Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, the Acting President said on Tuesday that smart cities initiative was key to building smart connections, inspire, empower people and deliver innovative in public services.
Osinbajo said this at the opening of the two-day 2017 Smart Cities Summit holding in Abuja with the theme: Leveraging on Technology Solutions to improve Efficiency of Cities.
The acting president was represented by Mr Muhammed Bello, Minister of the Federal Capital Territory.
According to him, the world is experiencing a shift from the traditional ways of doing things to a more ICT-driven approach where government and administrators are forced to use technology to shape policies.
“The existence of technological advancements is evident enough that the fourth industrial revolution is upon us. This is envisaged to contribute substantially to innovation and become the new driver of economic growth in Africa.
“Government has a role to play for the smooth sailing and the seamless adoption and application of these new technologies and ways of doing things
“According to Indian’s Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, cities in the past were built on riverbanks. They are now built along highways but in the future they will be based on availability of optic fiber networks and next generation infrastructure.’’ Osinbajo said.
He said that Nigeria therefore must have a paradigm shift, adding that information technology needs were more than just setting up smart phones and fixing laptops.
“At every turn, our cities and towns must think outside the box about making things work better where energy, transportation, water, and other key services are managed efficiently.
“And to support smooth operation of critical infrastructure while providing a clean, economic and safe environment for our citizens to live and work.’’
Osinbajo said that the journey toward smart cities development was a collective effort.
He said that smart cities were well thought out, purpose driven, well-articulated concerted efforts.
He said that initiative would be driven by implementable and measurable road maps with the buy-ins of all sectors of government, especially the state government.
The Minister of the Ministry of Communications, Mr Adebayo Shittu, said the main objective of the summit was to tap into the vast knowledge of experts in the smart city space.
He said that the summit would leverage on their experiences to assist the Federal Government in developing practical steps and solutions that would assist in formulating a unified roadmap toward an effective smart cities initiative for Nigeria.
Shittu said that it was also intended to x-ray the huge business opportunities for providers of smart city technologies to exhibit and pitch their solutions to all levels of government.
He therefore charged participants to provide diverse and global inputs in developing a comprehensive framework to help public and private stakeholders to make informed decisions about smart cities investment strategies.
The Smart Cities Summit initiative Nigeria (SCSN) is driven by the Federal Ministry of Communications in partnership with Afritex Initative.
It is designed to bring city administrators, urban developers and emerging innovations together to develop scalable, replicable and measurable solutions to enhance resilience of Nigerian cities.
The two-day summit brought to multi-stakeholders that will among others take a critical look at the preparedness, unique challenges and emerging solutions necessary for sustainable smart city initiative in Nigeria.
The stakeholders participating at the summit include Huawei Nigeria, Hwelett Packard, Galaxy Backbone, MainOne Nigeria, SmartCities Plc.
Others include National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigeria Communication Commission, UN-Habitats.