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Agabi Advocates Creation of Innovation and Digital Economy Ministry

With the rate at which the digital revolution is fast changing the way people interact, interrelate, and how businesses research, produce, deliver products and services, and settle financial transactions in the modern world, Dr. Bayero Agabi, President, Centre for Cyber Awareness and Development (CECAD), Lagos, has called on the Nigerian Government to establish the Ministry of Innovation and Digital Economy at all levels of governance.

In his welcome address on the well-attended occasion, which marked 20 years of pioneering efforts of specialised ICT Broadcast and Advocacy in Nigeria, Dr. Agabi emphasised the imperative need for the creation of this new government ministry at the recent Africa Digital Heroes Awards 2019, held at Radisson Blu Hotel, G.R.A. Ikeja, Lagos, and powered by Digivation and CECAD.

Africa Digital Heroes Award 2019 has honoured men, women, groups, organisations and innovations that have made iconic contributions to the digital landscape across all sectors of the African economy in the last two decades.

Beyond the conventional nameplate of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Ministry, he solicited the establishment of a specific ministry for ‘knowledge economy’ as regards the latest evolving trends, disruptions, and increased convergence of technologies in the digital world, as obtained in the United States (US), Rwanda, Ghana, and other economies across the globe.

A converged digital life, the pioneer ICT Broadcaster stated, now permeates a broad spectrum of people’s everyday activities, including how they work, what they do, how they communicate and perform their responsibilities which all tend to make life much better and richer now.

While relating his industry experience in the past 20 years, the Producer of Digivation Network, said the programme “reflects the new lifestyle dynamics across all sectors in today’s world.”

“It became Digivation in a bid to broaden our horizons. From Infotech Network to Digivation Network, we have established Africa’s first-ever converged concept that serves as a unifying platform between the media, governance, industries, education, innovation, enterprise and entertainment as well as technology research −how technology can make life better,” Agabi said.

In today’s technology-driven, converged world, he added, “there is an increased media and entertainment consumption pattern, leveraging this gap in order to engage more audiences on a more personal and proactive level. Digivation Network captures the new realities of tech use, innovation, enterprise and consumption across all levels.”

Earlier in his goodwill message as the Special Guest of Honour at the event, Governor (Engr.) Sule Abdullahi of Nasarawa State identified with Agabi and his team’s efforts at developing the ICT sector over the decades, saying, “we (in Nasarawa State) are determined to remain at the cutting edge of ICT development and maintain a highly efficient ICT infrastructure and good business for innovation environment.”

According to Governor Abdullahi, “within our first 100 days in office, we have transformed Nasarawa State into technology and innovation destination choice of young techpreneurs by creating five (5) ICT Innovation Hubs across 5 Local Governments in the state across the three (3) Senatorial Zones.”

“Our state e-libraries,” he added, “are equipped with over 40 million e-resources. We entered into a partnership with JAMB (Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board) and established 3 Nos Computer-Based Test (CBT) centres with 2, 250 computers and capacity to conduct computer-based examinations for 6, 750 candidates on a daily basis.”

On why his administration is resolute on applying technologies to enhance marked development and improve governance in his state, he posited: “It is my understanding that the world’s three largest companies by market capital are all ICT-related. ICT is now at the soul and the heart, as well as the spine of the new economic order. For us to achieve our vision, we have to leverage ICT.”

In the same vein, Prof. Adesina Simon Sodiya, President of the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), commended the organisers for celebration of excellence in the nation’s digital ecosystem in the last 20 years.

“The digital age is transforming everything all around us today…. The digital transformation is being characterised by a blend of sophisticated disruptive technologies and the integration of physical and digital systems, the prevalence of innovative business models and new processes, and the design of smart products and services,” Prof. Sodiya affirmed.

While acknowledging Agabi’s contribution to the advancement of the Information and Communications Technology sector in his remarks, Mr. Austin Okere, Founder, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), stated that “what Bayero has done to the growth of the ICT industry in Nigeria cannot be overemphasised; he is a pillar, and I see him going to greater heights.”

Among hundreds of participants in the Africa Digital Heroes Award 2019, in Lagos, are Rwandan Ambassador to Nigeria Stanislas Kimanzi; Executive Director, Ghana Tourism Authority, Akwasi Agyeman; captains of industry, heads of government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs), including NITDA, NIMC, NCC, NigComSat; industry stakeholders’ representatives from ATCON, NIG, ALTON, NiRA, NCS; lawmakers, media executives, entrepreneurs, bank executives, techpreneurs and innovators.