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Ndukwe, Ige for celebration of 50 years of ICT tomorrow

The celebration of the extraordinary quantum role played by the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in the development of Nigeria in the past 50 years slated to hold at Sheraton Hotels, Lagos comes up tomorow

Coordinator of the event, Aaron Ukodie of eWorld Magazine said at the weekend that all arrangements have been concluded for  a memorable event. The event is planned to mark the country’s golden jubilee celebration, which climaxes on Friday, October 1, 2010.

Immediate past Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) Dr Ernest Ndukwe and former Minister of Communications and Commissioner at the NCC, Engineer Olawale Ige will lead discussion at the event.

They will give keynote addresses on ICT Development In Nigeria: 50 Years After and also look at how ICT can be used to achieve vision 20: 2020.

The event will also witness the launch of a publication that will celebrate the remarkable roles played by key actors in the sector in the past 50 years. It is titled ICONs Of ICT: 50 Years Anniversary Edition.

Ige and Ndukwe’s keynotes will be followed by a discussion by a panel of technocrats and knowledgeable ICT players who would assess the Nigerian ICT sector in the last 50 years and proffer solutions on how the country can achieve the mark of other developed nations.

Among those slated as discussants are Chief Ezekiel Fatoye, former Executive Director of NITEL and Multilinks, President of ATCON, Engineer Titi Omo-Ettu, Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, Professor Raymond Akwule,President of Digital Bridge Institute, Dr Eugene Juwah, NCC EVC, among others.

This is even as the Commander Army Corps of Signal, Major General Godwin Umo, would also be in hand at the event to deliver a lecture titled ICT and the Military: Imperatives for modern warfare.

The Nigerian ICT sector has come a long way, passing through many tortuous paths, but nevertheless, the sector has become one of the most vibrant sector of the economy.

It is therefore important that as Nigeria celebrates 50 years of Independence from colonial rule, the ICT sector which has been widely recognised as the most effective catalyst in national development role out drums in celebration and plan ahead a more rewarding and nation impacting path.

If there is any industry that should celebrate during this golden jubilee celebration, it should be the ICT sector.
Omo-Ettu agrees. According to him ICT holds the ace to celebrate 50 years of post independence Nigeria . In his view the bold decision taken in1993 to liberalise the sector was a watershed and the telecommunications industry’s attainment in provision of mobile service is remarkable.

For a country which went through several years of military rule during which the attempt to liberalise was difficult but went on to become a market that grew in leaps with the emergence of democracy has every reason to rejoice.

Not everybody would see the need to roll out the drums to celebrate 50 years of telecom. This is understandable given the general poor performance of the nation in her socio-economic cum political life these past five decades. At 50, Nigeria is still manacled to the tethers of economic misery, political instability and social disorientation.

The good things that conduce to good life are lacking: no good roads; no affordable medicare; poorly equipped schools and hospitals; patently unqualified and poorly motivated teachers; irregular, sometimes non-existent, electricity; unemployment and under-employment.

The list keeps growing. Crime and criminality still stalk the nation; decayed and decrepit infrastructure yet signpost the landscape. But this cannot be said of the ICT sector according to Secretary-General of Africa Telcom Development Initiative, Keneth Ugbeche.

The gains of the sector are multifarious. It has created well-paying career jobs. By last count, over 15,000 direct jobs had been created in the past decade with additional hundreds of thousands of ancillary jobs. It has stimulated as well as helped to reflate the nation’s flabby economy through the attraction of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI). A good $18 billion in investments had been injected into the economy through telecom.

The buzz in the sector has also spawned a new vista in technology transfer as the rudiments of what was once thought to be light-years-ahead technology are now at the fingertips of a new generation of young Nigerians. Add to that a thriving bouquet of value-added services.

Social services like crime-control and social networking have profited from the unraveling telecom revolution. The long bridges and firewalls that used to separate master from servants, apprentices from their mentors and even artisans from aristocrats have disappeared. With just a dial, the one can now reach the other.

Fifty years as an independent nation, there is so much to celebrate in telecom. This colourful publication indexes one of the reasons why the nation should roll out the drums. The telecom revolution of the past decade has fawned several special interest ICT publications and ICT events at very dizzying frequencies.

The advertising and public relations sub-sectors of the media have also profited from the revolution. Aside sustaining these two key adjuncts of journalism, the telecom sector has been a major source of advertising revenue for the media, both print and electronic.

The sector has in 50 years helped to deepen democracy, promote openness and foster national integration. The pervasive deployment of mobile phones and the rising popularity of Internet among Nigerians have enhanced the way we communicate.


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