The official launch of the internship program organized by Nigeria’s largest online hotel booking company – hotels.ng, came to a successful end on Tuesday 5th Septemberu 2017. But the unspoken agenda in the program can only be left to your imagination. One hundred
and eighty young people gathered to listen to tech enthusiasts speak to them of the agenda behind the entire program. Let’s see what is expected in the nearest future to the tech industry.
Mark Essien while addressing over one hundred and eighty youths who gathered at the Ibom e-library for the event informed them that presently software developers earn between one hundred and one hundred and fifty thousand naira monthly. This is for an average developer he explained. In some cases, developers earn up to two thousand dollars ($2,000) monthly working for foreign companies. The speeches were motivational enough and everyone paid rapt attention to what the unfolding messages during the event will reveal.
The program of the event took an interesting turn when Uche Aniche, the Convener, Startup South mounted the podium. What has been a topic only expressed in parables gradually came to the fore. Mr. Aniche told the startled audience that while everything tech is done in Lagos, the south south
and south eastern part of Nigeria are gradually building structures which will change the game in the next ten years. “But we need to grow,” he said. “Grow we have to grow,” he emphasized.
“That is why I am happy that the commissioner is partnering with hotels.ng led by Mark to do this. Skills is one of the excuses somebody can give for not starting a company in this region. So here hotels.ng is training people en masse so we already solving part of the problem. I know hotels.ng cannot solve all the problems, so we want people to come up and train more people. But this is just one of the problem because these trainees will not see people to employ them so that they use these skills as much as we would want them because there are no tech companies here” Uche explained
While addressing the interns earlier, Mr. Mark Essien, the CEO of Hotels.ng said he had chosen to partner with the government because his initial effort to sensitize the people was rather futile. “I want to thank the commissioner for Science and Technology, Dr. Nse Essien and the Akwa Ibom State government for their support so far. This is a clear indication that the government is in support of raising our young people to become tech entrepreneurs and to be self-reliant.
Presently Lagos is regarded as the technology capital of Nigeria. In recent times young tech entrepreneurs like Hanson Johnson in Uyo have dedicated themselves to change the status quo. Mr. Johnson has trained over 2000 young people already in different tech fields. During an interview recently with techforest.ng, Mr. Johnson revealed how he has worked tirelessly to reduce Uyo – Lagos migration in search of tech opportunities.
“…you see, by then it was a virgin market and everything used to happen in Lagos. If you needed anything done, you will have to go to Lagos. I saw that as a problem and I made up my mind to solve that problem. I wanted to reduce the rural – urban migration from Uyo to Lagos in search of technology knowledge and greener pastures. If we believe that patronizing made in Nigeria goods and services will help in developing Nigeria then patronizing made in Akwa Ibom goods and services will help accelerate the development of the state and Nigeria at large.”
“Today we have succeeded in reducing that traffic, that dream has been actualized because we have people who have gone global from Uyo and people coming from Lagos to learn certain technologies here in Uyo. Those who had wanted to go to Lagos to learn new technologies now do better in Uyo and get featured on world stages.” Hanson Johnson stated.
This dream however may have a new twist to it as the CEO of the largest online hotel booking company in Nigeria joins in the building of Akwa Ibom ecosystem. The present conspiracy on ground is to make Nigeria South South the tech capital of the country. With Mark and Hanson Johnson acting as major role models presently in the industry, more Akwa Ibom youths and other Niger Delta States are expected to key in to the opportunities the industry offers.
It is no longer news that the Akwa Ibom State Government through the ministry of Science and technology is strongly behind this lucid dream. What this entails is that with the backing of the government, such facilities as the Ibom e-library will be accessible to tech enthusiasts to hang around for their coding. It has been discussed at various forums that Akwa Ibom State government needs to engage the proficiency of programmers to teach programming in secondary schools in Akwa Ibom State.
If such project is however carried out by the State government, then frankly speaking, in a time shorter than expected, Akwa Ibom State and the Niger Delta region will have to face more dynamism in technology development than Lagos. A conspiracy we all pray it works.