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kennethWith the recent economic recession that took the world by surprise and the gradual recovery of economies, several questions begin to come to mind especially as a Nigerian and an Abian in particular. One of such questions is; what is Abia State of Nigeria known for? Where are we politically, socially, economically and even culturally in the scheme of things in the country?

 

Taking this further, in the next 10 years what will be the major source of revenue and economic development for our people? It is one of such questions that every selfless Abian should ask especially the government of the day.

 

I am aware that right now we might be politically disadvantaged, and that in itself has a huge effect on the developmental plans and processes. But we can do something about it! Yes we can! That is the essence of this writing.

 

Come to think of it, are we really aware the age we are in? It’s quite clear that we have Agricultural and Industrial prowess and potentials in the state, but for all these years where has that led us to? We have passed the Agricultural and Industrial ages, these two development channels for better result, are now driven by Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

 

This is information driven age, the knowledge economy, the digital knowledge democracy (DKD) should be enthroned in the state.Like Chief Leo Stan-Ekeh, the CEO, Zinox Technologies will always say, that with Information and Communications Technology, the rich people of today will be the servants of the poor kids of today who will embrace ICT in the near future and will become the smart kids and leaders of economies tomorrow. In essence, ICT is able to turn a poor State into a rich State, a poor country to a very rich country. Chris Uwaje, a leading ICT impresario in Nigeria in his book: e-Knowledge: Time is running out! said “Information Technology is an embodiment of the biggest and most complex market known to man in the 21st century”. So the opportunities are limitless with ICT.

 

 It is unfortunate that the government over the years has not developed a thought-out plan of development for the state especially in the area of Information and Communications Technology which is the major driver of economies.

 

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) empowerment is a major tool for economic development. Our youths who are the future of the state, should be empowered with ICT skills.

 

ICT empowerment simply, is the ability to equip oneself with the latest ICT skills available around the world today in such areas like computer engineering, mobile technology, the internet, telecommunication, information technology and others, with the objective of improving ones standard of living, provide jobs for the unemployed and build the economy on the long run.

 

Information and Communication Technology has been in recent years the major tool used to drive economies in countries like China, Sweden, Malaysia, Singapore, India, Korea among others.

 

The Way Forward

As a matter of urgency, a lot needs to be done for us to harness or get the benefits of an ICT empowered state.

 

 I applaud what the Kano State government is doing in building an ICT park in their state, Ogun State has also embraced ICT in no small measure in different areas of its economic growth and development, Anambra State on its own part is right now partnering with Microsoft to give its secondary schools basic ICT training, Akwa-Ibom State also has an ICT plan for their people, even Bayelsa state has been training their youths abroad in ICT,and many more who have started doing positive things with ICT, ours should not be different. We should learn from them.

 

But first, the government of the state should facilitate the development of a thought-out plan and strategy for the state in terms of ICT Development.

 

An ICT development blueprint for the state is urgently needed. This will outline the road -map for a lasting ICT development in the state, which will include among other things the building of ICT centers in every local government areas, Secondary Schools and Tertiary institutions where people will be trained in computer appreciation, software engineering, system networking, systems engineering, GSM technology, database administration, communication technology, information management, web technology, internet marketing and many others. We need ICT institutions in the state; we really have a dearth of professionals in these areas. Professionals in these areas are being sought after in the world today and great opportunities abound in the area of outsourcing of technology.

 

To supervise this development, an effective ministry of ICT should be in place and equipped to perform these functions.

 

Having said that, am fully aware that the government cannot do it alone, what government needs to do is to create the enabling environment and begin to woo private investors both foreign and local into the state to partner with her on ICT development for the state.

 

This is the opportunity for our people at home and in diaspora to contribute meaningfully in making Abia an ICT empowered state, we all will reap the dividend of this knowledge democracy and our people would have been emancipated from perennial poverty because no matter where you live today, there is no place like home!

This is the change we yearn for, and the time to make that change is now!

Kenneth Omeruo
Omeruo Ndukaku Kenneth is an Innovation Management expert,the CEO of Emerging Media,a new media company.He is a member of ISPIM - International Society for Professional Innovation Management and the US-Africa chamber of Commerce.He is the Founder of TechTrends Nigeria Blog,Nigeria Innovation Summit and the African Innovation Academy.Kenneth is a highly sought-after Internet Marketing Consultant who has through his seminars, articles, training and consulting, helped many organizations, Individuals, Businesses maximize the Internet for business purposes.Kenneth has also being featured as a guest on the TV show TODAY ON STV Nigeria and on Bloomberg Africa TV.He is the author of the best –selling Internet Book: How To Create Unlimited Internet Wealth. He is a syndicated columnist with the following Newspapers in Nigeria: Daily Independent, Financial Standard, PUNCH, BusinessDay, and Sun.Kenneth organises the EduNet Conference for Universities in Nigeria. Kenneth is a member of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria( ISPON ) Roundtable For Capacity Development in Nigeria,member pre-selection committee for Nigeria at the UN World Summit Awards,a Panelist for Youth Enterprise With Innovation in Nigeria(YouWIN)-a Federal government initiative created by the ministry of finance,supported by ministries of Communications Technology,Youth Development,Worldbank and DFID. A 2013 Judge at the Google Cloud Developers Challenge for Sub Saharan Africa.He has been a contributing editor of Nigeria Communications Week,Africa Telecom and IT Business Magazine,ICT Today magazine,M2 magazine.Kenneth has been invited to the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation Forum, Oracle Open World Conference USA, Oracle Cloud World Dubai, and GITEX Dubai. He now lives in New York with his family and presently working on an Open Innovation project for Nigeria. You can contact Kenneth through email: (kenneth (at)techtrendsng.com) Facebook:www.facebook.com/Kenneth.omeruo On Twitter:www.twitter.com/kennethomeruo Skpe:Kenneth.Omeruo

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