By Emeka Aginam
LAGOS – A former Minister of Science and Technology, Chief Ebitimi Banigo, has said the use of Information Technology, IT, in electoral reforms is necessary for sustenance of the nationâ€™s democracy.
Banigo, chairman of occasion, said this in Lagos, yesterday, at the launch of Dr. Chris Uwajeâ€™s book,Â Â ”E-knowledge -Time is running out!”
â€œIn Nigeria, the house has fallen and what we are trying to do is to rebuild the house; and, if we have IT in electoral reform process, electoral malpracticeÂ will be minimised to the barest minimum,â€ he said.
â€œElectoral reforms is not possible without ICT. The war is on. We cannot relent. If the country fails to carve a space for IT in the general scheme of things, particularly electoral reforms, things will keep retrogressing. We still need to make a mark in ICT before this generation is wasted.
He noted that part of the problem with the nation was lack of IT conciseness in national polity, especially in the electoral process.
The former minister also urged that Uwajeâ€™s works should be preserved in a digital library for the use of generations unborn.
Banigo blamed the nationâ€™s electoral woes on lack of information technology, saying Nigeria will continue to witness retrogression in its electoral processÂ unless IT was given the priority attention it deserves in the scheme of things.
Chief Banigo lamented poor IT consciousness among Nigerian youths, noting that unless political will is brought into IT, Nigeria will remain consumers of foreign products in the 21st century knowledge economy.
â€œWe are still behind in technology. We have failed to address the fundamentals; we should not be enslaved by IT produced by other countries otherwise we will remain aÂ digital colony of these nations. Today is a good beginning as time is running out,â€ he said.
He advised that theÂ present politicians should embrace information technology so as to make right policies that will move the country forward in the global competitiveness.
â€œWe need to be IT-conscious in the national polity. It is a model forÂ sustainable nation-building and global competitiveness,â€ he said, adding that Uwajeâ€™s e-knowledge book should be aÂ philosophy and concept for ensuring the consistency of preserving inter-generational knowledge base.
Also, on the occasion,Â Director- General of Advance Information Technology Institute, AITI, Ghana, Mrs. Dorothy Gordon, said the launch of Uwajeâ€™s bookÂ isÂ aÂ significant milestone and strategic model and legacy for the African youth, adding that the book will go a long way in preparing Nigeria, especially the youths for the next knowledge Olympiad.
Expert hails Uwaje
Book reviewer, Mr. Titi Omo-Etu, an engineer and CEO of Executive Cyberschuul, noted that Uwajeâ€™s book â€œis a wake-up call to Nigeria and her citizenry on the complacent attitude of some of our leaders and policy makers, especially the often recycled ones to critical issues on the role of information technology in national development and nation building.â€
Present at the event were Publisher of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Sam Amuka; ex-Vice-Chancellor of University of Lagos, Prof.Â Oye Ibidapo-Obe; Director-Â General of Advance Information Technology Institute, Accra, Ghana, Mrs. Dorothy Gordon.
Also there were DG, National Information Technology Development Agency, Prof. Cleopas Angaye; President, Nigerian Computer Society, Prof. Charles Uwadia; Chairman, Zinox Technologies, Chief Leo Stan Ekeh and Dr. Jimson Olufuye of Information Technology Industry Association of Nigeria, ITAN, President of Nigeria Internet Group, Engr. Lanle Ajayi, Chairman of Arco Petrochemicals, Engr. Alfred Okoigun and many others.