People, What Do I Tell The Nigerian Senate Committee On Technology?

People, What Do I Tell The Nigerian Senate Committee On Technology?

Good People,

I have accepted an invitation to speak to the Senate Technology Committee next month. This is largely a restricted meeting with so many important national issues to be discussed. It is invitation only and is not open to the public or the press. I will speak on national technology readiness with specific focus on an area I cannot discuss here.

But I need your broad suggestions and pointers on what to share with our leaders. I do this a lot in most other African countries where they actually pay me good money to speak. But no fee here, it is Nigeria. I consider it an honour to be invited. So, I am not going to make money with your idea.

Where possible, please share. You can email me directly via Tekedia contact (team will process) or my LinkedIn InMail. I will acknowledge in bulk. Please again, do not move from the topic and let us be respectful as we collaborate on this.

Thanks

Nd


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38 thoughts on “People, What Do I Tell The Nigerian Senate Committee On Technology?

  1. Hello Ndubuisi,
    Follow up from your LinkedIn write up on your Senate Technology Committee meeting.
    Kindly make points to create and implement sanctions for banks that fail to provide IT support for smes on their account. Reason being that some SMEs with e-commerce platform or willingly to do e-commerce are frustrated by inability to make transactions when servers are down or fail to credit receipient following an online payment transaction. They also make international online payment difficult without empathy for the SMEs services and products at stake.

    Reply
  2. Prof,I don’t know if this is diversionary,but,we have serious problems with our politicians and civil servants in nigeria due to their endemic corruption and placing of personal interest over and above national interest.
    For instance,I’m aware of a chinese company that came to nigeria with proposals to federal government to allow it undertake the rebuilding and repair of some roads in nigeria,mainly enugu onitsha federal roads with their money at no expense to federal government and at a time government is complaining of lack of funds and looking outside to borrow billions of dollars for the same infrastructure projects,so that they will toll the roads for some years after building to recoup their investment,but,the federal ministry of works has refused to grant them access or the right after about more than two years,they’ll rather want to borrow money and award contracts to their cronies.
    I think the local partner to the Chinese group is urban shelter,an engineering consultancy group.
    Nigeria politicised the simplest of things,our government,especially federal government tends to take political and irrational decisions where economic decisions are needed,for instance,government does not have to decide where international airports built,a state like abia state and anambra based on the number of international business people that travel from their can have international airports,in any case the money spent by a state to build such an airport will be to their loss if the state does not have the population of business community to use the airport or make it viable,so,this is purely an economic decision for state governments,that’s ,it should be on the concurrent list.
    Society that does not respect meritocracy is bound to fail in science and technology,infact,we need our bests in nigeria to play in the international community,to maintain global standard,we cannot be killing meritocracy on the alter of quota and at the same time wish to challenge america,Germany,Israel etc in technology and innovations.
    Research institutions and their boards are not to be headed by politicians looking for contracts.
    Government should walk the talk in patronising made in nigeria products,the more the local content the higher the government patronage.
    Local content law as practised with encouraging results in oil industry should be introduced in other areas of our national life,like ict,construction,etc.
    Their should be potent antitrust or anti monopoly laws to spur innovations through competitions,monopoly kills innovations.
    Government biased interference in industries/businesses in nigeria has created monopolies that make competition and hence innovations lacking.

    Reply
    1. Very great points on enablers and catalysts for accelerating industrial innovation in Nigeria. This is superb. I have noted them. Please tell the Chinese businessman to go through their embassy. I am very sure that Nigeria will take such gifts if the terms are favorable to our national security and interests.

      Reply
  3. Muhammad Abdulbasit · Edit

    Hello,
    i have been following your posts for a while now, i believe that you know most if not all the areas that the government need work on pertaining entrepreneurship development in the country. my only advice is you should tell them all that you have been advocating on this platform, and give the necessary impetus. Good luck.

    Reply
    1. Thank you very much Muhammad. In short, they did tell me that they read us. So this is why they are asking us to come. As you noted, we need to find a way to communicate ACTION,… not just theory but IMPLEMENTATION roadmap. Thanks for this one.

      Reply
  4. Hello Proffesor Ekwekwe,

    Can you also talk about expatriate jobs and quota within companies in Nigeria. Especially in the fmcg sectors, i see a lot of jobs given to expatriate, jobs which am sute Nigerians have the requisite skills. I will understand the expatriate rols for MDs and CFOs for strategic reasons.
    We also need to have quotas for expatriates as its done in other countries.

    We have people with less skills taken up employment in nigeria at a higher cost.

    Reply
    1. My brother Kayode, FMCG is fast moving consumer goods (just making sure I get it right). Are you saying that Nigeria is using many expats for this except I will say in the top executive management? I know that we have technology problem, but operational capabilities in the FMCG are things I think we have in abundance in Nigeria. I have noted

      Reply
  5. Benjamin Ezesinachi · Edit

    Good day Prof.,
    Good idea if not another means of keeping them busy and siphoning the treasure.
    I suggest you speak on expanding and equipping the higher institutions in the country to undertake specialized programs on cybercrime and ICT technologies with view of developing the industry to global status.
    As expert in the field, the gains cannot be overemphasized, and if they can buy into the idea, we are half way to resolving a lot of issues from banking to oil industry, government to the people, accountability to transparency etc.
    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Thank you for that. In short, very good you noted banking. People think we have that sector done without knowing that it is not working for many citizens. I will share a piece on that in coming minutes on why we need a roadmap to drive financial inclusion and I think Senate and CBN should lead in that space.

      Reply
  6. Dear Professor Ekekwe

    I want you preach the gospel of automation of processes in all nigeria parastatals.From Immigration, Corporate Affairs Commision, Nigerian Police.and a lot of others.BVN should be be used to authenticate individuals.For example in registering for Nigerian Passport you go capture, in registering for Drivers License you do same, Voters card and NIMC(national identity card).All these can be syncronised and time and resources could be saved.All this MDAs will claim they are automated but you cannot start and finish there applications without been ask to visit their physical location at one point or another.CAC should be full automated to Ease Business.

    Nigeria police as a matter of urgency should overhaul there processes by automating them if actua?ly the bribery and corruption in that area could be curbed.Infact the personells are too backward to embrace technology.When you go to nigerian Army you see very young soldiers but that is hard to see in nigerian police.A lot is needed in that quaters. We cannot over emphasis the enormous effect of technology in policing, Intelligence and Data gattering and monitoring.
    Please state of emergency should be declared in automating Nigerian Police Force Processings.

    Warm Regards

    Reply
    1. This is a brilliant one Tochukwu. I agree with you on the need for automation. The case of the Nigerian Police Force is noted. I do know that even the database of criminals is not maintained at state and national levels. The challenge for us is how the private sector can key into this.Thanks for these insights.

      Reply
  7. Entrepreneurship is one of the wheels that can drive any economy into a sustainable development and it is very sad that the government is laying little or no emphasis on it. Fine, I can agree there are platforms and policies in place to support and encourage this but what is the percentage and how efficient it is?
    At this time we so desire diversification in our economy, the emergence of entrepreneurs should be one of the core priority of the government. The ecosystem is not enabling, yet, many opportunities in this country but you will agree with me that we need an eagle eye to see these opportunities. One of the things that make a country like US is the emergence of entrepreneurs and we must learn from them.
    Prof, I believe you have more knowledge and understanding on this subject matter than I do and I hope you will table this at the meeting and give your recommendation on ENTREPRENEURSHIP without which there will be an economic development but not a SUSTAINABLE ONE.
    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Thanks Emmanuel. I agree, the future First Bank must be started. The future UBA must be started. The future Interswicth must be started. If we do not start them, they will not exist.
      The question is how we can make it happen. I do not think govt has to drive all, but govt needs to find a vehicle to make that happen. The message of entrepreneurship will be clearly articulated. Thanks

      Reply
  8. My dear Prof. Ekekwe,

    I am very proud of you more because of your openness and willingness to share knowledge that benefit folks in our country. I believe those that have to share but hoard it will learn great lessons as you progress to become one of our greatest legends in history.

    Briefly, I will like you to factor about 3 things into your speech and I hope they would not play politics with tem:

    1. Technology Curriculum – There is the need to ensure a modern curriculum for technology education, that is in line with industry needs, is evolved. Please remind the we already missed out from the Industrial age revolution. It will be a disaster if we do not do our best to seize the opportunities-without-boundaries of the Information Age.

    Essentially, Nigeria needs to shed “Legacy thinking”. Please read the Estonian example here – https://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2013/07/economist-explains-21

    2. Employment of Lecturers – The need to ensure the employment policy for entry-level lecturers is reversed back to the possession of Masters degree in order to attract and accommodate technocrats (should they be interested!) like the Appzone guys and others, with technology experience, who can then scale up to PhD level while in the University system should be made a priority. As it exists in the UK and other countries, we must be able to bring in PhD students (mostly on scholarships) and let them gain both research and teaching experience at the same time (I have few friends in the UK who became lecturers through this approach).

    3. Academic Discrimination – There is need to remove the academic discrimination placed on HND holders. I have seen many folks with National diploma who were admitted through Direct Entry and came atop (1st percentile) of their class. I had a HND myself and used it to gain admission into the final year of a degree in the UK (I spent just 1 year on the BSc and made a First Class in an environment with academic rigour!). Unfortunately, Nigeria never made this possible for me and it cost me 8 years of my hard-earned income to achieve! However, the good nes was I proceeded for my Masters degree in one of the best recognized Universities in the UK and I am better for it today (the glory goes to God for his provisions and the UK academic system!). Today, I am aware of thousands of HND holders who still suffer this unnecessary discrimination. In my working career, I have met bad BSc and good HND holders. We need to stop living in denial. Please help appeal to them to break the academic ceiling on HND holders or otherwise, tell them to downgrade the current HND curriculum so as not to deceive students any longer!

    There is a bill that has passed the second reading. They should let us know the outcome, whether positive or negative. See link here: https://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2017/04/12/bill-seeking-to-equate-hnds-with-varsity-degrees-scales-second-reading/

    Thank you and God bless.

    Yemi

    Reply
    1. No issues – noted.
      But if you register free in the account, that will be possible. I can ask team to activate the Facebook plugin, though we noticed that the apps take mobile credit as they load. To save browsing cost, we removed all the plugins.

      Reply
  9. Dear Prof. Ekekwe,
    For your meeting with the Nigerian Senate committee on Technologies, I recommend that you propose their adoption of policies which could drive manufacturing through technological tools.
    I consider 3D printing or additive manufacturing as a technology which could spur new manufacturing impulse, enmasse, in Nigeria.
    Read my take here:
    http://renafrique.com/RenafriqueDetails.php?Heading=How%203-D%20Printing%20Can%20Boost%20Nigeria%27s%20Economy&fileName=3D_printing.htm&imageFileName=3DPrinting.png

    Best regards,
    -Brando Okolo

    Reply
  10. One phrase for you to tell them… “Talk less, act more!” Not just on issues of technology… but on good governance which is one of the foundations for technology to thrive.

    I think we have watched and read enough presentations delivered by intelligent Nigerians during government organized events/forums on what we need to do to moved the country forward.

    Sadly, the politicians in the audience who often applaud to such great pitches with standing ovation, leave the events with no personal action plans or takeaways for implementation. Nothing changes… business as usual.

    Whenever I am sponsored to attend a conference, training or professional event by my employers… I have to develop a personal action plan upon return from that event and be held accountable for implementing such plans. Can we consider trying this during this particular event? It’s one way to get them to act on what they have learnt.

    Truth is… they read your blogs and posts here. They probably know and understand the Technology challenges in the country more than most of us who are out here analysing the situation. Question now is… do the government really need these events and forums to fix Nigeria?

    I don’t think so… The message is simple… “Talk less, act more”.

    Reply
  11. Dear Prof. Ekekwe,

    I believe the existing Nigerian postcode system should be properly established specifically in the area of geo-mapping. The Nigerian postcodes which represent a basic spatial unit (BSU) have not been geographically mapped. if they have, the data has not been made public. Mapping of the post codes will go a long way in increasing the adoption of the postcode system. With a geographically mapped postcode system the postcode of a location can be easily determined by just providing the latitude and longitude of any point within that location.

    Geo-mapping of the postcode is an intensive undertaking but very doable. I believe the benefits far out weigh the cost.

    Thank you for giving us the opportunity to contribute. Remain blessed.

    Silver Ibenye

    Reply
    1. Good point – Geo-mapping of the postcode is an intensive undertaking but very doable. That is going to be a basis for many times including commerce, agriculture, transportation, etc. Thanks. The points are noted

      Reply
  12. What is Nigeria’s Tech population? NCC keeps reporting over 90m as our Internet Penetration population, but if Facebook has just 18 million users in Nigeria, it begs the question of where the other “72 million” people are. We need real and concerted efforts from the Government (in Africa, Government remains the top driver of Technology) to enact laws and regulations that will increase penetration and usage. This may come in trivial legislation like reducing the price of Smartphones (by Import waivers, subsidy or something), or in serious legislation like Driving up Local Content in Tech. Either ways, I’m sure you’d get a good hang of it.

    Reply
    1. You have a good point there. Yet, if an average Nigeria has 2 lines, we may not necessarily have the same number as we have in Facebook. You only have one account in FB but you can have all the major telcos to use that one FB account. When NCC has not done is to concatenate all the users from all telcos and give us UNIQUE users.

      Reply
  13. Dear Professor Ekekwe.
    I want you to preach to our Senators to see industrialization of Nigeria as only solution that will solve many of our economics and political problems. There are two major industries that is within our capacity and needs to be look at.
    1.Ajakuta Steel/Itakpe Iron -ore and the Bitumen that we have abundantly but refused to developed. The Ajakuta /Itakpe, we were told were 80% completion 15 years ago i wonder how many % they are now. Apart from employment generation,all sectors of our economy i.e Agriculture, housing,transportation etc require Ajakuta/Itakpe steel and iron-ore.
    2.Road constructions in Nigeria depends solely on imported Bitumen, whereas Nigeria is bless in abundance with this mineral resources lying underground from Ondo,Ogun,Lagos,Edo and Delta states untapped. Let the legislator and executive collaborate and set up a task force on these industries that will help Nigeria to industrialized and contribute to our future foreign exchange earning. Thanks &regards

    Reply
  14. Everybody has been recommending sundry ideas,but,the greatest disincentive to innovation and development in technology in nigeria is human factor,our myopic politicians as I have reflected ealier with our undue politicization of everything.
    Take for instance for almost a decade or more,an American consortium company,BFIG with nigerian principal stakeholders and American technical partners won the bid for ALSCON but,obasanjo refused to allow them takeover the company,it has left the the company in jeopardy,because,even though obasanjo illegally handed the company over to RUSSAL of Russia,RUSSAL has failed to live up to its commitment of dredging imo river or making serious investment in the company due to serious legal entanglement and unfortunately for nigeria,BFIG has won it case and right to the ownership of the company up to the nigerian supreme court and the government is left in embarrassing quagmire because of ill informed political interference in purely clear economic matters.
    Imagine if america decides to make trouble with this,the company should have been up and running and innovating several years ago but for obasanjo.
    Personally,I feel he,obasanjo,does not like the Niger delta man stake holder in the BFIG group,Mr.JAJA from opobo, this kind of ill treatment to a fellow country man kill moral and drive,imagine how this United States based engineer will feel like investing in nigeria again?
    Another sore point is the current case of aba power lines limited and how goodluck Jonathan almost messed that important project up.
    That singular project will catalyze aba industrial zone,proposed enyimba ftz and would even help in attracting the prospective chinese $1.5billion investment in aba shoe&leather cluster.
    You will make effort to warn our politicians there,they should resolve the alscon mater in favour of BFIG just as our own supreme court has said,we cannot afford to treat our highest court with disdain to satisfy a roguish Russian firm.
    They’ll not blink an eye in throwing out a nigerian if it was the other way round.
    BFIG has proven technical and financial capacity to turn around alscon and yet with a significant nigerian stakeholder interest.

    Reply
  15. Dear Prof,

    This is a good opportunity to speak with our leaders. I just hope they will follow through.

    One of the major issues in Nigeria is Data Collection for National Development. We do not have a Data Bank. With a solid National Data Bank, a lot of development will come.

    Presently we have a multiplicity of data collection by the government and non-government agencies or companies; the Police, Road Safety (FRSC), LASRRA (Lagos State Residents Registration Agency), Nigeria Immigration Service, Telecoms Operators, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), National Population Commission (NPC), Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and Banks.

    There should be a Centralised National Data Bank where all these data will be merged. Access to these data could come for a token.

    A robust Data Bank will help in creating an excellent credit risk administration, provision of amenities, census figure can be gotten at any given time and above all, it will enable National Planning.

    Reply
  16. Dear Prof,

    This is a good opportunity to speak with our leaders. I just hope they will follow through.

    One of the major issues in Nigeria is Data Collection for National Development. We do not have a Data Bank. With a solid National Data Bank, a lot of development will come.

    Presently we have a multiplicity of data collection by the government and non-government agencies or companies; the Police, Road Safety (FRSC), LASRRA (Lagos State Residents Registration Agency), Nigeria Immigration Service, Telecoms Operators, National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), National Population Commission (NPC), Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) and Banks.

    There should be a Centralised National Data Bank where all these data will be merged. Access to these data could come for a token.

    A robust Data Bank will help in creating an excellent credit risk administration, provision of amenities, census figure can be gotten at any given time and above all, it will enable National Planning.

    Reply
    1. Nice one Sikiru – I like the data bank idea. As you noted, it will provide a lot of values. – “A robust Data Bank will help in creating an excellent credit risk administration, provision of amenities, census figure can be gotten at any given time and above all, it will enable National Planning”. Brilliant

      Reply
  17. Timetable of students in universities should be designed such that they have two days free in week. Students should be encouraged to use that time in the week to gain industry experience either paid or free. Then employment after graduation should be done based on the number of working years experience you had when you were in school. This would force many people to take on trainings during school periods and in turn provide the skilled workers we need. Germany uses this model

    Reply
  18. Dear Prof,

    Our company in partnership with an American firm has developed a technology driven anti-smuggling solution for motor vehicles and other associated revenue leakages like under a declaration and undervaluation of imported motor vehicles while saving all the revelant stakeholders ( federal govt, state govt, private sector) about $1billion per Annum.
    We have submitted about 5 different proposals to the Nigeria Customs Service between 2014 and 2017, but to our surprises these proposal always get missing at a particular department in the customs office, in fact the last proposal was submitted in October 2017 and when got to the customs office last week for follow-up the proposal has vanished again like the previous ones.
    An America company has offered 50 Million USD to finance this project under Public Private Patnership initiative ( All the documents i.e. letter of offer for funding, acknowledgment copies of the submitted proposals are available for your thorough perusal upon request).

    THE SOLUTION OVERVIEW:

    This is the description of the solution;
    Electronic Customs Duty Valuation and Clearance Certificate System is a technology driven solution that uses artificial intelligence, mobile and smart card technology to curb the menace of motor vehicles’ smuggling and other associated challenges in Nigeria while blocking the annual revenue leakages of about $1 Billion.

    Limitations and Missing Links in the Past Efforts of Nigeria Customs;

    1) The conventional paper clearance documents issued by customs authority are prone to forgery and manipulation.

    2) Inability of the stakeholders to proffered a transnational solution (solution that involves active participation and cooperation of both federal and state government agencies across in elimination of motor vehicle smuggling.)

    3) The larger percentage of the prospective motor vehicle buyers in Nigeria cannot differentiate between a smuggled motor vehicle and properly cleared motor vehicle at the point of purchase.

    4) Official of motor licensing agencies cannot distinguish fake customs clearance documents from the original one at the point of registration.

    5) Smuggled motor vehicles are easily getting registered across Nigeria.

    6) Other limitations are not limited to lack of political will, corruption, inadequate budgetary provision, institutional mediocrity but poor project conceptualization and implementation

    Our Solution and How It Works

    1) Customs Duty Evaluation Module: this enables the Customs to know the exact value of any imported motor vehicle while automatically calculates the accurate duty value of the vehicles through machine intelligence towards elimination of persistent under-declaration of vehicle value by the importers and also undervaluation of duty payable by the corrupt officials.

    2) Electronic Duty Clearance Certificate Module: this enable the Customs to issue a smart card that is not clone-able as an evidence of duty payment and custom clearance instead of the current paper-based clearance documents that are prone to forgery and manipulation.

    3) Mobile Clearance Verification Module: this module enables the members of the public to verify the clearance status of imported or locally built motor vehicle through mobile USSD before buying from the dealers
    or importers

    4) License Registration Module: this enables the licensing agencies across the country to verify the clearance status of motor vehicles through their designated card reading terminals before issuing the number plates and other documents; Therefore owners of new vehicles most come to licensing offices with issued smart card as an evidence of customs clearance ‘ operation no card no vehicle registration’

    5) Supervisory and Monitoring Module; it enables the government to remotely monitor issuance of cards and registration of motor vehicle processes towards transparency and accountability.

    See the video presentation of the solution here;
    https://youtu.be/1sm670b0xv0

    Conclusion;
    This solution is designed and developed by patriotic young Nigerians as a way of contributing their quota to the national development but some people in the customs are sabotaging the efforts.
    They are lot of Nigerians that have one or two ideas that can curb corruption and move the nation forward therefore government should establish a platform where these set of people can exhibit and present there solutions to the government instead of going through all the bottleneck in the government agencies.

    Reply
  19. Fantastic idea and reactions from different contributors, just that one would start thinking negativity because Nigeria is just such a terrain where brilliant ideas capable gradually of revolutionize the society either from local content or trying to localise any international innovatives are stifled, hardly sprout and grow, most times it suffer from permafrost (a geographic condition that stunt the effective growth any greenery)

    Reply

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