Stakeholders who gathered at this year’s Digital Agenda Forum in Lagos have bemoaned the lack of orientation on the part of the Nigerian citizens and the government, leading to the poor patronage of locally made products in the country.
While calling for a reorientation of the citizens and indeed the government, the stakeholders believe that lack of orientation and patriotic zeal is responsible for the ongoing huge migration from Nigeria.
First to make the call is the President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Mr. Bimbo Abioye. According to him, Nigeria cannot be the power of Africa, if the citizens continue to patronage foreign products as is the case today.
Specifically, he noted that many innovators in Nigeria have produced far better software than the so-called foreign software being patronized by many corporate organizations in the country. He believes it is a lack of orientation that is responsible for such an attitude.
“We need to have a mind shift as our inclination for foreign goods is killing the economy of Nigeria and its citizens,” he said.
He argued that every currency Nigerians spent buying outside the country is making the other country rich and making Nigeria poorer. “This is digital slavery,” he noted.
Also speaking, Rita Ndidi Amuchienwa of Intel, stated that one of the ways to make things right in Nigeria is for the country to embrace the newest technologies such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence (AI), and smart homes.
While lamenting the attitude of Nigerians towards foreign products, Rita Ndidi noted that the only way things can come back to normal in the country is to invest in what we have currently running.
“Let’s stop looking at importation. Let’s stop looking at things that foreigners can do for us. Why don’t we do it ourselves and maintain our status quo and look at what we as Nigerians have,” she asked.
Meanwhile, the Group Managing Director of Unified Payment Limited, Dr. Agada Apochi, while speaking on the topic ‘Digital Payments Innovation: Financial Inclusion and Economic Growth’, has asserted that the youthful population of Nigeria, where 43percent are 15 years and below is a huge asset for the country.
He advised that the country must find a way to leverage and engage the youths in a productive activity rather than the internet scams and other vices that many of them are doing.
“Our youths are engaged in wrong activities because as a country, we have not been able to engage them in the right activities. Thus, we have a youthful population that is not inclusive and not sustainable,” he stated.
According to Apochi, the progress of Nigeria will be determined by the ways the country leverages its population in the next ten years. Thus, emphasis must be laid on digitization and digital payments, which is where many of the youths are putting their interest.
Quoting Nigeria’s mobile subscription of over 220 million and a teledensity of over 105 percent, Apochi believes there is so much that can be achieved by the country to turn around the very high unemployment rates.
He posited that just as the population is high, so is the poverty rate, leading many citizens to engage in violent crime.
Organized by Technology Africa, the Digital Agenda Forum with the theme: ‘Leveraging Emerging Digital Technologies for National Development…exploring low hanging fruits’, was put together as part of a pivotal moment in Nigeria’s pursuit of technological advancement.
According to Don Pedro Aganbi, Country Partner at Technology Africa, having recognized the imperative role of emerging technologies—AI, Cloud, Blockchain, 5G, IoT, digital payments, Metaverse, Renewable Energy, robotics, and big data analytics, it is therefore imperative to leverage these technologies.
“These formidable tools are reshaping the landscape of economies, offering unprecedented opportunities for progress, prosperity, and societal enhancement,” he said.
He said the forum is called to chart a course that transcends barriers, fosters inclusivity, and unlocks the full potential of these technologies for the benefit of all Nigerians.