By Etorobong Idiong
On Friday, the 14th day of December 2018, a popular techie in Uyo, the capital city of Akwa Ibom State which is the largest oil producing state in Nigeria Niger Delta received the blessing of the church to become husband and wife after fulfilling all traditional obligations as stipulated in the Ibibio tradition. Acushla as he is popularly known is a graduate of Agric Engineering from the University of Uyo and is currently working as a Networking Engineer in a renowned construction company in Uyo.
The success and glamour of this wedding has prompted us to take another look at the tech industry as a window to poverty eradication and sustainable empowerment. As stated earlier, Uduak Essien is a graduate of Agric Engineering from University of Uyo in Akwa Ibom State Nigeria. While other graduates from the same department are still moving from one office to the other looking for jobs, Essien obtained a hands-on training in software development. On completion of his course as a software developer, he furthered his lessons in networking which is why he is currently working with a construction company in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. And to the admiration of all, he was able to honour his heartthrob by walking down the aisle glamourously despite the financial requirement for such decisions.
Africa has been at the receiving end whenever tech is mentioned. Recently certain statistics released by Brookings Institution, a nonprofit public policy organization in USA recognized Nigeria as the poorest nation in the world beating India as the guardian of this distressing record over the years. This is because Nigeria produces nothing but rely wholly on importation especially technology. Therefore, when young people devote their time and energy in advancing their carriers in technology, it is always worthwhile commending such efforts even when the government does not throw in the necessary supports to boost the industry.
The opportunities in the tech industry are numerous just as the challenges of getting the best out of the industry in a country like Nigeria is glaring. As a developer, it is possible to make several millions of dollars offering services online around the world. This is what has kept most developers in the region going even when there is dearth of opportunities in government and private employ. The online platforms offer a genuine channel by which young people source for jobs outside their region and deliver same through same channel.
It must be noted that in the past 3 years over 20 million jobs were lost by Nigerians as the economy nosedived. Companies are folding up while millions of working age were fired due to inability of the organisations to pay their wages. However, skilled young people in the tech industry had found opportunities around this negative development. This is because while the economy went into shambles, companies and organisations saw the need to advertise their products to a wider sphere, therefore requiring the services of developers. This has created more opportunities to those in the industry within what I will tag ‘the days of famine’.
As Uduak Essien popular called Acushla tied the knot however, it beckons on every young person within the oil rich Niger Delta region to embrace technology as a window for poverty eradication and sustainable empowerment. There are several testimonies of startups that begun with just a laptop and grow to a multibillion naira organistion employing thousands of young people out of the street. The government should also expedite in granting funds to young startups in the Niger Delta region so that more hubs and learning spaces will be established to accommodate more youths who are interested in the industry.
We wish Acushla a happy married life and we look up to when the government of the day will give priority to skills (tech), so that more young people will be involved in the industry. Already Akwa Ibom State government has shown the readiness by creating for the first time and opportunity for program analyst and data processors in the recent vacant positions published by the State’s civil service commission. Recall we have sometimes last year published a story about Mark Essien of Hotels.ng where he started off simple but grew to become a leading name in hospitality services. Indeed to become a techie is the easiest way to become financially independent and I urge you to take a step today. Contact us for a guide.