StartUP Friday: Another Call for Youths Engagement in Tech

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StartUP Friday
Cross Section of the Partcipants

Just last week, I met a friend who, during the course of our discussion blamed his father for all the woes that has befallen him in life. According to the young man, while he was in his primary school, his late father never mandated him to take his education seriously. At primary 4, he had become one of  the village’s best trap setter and was able to take his skills to another level by setting traps that could even catch birds of the air, and rodents that are considered wisest in the neighboring bushes. According to him, his father enjoyed all his meat without telling him that his education was of a greater importance.

StartUP Friday
NITDA’s DG, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami announced the readiness of the Federal Government to establish a Job Creation Centre at Esit Eket.

While narrating how life has dealt a great blow on him, I inquired if his father ever paid his school fee throughout his primary or secondary school. “Yes, he never failed to pay my fees” he responded enthusiastically but quickly added that “he never forced me to take my education seriously”.  “Now, I roam the streets and I can’t even catch enough animals to feed my family not to talk about selling them to be able to pay my children’s school fees” he lamented looking utterly dejected. At this point I realized he was not even a professional hunter at his age.

Above is the story of millions of youths who were born into families where their parents knew the importance of education but they – the young people, never took their education seriously.  Most of them were privileged to have parents who could afford the basics for their education but they wanted more than their parent could offer.  Without understanding the future and the implications of their immediate actions, they jeopardize their future while exposing the future of their unborn children to a greater danger.

Today, the National Information Technology Development Agency – NITDA is using the Office of ICT for Innovation and Entrepreneurship – OIIE, to organize one of the biggest events in the tech industry to sensitize youths of the coming revolution in the industry.  The event recently was held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital and this was the first time this epoch making event is held in Nigeria South South. Major stakeholders in the industry including NITDA’s Director General – DG,  Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami was there in person.  He did not just come as a guest, but stayed all through to encourage, share and even network among young people.

StartUP Friday
Most participants were grateful to Dr. Amina Sambo-Magaji, Coordinator of OIIE for bringing the event to the Niger Delta zone.

What I’m I really saying? Encrypted on our minds is the image that every government idea is aimed at embezzling money.  I must regret that when positive ventures are introduced into the system it is the people who are mostly beneficiaries of these projects that kill the idea mostly at birth. But now, like other youths all over the world, Nigerian youths are now gearing up to embrace government plans that are aimed at building a successful future. StartUP Friday, to me, is one of such ventures.

Dr. Amina Magaji might be young, but appreciating her beyond her looks is a great mind determined to make the best out of our youths.  The packaging of the program itself indicates a long term project that will establish not only Startups, but great businesses within the industry that will pull out a number of young people from the labour market.  These were the thoughts that rocked my mind as I watch young people pitch at the event.  “Indeed we only need to understand, encourage and participate in these ventures,” I thought to myself as the representative of the Budgetier application mounted the podium.

I will be dishonest to myself if I relate with you that corruption is not a problem in the country.  That will pitch me in your record as not only being hypocritical but out rightly sycophantic.  But where there are genuine intentions like what I saw during the StartUP Friday event, I think our youths should first and foremost embrace the innovation before crying out where there seems to be a duplicitous intention. “Imagine encouraging that budgetier girl with the sum of 300k, it will go a long way to boost her morale and before you know what is happening, she is a CEO of an organization.” I had related with one of the participants at the event.

Our youths must therefore cast behind them the blanket of criticism and focus on the benefits government projects offers.  Where there are commendations as was given to the DG of NITDA and the co-ordinator of OIIE by Akwa Ibom people, young people should not hesitate to take it to various platforms they occupy so that leaders in various tiers will continue to support good ventures as related herein. Who knows? You can meet your investor right inside the hall of a government organized event like StartUP Friday that has been the talk in Uyo over the weekend. This is just my thought anyway.

Meanwhile I enjoin you to stay with us here in techforest as we will bring you more about the StartUP Friday recently held in Uyo.  We hope to bring you the emotions of Akwa Ibom People on the creation of Job Creation Centre at Esit Eket by NITDA which was announced by the DG of NITDA.  The future is with us.  I think if we don’t develop faith in the government, we may never be able to tap into the various developmental strides various government agencies strife to bring.  Once again, I thank the Directorate of NITDA for finding Niger Delta worthy of such beneficial event and I will always remain grateful to the Coordinator of OIIE – Dr. Amina Sambo Magaji,  for bringing the meetup to Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. To the youths, we must lay down arms and embrace the benevolence of the government towards us.

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