Minister of Communications, Dr. Isa Ibrahim Pantami has challenged Nigerians to aspire higher to match the technological advancement of Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. He also said Nigerians must begin to see the need to adopt ICT to improve our systems as the only critical factor needed to make the country globally competitive.
He made the call on Sunday, 6th of October, 2019 while The unveiling Nigerian Pavilion at the ongoing GITEX 2019 in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. With the realization of the need for ICT, Pantami said the time has come for Nigerians to struggle to match the unassailing feat already recorded by Dubai. The minister said with the wide digital technology gap that exists in the country, Nigerians should see the development of ICT as a priority and passion for the nation to move forward and be globally competitive.
He specifically challenged all agencies under his ministry to explore all new advancements in technology showcased at GITEX as a challenge and go home to domesticate them, as that remains the sure way of bridging the digital gap. Pantami, who called for youth mentorship said Nigeria urgently needs people with crazy ideas to make the difference that the country desperately required. His word ‘‘ICT can’t be developed in silos. We must make sure there are values for money for coming to GITEX 2019.
Our mission is to showcase what we have, look for investors, technology transfer and network. ‘‘Our passion for ICT must change after this conference, development of ICT sector should be our passion. Let us all be alive to exploration rather than be exploitative. Let’s look at how we can improve how our systems work. We need people that have crazy ideas to change the status quo. We must struggle to match the UAE.’’ On the contribution of the sector to the economy, the minister said the sector surpassed the oil and gas sector in the second quarter of 2019 when it racked in 13.6% as against 8.32% from oil and gas.
He, however, pledged that the ministry has a plan to improve on the success we have recorded so far in the sector and to bring in disruptive technologies. In his remarks, the Director-General of NITDA, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi said NITDA is leading the digital revolution in the country in line with the mandate of President Muhammadu Buhari, whose administration identified ICT as a critical component in the realization of the Economic and Recovery and Growth Plan, ERGP.
He also stated that NITDA led the Nigerian delegation to GITEX 2019 to explore novel technologies to widen the scope of our drive for the digital economy and economic diversification of the federal government. ‘‘We need to think the way other countries that are doing same think and take it back home to solve our problems. ICT sector has taken over from oil and gas. GITEX provides us the opportunity to learn innovations.’’