Sometimes ago, I met with a very senior officer at the Ministry of Science and Technology. “Why, my friend, you’ve not been writing to support the ministry again?” he queried in a tone that suggested a statement rather than a question. I ducked my face pressing my chin close to my chest. Several thoughts ran through my mind in a split of milliseconds. My gaze fully on the floor, after all it is believed that he who looks at the ground is wise. So I thought of the best way to reply the question less I hurt a man who was now beaming with a friendly smile. “It is well Sir,” I replied. “You see I was surprise that you were praising him and all of a sudden you started what seemed like a media war,” he said looking rather sad. At this point I needed to discharge him because definitely this was not a discussion for a field. We needed to sit, maybe in his office or a joint where he will be tipsy enough to vomit the truth I needed. “OK I wanted to get water across the road. Are you going to the hall?” I queried knowing the answer must be in the positive. He submitted in the same light and I proceeded “I will see you in the hall when I return or I may come to the office.” I left, waiting for when he will call if he was truly interested in the case.
Recently while discussing with a friend, he argued in very strong terms that Governor Emmanuel does not have anything to gain by supporting the tech communities in Akwa Ibom State. “Why?” I asked. Taking a more relaxed look, the guy narrated how the community is small and does not add to the governor’s political career. “Moreover, someone must have to talk to the governor about the tech communities and what is needed,” the guy affirmed as I quickly recalled how the Commissioner for Science and Technology had told me he was not ready to talk to me about the development of the tech ecosystem in Akwa Ibom State. Indeed the only route to the governor seems to be the Commissioner and now he seems to conclude that the governor is not interested in tech and so he has lost the faith to intimate the governor of the developments in the ecosystem.
As I am writing this article today, I want to inform you that we have not less than 5 active tech communities in Akwa Ibom State. It is therefore a clear case of ignorance for any politician or assumed politician to claim that Governor Emmanuel has nothing to gain by associating with tech communities in Akwa Ibom State. This is delusive. For the governor to invest in the promotion of tech communities, he are sure of having his image added to the list of governors who is digital in Nigeria 21st century. Of course, recently the former Head of State, General Ibrahim Babangida has called on Nigerians to elect a digital President to pilot the affairs of the country come 2019. Therefore, such legacies as relating, promoting and funding tech communities will definitely boost the governor’s CV when he completes his work in Akwa Ibom State as the governor and is ready to move into National politics.
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Among the tech communities founded in Akwa Ibom State presently which could be of great concern to the governor politically is the Digital Marketing Community tagged DigiClan Uyo. Digital Marketers are professional users of different tech tools to market a product or brand on the internet targeting users at various levels. Therefore while information flies on social media without having a specific target audience, Digital Marketers are equipped with the required skills to trend and promote a brand to a specific audience. It therefore means that the governor’s dream of raising entrepreneurs in the state can even start from engaging these young digital marketers to promote his image rather than contacting a Lagos based company. This will boost the economy of the state in this regards and will definitely earn the governor a solid relationship with young people in the various tech communities.
To sustain these tech communities therefore, the government must be willing to encourage techpreneurs who are already practicing in the Niger Delta States. This engagement will encourage other young people who would have gotten into crime to re-examine their acts and be more productive to the state by engaging with the various tech communities. It will also be commendable if the present government will as a matter of concern provide funding to some successful startups (especially the registered ones) to help them find their feet in the entrepreneurial world. Having met various disappointments from the Commissioner who seems to have no faith in the youths of Akwa Ibom State and what we have achieved so far in tech, I had decided to withdraw such writings as done earlier since that will be misinforming the society.