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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Sectoral importance: Ekuwem tasks political office holders on ICT

The immediate past president of the Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem has tasked the nation’s political office holders on the importance of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) driven by the organized private sector.

He said that ICT sector is extremely important for the nation’s economic well-being for the political leaders, especially those occupying important positions in the country to take sectoral event top on their agenda so as to make relevant impacts before leaving office.

Ekuwem who presided over the celebration of ‘A Decade of ICT Revolution’ forum in Lagos organized by the ICT Publishers Alliance, decried the frequency of those in authority sending junior officers in the name of representatives to grace ICT events organized by stakeholders.

He warned that this does not portend good omen for the nation’s growth as far as ICT development is concerned.

Additionally, Ekuwem who is the Group Chief Executive Officer, Teledom Group, lamented that this attitude by government functionaries would dampen the zeal of the private sector in contributing its quota to the ICT sector, which has a trickle effect into other sectors of the economy.

The purported refusal to attend stakeholders meetings, such as a decade of ICT revolution, he said, tells a lot about how they regard the impact made by private sectors in the growth of the industry and called for a change of heart, mostly if Nigeria must near her Vision of being among 20 most viable nations in the world by the year 2020.

He pointed out that from all intent and purposes, bulk of the forum on ‘A Decade of ICT Revolution’ was sponsored by private sector players with the initiative coming from private media practitioners who have proved themselves in the last 10 years of ICT revolution in the country under the alliance.

A forum, like this one, he said, offers political office holders the opportunity to feel the pulse of the industry and take feedbacks capable of shaping the policies of the government for the better of the large society and the economy would be best for it.

He also commended the ICT Publishers Alliance for putting up a brilliant show, urging all stakeholders in the ICT sector not to relent in their drive toward sustaining the current pace of revolution in the country.

Earlier, the chairman of ICT Publishers Alliance, Mr. Aaron Ukodie, said that the indexes of growth are there for all to see, so that there is no doubt there is also a revolution going on in computing and internet diffusion in the country.

Look at the facts, he said that in 2001, the number of computers in the country has improved remarkably.

He cited an instance with the Computerise Nigeria Initiative (CANI) which implementation was led by the like of Zinox Computers, have helped in taking computers to homes and offices.

According to him, Nigeria has become the highest in internet penetration with about 43.98 million having access in 2010, representing 28.9 per cent of the population.

He noted that no one talks about telecommunications nowadays without mentioning of computing and internet, hence these have become woven together and converged into one.

The role of the telecommunications regulator, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), Ukodie said, could not be forgotten in a hurry, because NCC has positioned itself and proved severally to both Nigerians and the international community as a catalyst of the revolution in the sector.

The work of telecom operators like MTN Nigeria, he said, could not be wished away as far as ICT revolution in Nigeria in the last decade is concerned.

“We are further aware of the role played by various individuals in making this happen,” he said, stressing that there are various reasons why people celebrate milestones, just as the Alliance hopes the event would encourage the industry to recharge their batteries and get ready for the next milestone.

In addition, the group tasked the new Minister of Communication Technology, Mrs. Omobola Johnson and regulatory agencies of the sector to adhere to the recent call by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to consider broadband reach by all citizens as their rights.

“The new Minister of Communications Technology, the NCC and the operators would have to focus on the broadband development requirement with all the vigour and focus it requires,” the Alliance urged.

Equally several recognitions were made to deserving members of the industry including the chairman, Zinox Group, Dr. Leo Stan Ekeh, Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Dr. Eugene Juwah, former Communications Minister and chairman, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG), Chief Olawale Ige and MTN Nigeria among others.

Remmy Nweke
ITREALMS Online ... delivering news for ICT4D

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