I look back today at the modest events of 2001 that led to the birth of Zinox Computers,Nigeria’s first internationally Certified Branded Computers,and my heart is full of gratitude to God and the patriotic Nigerians who created the enabling environment for an unprecedented launch and subsequently the success of the zinox brand.My deep appreciation goes to the federal Government under president Olusegun Obasanjo for initiating policies that liberalized communications and set Nigeria on the road to a knowledge economy.The fact that the Federal Executive Council of 2001 was ably represented at the Zinox launch on 9th October,2001,underscored the importance that the government was placing on computer manufacturing.We drew strength from the Presidential endorsement that followed a couple of weeks after the launch.I dare say that there is still plenty of need for the enforcement of that endorsement.
Please,let us give another round of applause to President Olusegun Obasanjo for the vision that brought about the ICT revolution of 2001.I also have plenty of reasons to be grateful to the Nigerian ICT media for partnering with us to sensitize the governments and peoples of Nigeria to adopt the Computer as a major tool for work and play.The media shared our aspirations to place a computer on every table at work or home.They highlighted our concern that the security,governance,agriculture.energy.finance and overall development of this country would be best assured if built on a Nigerian technology.In a special way i want to thank the ICT Publishers Alliance for organizing this historic event-the 10 years of ICT Revolution in Nigeria:GSM,Computing and Internet.
This august gathering must note the significance of the compromises and maturity that have made it possible for the ICT publishers to come under one platform to organize this event.It tells of a unity of purpose among the publishers that can only lead to a better execution of gate-keeping and agenda setting functions of the media as the IT sector strives to contribute to the attainment of vision 20 2020.The information Technology sector expects effective leadership from the media and this can only be possible if this unity is sustained over time-allowed to endure into other activities of the media.(I am tempted to play a representative role in this forum since i am the only IT solutions company speaking on this platform)In the past the ICT publishers have left most of us worried by the number of ICT awards in the Industry.Every other publication had a yearly Award for Achievements and excellence in a market where there are very few players.It is my thinking that the ICT Awards sector would be enriched by the kind of unity that has made this forum possible.A biannual ICT awards for achievement or Excellence,organized by the ICT Publishers Alliance in place of the current solo awards,would be viable.credible,and Complimentary to the ideals of journalism.
The road to 20 2020 for the ICT sector would be full of so many challenges that every practitioner would have to be focused and avoid dissipation of scarce energy.The Nigerian state needs to deploy a minimum of 25,000,000 PCs in the next 3 years,3,750,000 for each of the Geo-political zones and 2,500,000 in Abuja,or forget the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals by 2015.These PC’s would be targeted at youths who leave secondary school with 6 ‘Alphas’ and all graduating students from the polytechnics,colleges of education and universities.The machines are to be funded by the federal Government under an arrangement that requires all corporate persons to pay 1% ICT tax for a period of 5years.On the alternative savings from the sovereign wealth fund could be ploughed into the provision of these PCs in the next 3 years.This huge investment which will power domesticated technology would place in the hands of Nigerian youths the equipment to launch an era of ‘Unlimited possibilities’.These young men and women would form the nucleus of a new generation of job providers while kick starting a new knowledge economy.Those of them who go into paid employment would be IT savvy enough to introduce a new era of efficient service delivery in public and private sectors.This generation closely interconnected by satellite television,social media and the Internet would give rise to a new ICT based work culture,increasing productivity and self sufficiency:reducing corruption and the kinship that leads to ethnicity:and enabling a self interpretation of faith that would undermine religious extremism.This scenario would encourage even development,hasten the attainment of the MDG’s by 2015 and place this nation firmly on the road to 20 2020.I want to point out here that our various governments have failed to create jobs for graduates(averaging 600,000 per year)because they still concentrate on deploying outdated solutions in a digital century.These have all failed before take-off.
What would the deployment of 25,000,000 systems do for the ICT industry?Our first concern here is that these 25,000,000 systems are manufactured and delivered by the indigenous OEMs.This would address the problem of capacity building as Nigerians acquire more technical competencies.Prices would be forced down appreciably enabling the local OEMs to compete with their foreign counterparts.Necessary industry infrastructure would be installed and more reliable market expansions in the sub region can be expected.Nigerian banks are not lending money to local OEMs and vendors because of unpredictable patronage.Boost the local industry with 25,000,000 PCs and you can be sure that the banks would line up with all kinds of finance packages.Besides,the deployment of large numbers of PCs would immediately boost participation in the development of software applications,the internet and social media and we can start talking of the ICT revolution in real terms.
I subscribe to the ideas of a free market,i believe in the economic possibilities of globalization but i am passionate about the emergence of a Nigerian technology deeply rooted in Nigeria.I am committed to the growth of a Nigerian industry that is export oriented because that is the only way that we can achieve the giant of Africa that was the dream of the founding fathers of this great nation.The West and America may canvas an end to protectionism but we have no business singing that refrain until Nigeria Engineers begin to fabricate our factories and run them optimally:Nigerian satellites are built and launched from our shores;and Nigerian workshops produce components for designs owned by foreign capital.Nigeria was not privileged to be part of both the industrial and scientific revolutions:therefore,deliberate policies must be put in place for an effective participation in the ICT Revolution.We must jealously protect and sustain our ICT industry as the only source of healing from terminally ill crude oil industry and avoid being hostage to nature as i have always preached.
In Conclusion,I urge all the players in the ICT sectors to borrow a leaf from the ICT Publishers Alliance.If this event succeeds under a partnership then there is no reason why some of us cannot come together in pursuit of shared objectives.Nigeria would move faster towards development if we learn to pull our resources together under partnerships.
Thank You for Listening.