Zinox boss calls for Nigeria to mark tech independence day
Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh has called on Nigeria’s government to declare 1 October 2020 the West African country’s technology independence day, and said it is only a matter of time before Nigeria starts raising tech billionaires that would rival the likes of Jeff Bezos and Jack Ma.
In a statement released to the media, Ekeh said: “October 1st 2020 is traditionally Nigeria’s Independence Day. It is a day that commemorates Nigeria’s emergence as a sovereign state. Considering the massive strides recorded so far in our journey to technological emancipation, the Federal Government should strongly consider declaring October 1st Nigeria’s technology independence day
‘‘I have often said it that no country achieves true independence without a level of technological independence. The time has come for Nigeria to boldly emerge as a technology force on the continent and globally; to make the right investments and critical positioning necessary for securing our collective future in the 21st Century,’’ he declared.
Ekeh referenced the renaming of the Ministry of Communications and its subsequent enhancement as a credible institution for anchoring Nigeria’s renewed approach to the emerging knowledge economy now brought to the front burner by COVID-19.
‘‘I commend the Federal Government for enhancing the Ministry of Communications which, by its current status as the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and the appointment of a thorough-bred professional in Dr. Isa Pantami to oversee its affairs, is now eminently equipped to deliver on Nigeria’s march to digital emancipation.
‘‘It has indeed been a journey of immense leaps and bounds, right from the time of Dr. Omobola Johnson through the era of Abdur-Raheem Adebayo Shittu and now to the current achievements being recorded under Dr. Pantami.
‘‘Nevertheless, there is a lot more to be done, especially in leapfrogging our prevailing developmental challenges by leveraging the power of technology, as is the case in advanced climes, to unleash the abundant skilled and modern human capital that Nigeria is potentially known for, create quality jobs and unlock a certified future for the huge population of energetic youths; while reducing sophisticated crimes – we have now seen a lot of women also indulging in to survive.’’
Ekeh reiterated Nigeria’s pre-eminence as a key driver of technology in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond.
“Today, a lot of our kids are out of school as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – a development that should not be the case, especially considering our capacity as a technology-compliant nation in finding a solution to bridge the gap.
‘‘At this level of our development, Nigeria should be regarded as a global digital giant. We have the means, the talent, the human capital and the innate intelligence to make it happen. With the government taking the step of making critical investments in technology, it is only a matter of time before Nigeria starts raising tech billionaires that would rival the likes of Jeff Bezos and Jack Ma,’’ he added.
In May this year Ekeh praised Imo State Governor, Hope Uzodinma, for slashing Right of Way (RoW) charges in the state by over 96%.
RoW is the levy paid by telecommunications services providers to state governments to lay fibre optic infrastructure.
According to a statement released to the media, RoW charges has been a thorny issue between players in the ICT sector, including the Zinox Group, and state governments over the years.