As many countries leverage technology in advancing their development, Nigeria has again shown readiness not to be left behind. According to Adedeji Stanley Olajide, the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on Information Communication Technology (ICT) and Cybersecurity who spoke to the media at the ongoing SuperBridge Summit that was held in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, there is a disparity in Nigeria technological world. However, he said that Nigeria is to legislate policies for good governance so that way the country can advance technology and “actually take a big leap.”
Olajide said that Nigeria does not really have to struggle during the process. Instead, he said that the country can take a big leap and Nigeria can get on board with any technology. He added that it is an emerging market and there is a lot that the country needs to be doing there. Meanwhile, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu had committed to reset Africa’s biggest economy with one million new tech jobs. The president had noted that his administration must create meaningful opportunities for our youth. “We shall honour our campaign commitment of one million new jobs in the digital economy,” he said.
Africa is still lagging behind in technology.
President Tinubu had declared that his administration would leverage digital technology to create Nigerian desired socio-economic progress that is necessary to transform society. While receiving an audience at the State House in Abuja of a delegation from Google (West Africa) which was led by its director, Olumide Balogun, the president noted that his administration is determined to use education and technology to improve the lives of its citizens. Tinubu affirmed that education is central to uplifting Nigerians.
The House of Reps member representing Ibadan North West/South West Federal Constituency at the green chamber of the National Assembly noted that many countries in the Western world have gone far. Olajide said that Asian countries such as China and Japan have advanced, but Africa is lagging behind. However, he sees opportunities for Nigeria when the country takes that big leap in advancing use of technology. For instance, he said that artificial intelligence, while people may think it will take away a lot of jobs, will bring opportunities instead.
Being in a tech-related field needs to be seen positively.
Consequently, if Nigeria implements the right technology and systems in agriculture, health, and education—for example, the right solutions of AI—it can bring in many jobs, which will help to bridge the gap of unemployment and underemployment in the country. He further said that the president is tech-savvy and that his antecedents in Lagos State, where almost all state agencies have been automated, prove this. He said that this feat started with a step. He also noted that technology will play a driving factor when it comes to Nigeria’s agriculture, healthcare and education.
Meanwhile, the treatment of “tech-savviness” in the country has deterred many in the quest for advancement than encouraged them. For example, the way that law enforcement profiles young people who possess high-end smartphones and laptops is a cause for concern. This was what spiralled into the #EndSARS protest in 2020, which was arguably one of the largest protests in the country. This has shaped the way that citizens relate to police officers as well as officers of other paramilitary agencies.
Culture shift regarding technology needed in Nigeria.
Nigeria needs a culture shift if the country will make huge advancement like countries in Asia. First, the educational system needs to move away from a theoretical model to a practical one. Children as young as ten years old in these countries know much more about technology than an individual in his twenties in Nigeria. Also, there needs to be a change in mentality. The day that young Nigerians become free to walk around with gadgets without fear of being harassed by police officers is the day the country is ready to move forward in terms of technology.