Advancing Nigeria’s digital future is crucial for social and economic growth. Tokenist gestures, half hearted sloganeering will not do. This is the consistent message of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), under the leadership of its President, Professor David O. Adewumi which he emphasizes during high level meetings with critical stakeholders. To push this agenda further NCS recently met with the House Committee on ICT Chairman, Engr. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau, SystemSpecs CEO, John Tani Obaro and Precise Financial Systems MD, Yele Okeremi in separate visits.
At the core of NCS strategy is practical engagement with partners and stakeholders on advancing Nigeria’s digital future for sustainable national development. During the visits, views were exchanged, while an overview was given of relevant strategic programs of NCS.
At the meetings Adewumi observed that though Nigeria has come a long way, it was not far enough. Despite some recent achievements and improvements in the digital landscape in Nigeria, we need to do more, practically, on the ground. The role of technology is vital in empowering citizens economically and socially and laying the foundations for sustainable development. However, talk is cheap. We have had more discussions on technology than ever before. But NCS is concerned that there is too much talking the talk without walking the walk. Digital Inclusion is still a challenge that can’t be covered up by empty sloganeering. Technology must transform people’s lives.
Adewumi noted during the high level meetings that words will not secure or advance our digital future. According to him the visits and NCS’s upcoming conference are therefore organized to sensitize stakeholders on the need to start embracing individual and organizational responsibility for technological growth that creates a better, brighter future for the nation. Taking place from July 23 to 25, 2014 at Nike Lake Resort, Enugu – Enugu State (#NCSEnugu2014), the 25th National Conference of NCS has the theme: “Building a Knowledge-Based Economy in Nigeria: The Role of Information Technology”. NCS is walking the talk through inclusive dialogue and strategic initiatives.
These efforts are integral to NCS’s engagement strategy which is in line its digital agenda of developing a globally competitive, technology driven and prosperous Nigeria. Strategic engagements bring the issues to a wide audience and in a highly focused way to address the numerous challenges in this rapidly transforming sector.
IT has the ability to bring far reaching local solutions and improvements in job creation, youth empowerment, healthcare, security, poverty alleviation, etc. Nigeria is resource-rich but talent and resources are not enough in the global marketplace. A pro-innovation environment is required if Nigeria and Nigerians must compete globally. The pervasive analogue mentality in leadership does not help. Thinking must recognize that there can be no sustainable development without advancement of the technology sector – the most diverse, all-encompassing and dynamic sector. We may be saying the right things but are we doing the right things? Lip service?
There must be a genuine awakening that technology is a core area in need for a lion’s share of attention. NCS is focused on practical approaches that result in real actions and lasting change. The nation needs more concrete results not in the sky but on the ground. We must not be distracted by the noise. The reality is that the nation’s tech sector needs strengthening in terms of significance, responsiveness, and efficacy.
Dropping the analogue mentality starts with the mainstreaming of technology into all vital practices and programs. A sincere embrace of those driving the society and economy is required. The nation fails when it fails to recognize those creating jobs faster and playing critical roles in the developing Nigeria’s knowledge economy. NCS therefore used the meetings to call for better and more strategic engagement with Nigerian IT professionals. There is certainly a serious need for adequate representation of Nigerian IT professionals in decision and policy making in governance and critical sectors. For example, how in all seriousness can the future of any nation be discussed in the absence of the tech sector – in the 21st century?! Walking the talk with steadfast stakeholders such as NCS will lead to improved quality in technology investment, coordination and impact.
The knowledge economy in Nigeria is a joke without a strong technology sector. NCS uses the meetings to urge everyone to walk the talk. Though they were visited separately, the critical stakeholders all welcomed NCS warmly and expressed support for NCS’s innovative strategies and initiatives. House committee Chairman on ICT, Engr. Ibrahim Shehu Gusau Gusau confirmed that he would be present at the 2014 NCS Conference, while noting the importance he attached to NCS as a professional association. He promised to support NCS initiatives and legislation aimed at moving the sector forward.
John Tani Obaro, CEO, SystemSpecs urged NCS to keep playing its advocacy role despite the seeming indifference and lack of appreciation. He committed to supporting the NCS conference and enhancing membership dues collection through Remita, the software product of SystemSpecs. Yele Okeremi, MD, Precise Financial Systems also appreciated and thanked NCS for the innovative, inclusive dialogue approach. According to him PFS will start engaging practically in strategic partnerships with NCS on the issues raised.
“We’re not being shy about saying we feel strongly about addressing the absence of inclusion – lack of professional representation in decision making in critical sectors, absence of follow-through as well as the digitally excluded.” said Professor Adewumi. NCS is dedicated to ensuring sustainable technology impact and development that make a real difference to the lives and future of Nigerians. Don’t just join the conversation, be part of the conversation.
Chairman, Publicity, Events and Trade Services Committee
Nigeria Computer Society
24 April 2014