First, let it be emphasized clean and clear that as a man of my mind, I hold no brief for anyone!
Fire, Fire, Fire. Is the national digital Ecosystem of fire? Can we cook and also serve the digital promise without fire? How do we positively fire the digital transformation to invoke, locally contextualize, domesticate as well as sustain creativity, innovation and global competitiveness?
Indeed, Digital fire can be complex and grossly misunderstood in space and time. Is Dr. Pantami Isa Ibrahim firing the Nigerian digital space? Can this Pantami fire flame up positively; especially if national interest roots ahead of others and also core stakeholders are taken along via inclusiveness strategy?
Can we evaluate if this flaming tornado harbors the critical elements for digitally repositioning Nigeria in world affairs (in the face of decapitated Oil outreach) or further sink her into the unknown? Since we can’t eat our cake and still have it, the choice is ours – survive or perish. But we have no other choice than digital survivability at the speed of bold thoughts.
Deceleration of Nigeria’s digital momentum means Africa’s future underdevelopment; since 1% of Nigeria-South Africa growth index translates to ½% increase in the entire Africa Economic growth. Digital drawback of Nigeria constitutes a great loss to the continent.
With the estimation that it will take about 20-25 years to digitally automate governments processes and services at the Federal; State and 774 Local Government operational levels and a parallel 15-20 years to experience the functional diffusion of digital-automation-of-things (DaT) in Education, Health, Agriculture, Transportation, etc; it is pertinent to ask: What do we really want?
A window dressed and sleepy digital Ecosystem or a bold digital intervention at the Presidency level?
In my opinion, the ongoing conversation on digital economy and application of its inherent transformational strategies and component opportunities represents a very provocative search-engine for relevant diagnosis of our ICT challenges. Also, it may be capable of helping Nigeria in her quest to attain digital emancipation and nationhood.
Fact is that, the world is overwhelmed with the dynamics presented by the knowledge Olympiad. There are many unknowns like those confronted by an Astronaut with the passion to race to Mars. And exploratory mistakes would be made.
These mistakes are integral part of the digital development learning curve. After all, mistakes and failures are critical energy, disruptive waves and centrifugal force that somersaults and redirects innovation Ecosystem. Who does the fire-fighting benefit within the speed of time? Local or foreign players?
Above all, does the interpretation and representation of the singularity element of this digital fire present an opportunity trajectory to digitally fire-up Nigeria/Africa? Having peeped at the risks, do we have the potential to explore the current digital Black hole for the benefits it holds, as a fundamental grease to reposition our digital space? Indeed, does it hold any? If so, can we strategically exploit it?
Fast forward, let’s imagine we are in 2060 and AI-infused Robot is the HM of digital economy; configured with complex algorithm that challenges us to wake-up, engage and confront the dense challenges of nation building aimed to accelerate creation of wealth and sustainable development.
Is Dr. Pantami a complex Robot self-programmed to perform at phenomenal speed without looking at consequences? Is he misunderstood and does he fully understand the positive and otherwise consequences? Indeed, how and what constitutes the digital intelligence and feelings of Robot Dr. Pantami?
Is it beyond the analytics of our reason to reconfigure the applied Robotics into a robust digital game-changer for Nigeria? Are we afraid of adventurous failure? Above all, how can we scale the digital momentum to positively, creatively and effectively reorganize and transform the estranged and entangled national digital Ecosystem currently infested by too many outsized left-shoes? We may not have all the answers and that makes it worthwhile for profound exploration.
As I was saying – now back to 2019 with one eye of year 2020 peeping beyond our window mindset. Therefore, exploring the digital speed of thought begets further questions. Are we where we should be with respect to digital transformation based on our mass population addicted to digital consumerism?
Perhaps, 5G is a clear indicator – with a transformational speed that is 100 times that of 4G – of perhaps; where Nigeria should be in the digital Ecosystem, having started earlier than the world in the Mobile Technology playbook.
Lessons learned suggests that along the digital migration path; we strategically forgot and missed out the Software dimension fire; the Science and Technology Brainband as perhaps the most critical aspects of digital transformation. We all know that there is a big difference between digital literacy and scientific literacy!
Science is the conduit and concerned with ‘How and Why things happen’; whereas, Technology is concerned and focuses on making things happen.
Nigeria’s e-readiness ranking over the years remains unimpressive. National Software Strategic Plan can provide immense transformational impetus to drive Nigeria’s digital economy. We need a bold and also extraordinary sharp vision to re-focus the IT profession and Industry for national productivity, security of life and survivability.
Technology is the application of knowledge to the practical needs of human life. And factoring the state of life of Nigeria’s Generation Next is part of our responsibility and greater part of the legacy configuration.
The norm of the civilized world is; Train a doctor, build hospital, train Lawyers, build Court Rooms, train Computer Scientists and Technologist. Empower them with local content laboratories and patronage with too-big-to-fail national tasks which centre on digital local content solutions.
The world has moved on, and now talks about AI in schools and government; IPv6, Embedded Systems, IoT, Edge Computing, Cloud enabled e-Commerce AVR, e-Innovation, CyberSpace Intrusion, e-Warfare, Automated Government, Superlative Start-ups etc; while we are busy wasting precious knowledge time defining Card Reader out of context and talking about calculator-based election results!
IT and Software-Nigeria has come of age and must be trusted, empowered and challenged to perform. This is a critical part of the requirements for the Pantami Fire to illuminate and eradicate digital knowledge poverty.
Resolving the National Digital Challenge requires the following positive FIRE;
- Mandatory education for all Nigerians to eliminate digital poverty through bottom-up digital strategy. This is from Primary-to Secondary to tertiary Schools.
- Mandatory local content automation of all Government processes, functions and operations (Creation of National Digital-Government Academy – overdue)
- Create National Software Commission and approve the pending National Software Strategic Plan Policy (Long Overdue)
- Establish Office of the Chief Digital Technology General of the Federation
- Create 10 ICT or Knowledge Innovation Parks with 100 Start-ups at each location
- Establish 2 Software Engineering Institutes (SEI) within 2 years in Office – in fulfilment of the spirit of the Local Content Development ACT
- Convert the NYSC to an IT Retooling & Creativity Camp as ICT Capacity Disaster Recovery Strategy
- Create a meaningful Fiscal ICT Investment Plan/Stimulus Package to empower the IT Industry
Dead or Alive, the digital bird is in our hand and 2050 with 400million Nigerians – future generation will ask; Where was your AI, Your Robotics, Your emotional intelligence (EI) and above all, your fire???