During his visit to Zinox Group facilities in Lagos on February 8 last year, the Hon. Minister of Communication Mr. Adebayo Shittu unveiled the APC-led government’s intention of building two biggest ICT parks in Nigeria. That sounded quite good.
The minister didn’t stop there. He also revealed the cities where the proposed parks would be sited as Oyo and Katsina States. That didn’t quite sound good in view of the curious reasons behind the decision. I will be right back on this issue.
The Guardian of February 10 had quoted the minister saying that “ICT is a knowledge economy, which doesn’t fail like oil and even agriculture. ICT is the brain of development. It will continue to bring money into the coffers of government”.
He also emphasized by saying “The ICT Parks are expected to fuel innovations. We are looking at making ICT count seriously in this regime. The target is to bring students to the park to learn majorly ICT development.”
My worries are that 10 months after announcing these ambitious projects, there is no any pragmatic inroad.
While there is no action in the minister’s quixotic revelation, he recently announced another grandiose government’s plan of establishing ICT university.
Looking at the proposed ICT park project, we can all see the deliberate choice of Mr. Shittu’s home town/state and that of the president as locations of siting the projects.
It is not a rocket science for anybody that is into ICT to prove the minister wrong in selecting such places. With government’s target of bringing students to the park to learn ICT development, there are no cities that qualify to host such centers other than Lagos, Kano and Port Harcourt.
As reported in the Leadership newspaper of December 30 last year, the minister also announced another new FG goal for developing ICT in the country. However, what makes this vision 2017 different from the vision 2016 is failure to specify where the projects would be sited. The minister’s futuristic plans sound great but they are either motivated by political grandstanding or lack of knowledge of the field.
As an ICT evangelist, our prayers would be for the government to build the university in the right location, where the youth will benefit from the project, and perhaps see to the actualization of the long-awaited ICT roadmap.
Bashir Sa’ad, PhD can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org