Closing the gate to digital promise? – Chris Uwaje

Closing the gate to digital promise?  – Chris Uwaje

Digital Innovation depression coming!



Agreed, IT regulation is a complex undertaking – especially when the task interfaces with IT development under the same roof. Often, the challenging density creates many layers of conflicting and contradictory frameworks – unable to fulfil the aspirations of the industry and the market. This may lead to innovation depression and stagnation in a digital economy.



The scenario is brought to life when governance regulatory architecture fails to provide trust, transparency, and accountability. In other words, after the Digital Economy buzz word – What NEXT? Will the current martial music on closing the gate to digital promise result to digital depression? What are the consequences of prompt stagnation of digital innovation and creativity for a country of 210 million people; currently trying to shed the burden of over 40million unemployed/underemployed people? Where will we be in 2050 with 420 million people?




The trajectory of human ‘digital transformation’ is without doubt, a complex knowledge revolution – which resonates beyond digital economy. Humanity is still scratching the visible surface of our collective Tech-Ignorance Revolution (TiR). However, these complexities and embedded challenges present us with an enormous opportunity to turn around the difficulties and earn immense benefits form the digital promise presented to the world.



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It is time we realized that we are confronted with an audacious challenges of a digital knowledge revolution; governed by the modalities of knowledge Olympiad. Ongoing expressions and concerns from major stakeholder vision-bearers confirm that today; the manual process of holding and passing folder(s) from one person to the next is deeply entrenched in the outlook of many public sector players, even when the enabling technologies sit side by side with them.




Closing the gate to digital promise? - Chris Uwaje



Currently, the copy and paste folder behavioral regime in IT developmental regulation seems to reign supreme! Perhaps, that is why our e-Government solutions designed and showcased 20 years ago inadvertently remains at the crawling stage of orchestrated lifeless movement? Lessons learned is that this is the time to strategically accelerate digital innovation rather than retard it.



Can the cycle of National Innovation Ecosystem undergo and/or tumble into an intentionally inclined depression as the martial music intensifies? Also, viewed from the sociological angle, the fact rests on the axiom that innovation is anchored on intricacies of human idea, feelings and responsive skills to their challenges, productivity conditions and experiences. Also, infusion of constructive merit-first governance, guided by inclusive and resilient development strategies can navigate and turn derailing conditions into positive and valuable returns to creation of wealth.




Specifically, this submission focuses on diluted thinking faculties that apes innovation in the digital sphere. The central challenge resides on how to effectively encounter the dense types of uninformed and inconceivable thoughts that lead to technology development depression with pregnant stagnation. Some of the notable major depression symptoms and actions recorded in history include; but not limited to the following: ‘Persistent Disorder; Bipolar Disorder; Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD); Psychotic Depression; Peripartum (Postpartum) Depression; Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) and Situational Depression’.



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Renowned researchers agree that most of the above are triggered by chronic primary conditions that disobey known sustainable development standard and creative guidelines.



The related case in point on the above syndrome is reflected as we further explore the argument; “Can the proposed National Information Technology Development Agency – NITDA amendment Bill 2021; (now released and ferociously grazing through the public domain), if not vigorously reconsidered; deliver the unguarded ability to trigger a deep depression in digital innovation development and possible stagnation of creativity in Nigeria?



On a closer look, it seems there is an organized and deliberate philosophy to entrench the exclusion of Diaspora IT value-chain; while enthroning a preference for individualistic control achieved through regulatory powers? This revelation becomes clearer, particularly when the gross contradictions in Section 5 of the proposed amendment Bill; with frightening Martial melody played under subsections 12 and 13 amongst others; are subjected to professional inquiry and tested global practice models.



Above all, the Governing Board Structure is alarmingly inexplicable.


Closing the gate to digital promise? - Chris Uwaje



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Whereas the moral calculus of Technology leaders and policy makers across the world has become the strategic cornerstone of productive digital actions; the known old-school of pervasive IT leadership nostalgia must be hunted down if the nation must outlive the emerging fierce struggle to explore and conquer her IT future.  The need to interrogate this subject is anchored on the imperatives that recycling legalese groomed in cut-and-paste road-block techniques must be relegated to the dustbin of anti-technology empowerment strategies of 21st Century development.


Informed by John Maynard Keynes’ economic theory of the Great Depression; which promotes a macroeconomic economic theory of total spending in the economy and its effects on output, employment, and inflation; this invites us to have a critical look at the proposed NITDA amendment Bill. John Maynard Keynes, the British economist, developed the concept during the 1930s which seeks to understand reasons for the Great Depression. Keynesian economics is considered a “demand-side” theory that focuses on changes in the economy over the short run. Lessons learned suggests that Keynes’s theory was the first to sharply separate the study of economic behavior and markets; based on individual incentives from the study of broad national economic aggregate variables and constructs. Innovation was at the center.



Nigeria is currently experiencing a similar trend – where ICT is called to the strategic rescue and not to suffocate.



‘Based on his theory, Keynes advocated for increased government expenditures and lower taxes to stimulate demand; in addition to pulling the global economy out of the depression. Subsequently, Keynesian economics was used to refer to the concept that optimal economic performance could be achieved – and economic slumps prevented. Today, this thinking is strategic and remains relevant to the critical state of Information and Communications innovation development in Nigeria.


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The way forward is by aggressively influencing aggregate demand through creative activities; stabilization and proactive IT-centric economic intervention policies by the government’.


 Indeed, it is a common knowledge that governments all over the world; (USA, EU, China, UK, India, South Korea, Rwanda, etc.); have realized that the development of digital transformation must be inclusive, strategically facilitated, meaningfully nurtured, deliberately funded; energized to spur and accelerate innovation and create wealth. It also sums up to building ‘too-big-to-fail’ corporations locally.



But that mission cannot be achieved by deliberately deploying heavy taxation blocks; most of which deter and lock down innovation and digital creativity – with a deadly impact on startups. That indeed makes the proposed amendment Bill completely indefensible – irrespective of any perceived merit therein. Informed by immediate responses from vision-bearers and concerned stakeholders so far; the overriding request further interrogates the rapid quest – an invitation to peruse thus; ‘Are we expecting and foresee the emergence of a great depression on Digital Innovation in Nigeria soon; especially if the proposed contradictions remain unresolved?  



Closing the gate to digital promise? - Chris Uwaje



Impact analysis on the above submissions is essential and imperative to further explore and interrogate the following concerns on critical issues; Obligatory Government digital Innovation development Investment framework; Bold IT sector employment trajectory; Preemptive Innovation and Creativity Migration Syndrome; Possibilities of Information Technology Talent Contraction; Start-up Taxation as toxic pillar in digital Innovation preparedness and Wealth Creation yields; Cybersecurity response latency; Apathy in engaging Information Technology Education and Profession; Attritions of National Intellectual Property (IP) in IT Knowhow; and above all, unguarded invitation of foreign IT Solutions; Syndicated Capital flight and destruction of the current and future gains of Indigenous IT Content; Etc.




All said, hope is not lost amidst the assumptions that after all; NITDA means well for the nation going forward. Therefore, if the ultimate intention of the proposed amendment Bill is to restructure the national IT Ecosystem; aimed at developing a globally competitive Super-Structure for IT Nigeria with foresightful government funding to spur digital innovation; then, what is required is the creation of a robust framework for the establishment of National IT Commission sited at the Presidency; with the resolve to establishing the Office of the Information Technology General of the Federation.


Also, enabling the following sub-structures such as: National Council for Software Innovation Engineering & Development; (since Software is and will for a foreseeable long time remain the undisputable core-competence of Nigeria’s IT Backbone and Capability); National IT Research and Regulatory Agency; National AI and Cybersecurity Agency; as well as other specialized institutions.



Then, stakeholders should rally around the organization to resolve the grey areas required to accelerate and sustain the beneficial development of the nation’s IT Ecosystem. This call for a unified and collaborative front is particularly significant at a time like this; notably to promote sustainable resilience and ensure our national survivability; especially in the face of daunting digital challenges of the future.




Finally, all hands must be on deck to ensure that generations yet unborn are not eclipsed by the awaiting digital weaponization; which is presented by Quantum Computing Tsunami – a compelling Tech-Pandemic waiting to deadly somersault the future of unprepared nations. Let’s think without that box that blinds us. Collectively, we must not fail.




Nigeria ICT Unite. We have no other country and no other choice than reconsidering and reconditioning the current NITDA amendment Bill 2021; as presented. Nigeria, Africa digitally needs you; with a projected 4.185 billion people on the continent by 2100 (United Nations projection).


About The Author

Osigweh Lilian Oluchi is a graduate of the University of Lagos where she obtained a B.A (Hons) in English, Masters in Public and International affairs (MPIA). Currently works with 1stnews as a Database Manager / Writer. [email protected]

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