have had to keep status quo in its place.
Change and ICT? Our interest should be in harnessing the potential of ICT for transformation.
HAVE YOUR SAY: What are your thoughts on Change, ICT and Transformation? Please share your comments, thoughts and opinions.
Innovation and Development Advisor, ICT at Jidaw
ICT Development Advisory Support and Consulting