The early morning ray pierced through the tiny holes by the window, waking me up to the reality of another day. The hours of sleep recently has been a great relieve from the recent happenings within the state and the nation at large. The economy of country had been a course of concern to all citizens. Prices of goods have gone up uncontrollable and all hope of having a strong economy seems dashed by the president’s global junketing. In a flash I seems to regret rejecting an appointment sometimes offered in an oil servicing company but then, why should I regret turning down that appointment when 3 of my friends that were employed then, were fired last month with excuses on the recent fall in oil prices.
Before now I had used my only social media platform (Facebook) to call on the government to look into Information Technology as an alternative source of revenue away from oil. I had condemned the Poverty Alleviation Program of the Attah’s administration where some youths were trained at an outrageous amount by the government yet nothing was achieved at the end of such trainings. Raising my voice on Social Media seemed one senseless adventure I had ever undergone as no one heeded the call. Everything in the IT Industry was politicised while millions if not billions of naira went down the drain without any achievement or improvements on the side of the trainee.
Now all these are past events. The mistake of not investing earnestly in Information Communication Technology can never be reversed but can only be corrected. Sadly enough, when I called on the government to make earnest investment in the IT Sector, our oil was sold at above 100USD per barrel but now it has fallen below 30USD per barrel and we are now faced with the dilemma of innovating or we will all die. Let us take a closer look at the opportunities Information Technology offers to us as a people and as a nation.
The simplest technology to export presently is the Computer Software. An online survey suggests that millions of Applications are downloaded on daily basis. The big question is, of all the software downloaded in various countries and various locations, how many are developed in Akwa Ibom State. It is true that developing software that runs online on the internet do not need government sponsorship or support, but in an economy like ours, getting the necessary tools for a task requires great support either from spirited individuals in the society or the government. For instance, building a particular sellable software requires developers coming together and brainstorming on the idea with long incubation period. The period of conceiving the idea, incubation and eventually launching of the project requires heavy financing. Therefore if the government can come in to support local entrepreneurs in the technology industry, it will go a long way in encouraging youths become more creative and marketable.
It is sad that we have thrown our culture and traditions to the dogs. However, worth noting is the visit of most tourists to the shores of Akwa Ibom State to feel and enjoy the ambience of our environment. It therefore suggests that if developers within Akwa Ibom State are well packaged, applications that will promote our cultural heritage beyond borders can be developed. Such software I must note, should not be internet base since control of the internet domains are limited but should be deployed and installed on desktop computers with various varying functionalities.
In reversing the damages so far done to the Information Communication Technology Sector in the State, the various ministries with affiliation to this sector should re-strategize on bringing brains in the IT Industry together in the state. The Ministry of Science and Technology should focus more in the building of simple offline softwares for information dissemination which will be a stepping stone to building advanced technologies in the near future. While working on importing computers for various projects in the state, the ministry should think of integrating software built by the developers in the state into such machines to enhance the sale of such information/ideas.
Finally, Governor Udom Emmanuel has appointed the SA on ICT. The holder of this office must rise to the task of bringing developers together and brainstorming the ideas needed to make Information Technology a reality. The SA should be ready to work with IT Professionals in the state to build Software that will suit global needs since the sales of such software can turn, not only the fortune of the developers in the state but can increase amazingly the fortunes of the state. Indeed as we are witnessing the oil drying up, it is time to untie all that held us captives over the years and get down to practically invest in Information Technology as the future we crave starts with us now.