By Emmanuel Elebeke
Good leadership, one of Nigeria’s biggest challenges, last weekend formed the major plank of discussion at a one day ICT summit held in Lagos, at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs
The event, which was in its inaugural edition, attracted ICT experts, high profile government delegations, entrepreneurs, civil society groups and students from across Lagos state who were united and unanimous in agreement that only a fresh set of young leaders groomed with basic leadership qualities and driven by ICT can actually position Nigeria for effective leadership, using ICT as a tool to tame the monster ravaging the nation and enable her attain her full potential and also be able to compete favourable among the committee of nations.
They reasoned that since ICT has become a veritable and inevitable tool of development in this digital age, Nigeria should embrace it to take Nigeria back to threshold of history and make significant growth.
For them , there was no reason to blame bad leadership on people and institutions but for the younger generation to rise up and discover their individual talents with hope to making optimum use of their skills for national development .
Participants at the occasion, agreed that time had gone when young people roam about looking for jobs when they can explore the internet for greater benefits. They condemn the action of those engaging in the negative side of internet and adviced them to channel the skills into positive use.
Entitled “ICT as a Revolutionary Tool for Effective Leadership Development”, the event gradually became interactive with virtually every participant present at the occasion sought for permission to make a contribution.
As discussion progressed, the atmosphere became clear that everybody desired a leadership revolution in Nigeria that would be driven by those grounded in ICT, for the country to truly become a major player at the global economy.
The need for inculcation of vocational studies in the secondary schools was also stressed, which speakers said requires a total overhaul of the entire school curriculum from primary to tertiary levels for the dream to come to fruition.
In his opening remarks, the Chairman of the occasion and President of the Nigeria Internet Group, Engr. Lanre Ajayi said event as a very unique one and commended the efforts of the organizers for their concern for Nigerian youths who are future leaders of the country.
He described the theme as topical and shared in the merit of its choice. He said ICT is a revolutionary tool that can help the youth, particularly those aspiring to become future leaders to revolutionalize Nigeria , not only for economic development but also for individual and immediate society.
Engineer Ajayi who fawned at the low utilization of opportunities presented by internet and facebook further stated stressed the need for every Nigerian youth to look inwards and make adequate use of ICT tools available to them.
“ICT is a tool for personal development. I want to encourage you to use these platforms to develop yourselves and the nation.” He maintained that ICT tools are not only meant for communication but holds huge platform for human and nation development if it is well harnessed. The NIG reminded the youths the adventurous exploration of the inventors of google and facebook, at their youth age, challenged Nigerian youths to start dreaming and be more purpose driven in an effort to harness their individual talents.
“I challenge you to be dreamers and to discover the power of internet by going into as well as applying them into your businesses. You may start small but it must surely grow. The issue of capital in IT is insignificant unlike any other industry. What matter is your capacity and ability to develop an innovative idea,” he urged.
Engineer Ajayi also used the platform to announce the N1 million grant by his group to every Nigerian youth that comes up with a sellable idea for sponsorship.
In her keynote address, the minister of information, Professor Dora Akunyili, represented by Director of information and technology at Voice of Nigeria, Engineer Mohammed Usman said the prosperity of our nation is not in doubt, considering the abundant resources and talents that abounds in the country and advised the participants not to see the summit as a platform for blames. Rather, she said that the summit should focus on changing the perception of Nigerian youths on ICT so that leadership skills in them can be developed.
The minister said now that ICT has made research easier for people and break new grounds, what the youths should do is to discover their talents and start working towards achieving them
She however, pledged the commitment of her ministry to invest in ICT to ensure that Nigerian youths actualize their goals.
“With initiatives like this, our youths will be better prepared and equipped for the challenges ahead,” she posited.
In his welcome address, the organizer and founder of Leadership Watch $ El-net Club, Dr. Martins Iwuanyanwu said one of the greatest problems confronting Nigeria today is leadership. It was in realization of this fact, he said the organization organized the summit to explore ideas from various stakeholders with a view to fashioning out solution to the problem.
Dr. Iwuanyanwu said the organization was prepared to help parents and government to bring Nigerian schools back to glory with high moral and cultural values and attributed the docility of Nigerian people to the discovery of oil and the get rich quick syndrome that is prevalent in the society.
For Nigeria to take its pride of place, he said future leaders must be groomed in with the latest tools in the ICT industry to better position them for future challenges.
In order to give the youth a broader opportunity of network, he disclosed that Leadership Watch had set up a Club called El-Net Club for youth to give them voice and create an intellectual property opportunity to exchange knowledge with their foreign counterparts.
He also promised their resolve to utilize all the opportunities they have with their affiliates foreign institutions to reward members of EL-Net club with scholarships and in house seminars among other benefits.
“Since the leaders have failed us, we belief that in the next 10-12 years the crop of youths we are mentoring today will begin to yield positive fruits because if we fail to do this today, we must be prepared for the catherstrophic implications it will bring,” he stated.
The guest speaker, permanent Secretary, Police Service Commission, Engineer Esther Gonda, represented by Mr. Majekodumi Oluwale in her presentation underscored the importance of ICT in building quality leadership for nation building. She x-rayed all the qualities of good leader and urged the youth to rise up to the challenge today’s leadership requires by availing themselves with the opportunities that ICT provides.