Monday, September 13, 2010

Nigeria @ 50: Stakeholders garner support for celebrating ICT

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) stakeholders are gearing up for the Nigeria’s 50 years independence anniversary due to commence on October 1, this year.
They also adduced reasons why of ICT should be the focus of the 50 years jubilee anniversary.

According to the coordinator, ICT Golden Jubilee celebrations, Mr. Aaron Ukodie, one industry which stakeholders argued should lead the pack is ICT, stressing that the September 30th date for the event at Sheraton Lagos is not adjustable as plans have been put in place to make it a rounding success.

For the President of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) Mr. Titi Omo-Ettu, ICT holds the ace to celebrate 50 years of post independence Nigeria, because the “Bold decision taken in 1993 to liberalize the telecommunications industry was a watershed and the telecommunication industry’s attainment in provision of mobile service is remarkable.”

He also said that for a country which went through several years of military rule during which the attempt to liberalize was difficult but went on to become a market that grew in leaps with the emergence of democracy has every reason to rejoice.

“Nigeria’s legislature by the communications Act 2003 conceived an independent regulatory agency whose performance justified the purpose of such independence with a manifestation of ubiquitous mobile telephony also presents a reason for celebration and a hope that the emerging legislature would not retract the gains of such independence by whittling such independence thus returning Nigeria to where it started from” he noted.

The Executive Secretary, Africa Telecommunications Development Initiative (ADI), Mr. Kenneth Ugbeche said that if there is anybody who should celebrate the Nigeria’s golden jubilee “it should be ICT,” highlighting the fact that in the last decade ICT has been the major employer of labour, a major public relations tool for Nigeria and has helped to stabilise the country.

Ugbeche further said that even in the area of social development ICT has led, contributing in very significant ways to the country’s security apparatus for crime fighting and prevention.

The Corporate Services Executive of MTN Nigeria, Mr. Wale Goodluck said, ICT stands out in ranking among the first three sectors in terms of the class performance of the economy and the development that has taken place in the various spectrum of the country.

Though, he decried that Nigeria is not where it should be yet, but with ICT penetration climbing above 45 per cent, ICT sector has every reason to celebrate the golden jubilee.

In addition, Mr. Ukodie, who is the Chief Executive, eWorld Magazine, it is important for the ICT industry which has been widely recognised as one of the most effective catalyst in national development role out drums in celebration and plan ahead a more rewarding and nation impacting path.

The ICT celebrations, he said, would witness the launch of a publication in celebration of some remarkable roles played by key actors in the sector in the past 50 years and highlight the path of ICT development since 1960.

Already key personalities have agreed to speak on the topic: ICT Development in Nigeria ; 50 Years After.

The speakers, he said, include Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, regarded by many as one of the most successful telecommunications administrators in the country and Chief Olawale Ige, the oldest surviving and most active actor in the ICT sector and Commissioner of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

Their keynote presentation will be followed by a discussion by a panel of technocrats and knowledgeable ICT players who would assess the Nigerian ICT sector in the last 50 years and proffer solutions on how the country could achieve the mark of other developed nations.

Among those slated as discussants are Chief Ezekiel Fatoye, former Executive Director of NITEL and Multilinks, President of ATCON, Mr. Omo-Ettu, Group chief executive of Teledom Group, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, Professor Raymond Akwule, President of Digital Bridge Institute, Dr Eugene Juwah, NCC EVC, Professor Cleopas Angaye, NITDA Director-General, Mr. Chris Uwaje, Chairman of ALTON, Mr. Gbenga Adebayo and chairman, Linkserve, Chief Chima Onyekwere.


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