By Emmanuel Elebeke
The Jigawa State Governor, Alhaji Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar, says Nigeria is desperately in need of critical thinkers to overcome myriads of its challenges.
He charged the youths to key into the digital technologies and focus more on critical thinking in order to find solutions for Nigeria’s economic and security challenges, as according to him, that is the only way to move the country forward.
The Governor made the observation at the 1st Jigawa Innovation Summit entitled: ‘Creating a Viable Innovative Ecosystem for Economic Development’’, organised by the state government in collaboration with National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and Youth Coalition for Development (YCD), an NGO that canvasses youth engagement in changing the status quo for the betterment of Nigerians.
For Governor Badaru, it is only through critical thinking that the minds of Nigerian youths can be opened, so that they can look around their environment and see the opportunities around them that they can turn into a business and create jobs, adding that the more problems are being solved, the more income can be generated.
He further said that the vision and focus is to bring the world of innovations to the state, noting that oil economy is almost over because of what is happening around the globe – electric cars are on the rise, solar energy is becoming cheaper, wind energy becoming supportive, and the unknown fuel energy-drive currently ongoing can surely drop the demand of oil, and if this happens, national income will continue to decline and that will affect all the states of the federation, including Jigawa.
“We have to look at the areas where we have competitiveness and see how best we can make our economy work through those areas. Like I have always said, we can achieve this largely in Agriculture. We have vast land and water for irrigation in Jigawa. We will continue to focus on how to develop Agriculture and its value chain.
“I want to challenge this Summit to see how best we can to improve in what we are doing and how best we can to create jobs around the value chains in Nigeria digitally.
“We have Informatics Kazaure that produced so many IT professionals in the country. So I expect this Summit to bring to our table advises in our educational arena so that we can do more in developing our youth by making them employers, not just employee,” he added.
In his remarks, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami), commended Jigawa State for driving Digital Economy initiative in the state, noting that the State Government showed its willingness to support the effort of the Federal Government and collaboration in order to develop indigenous digital economy in the country.
According to Pantami, it was the rate of unemployment in the country that motivated the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy to think outside the box by focusing more on creating potential employers rather than potential employees.
“If you enrolled people in university and they graduated without sufficient skills, they will never be self-reliant, they will always go around looking for jobs. But when you provide digital skills for your citizens, they will be employers of others, which Jigawa Innovation Summit should also focus on.’’
He cited Jeff Bezos, owner of Amazon and second richest person in the world, as the perfect example potential employer, who million of people are working under him.
He stated, however, that Netherland used digital technology to boost its agricultural activities despite having lesser landmass compare to some states in Nigeria, adding that if Jigawa State deploys digital innovation to agriculture it will go along the way in creating many jobs and generating revenue for Federal and State Government00.
“Whatever the state government, ministry and NITDA are doing is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari’s economic diversification agenda, therefore all the credits should go to Mr President because he campaigned before the election and after he was voted to lead the country, he appointed my boss and mentor as a minister, who also recommended me for this position,” he added.
Speaking on the summit, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, said the journey to Innovation Summit was more exciting than the theme of the event because the journey started in January last year when the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) commissioned Hadejia Community IT Centre.
Mallam Abdullahi opined that with new measures being put in place in regard to innovation and also what Governor Muhammadu Badaru Abubakar is doing in the state, Jigawa is at the forefront of zero-oil revenue.
He explained that innovation has been generally defined as the processing and taking the idea from inception to impact, adding that innovation is not all about Information Technology, it is also something that has to do with the invention, in terms commercialisation, business model, customer experience and organisational structure.