Ojobo, Ex-NCC Director Opens TechX Innovation Hub In Enugu, Urges Youths To Embrace ICT
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By Rommy IMAH
Against the backdrop of the avalanche of challenges confronting national economies, ranging from the volatility in the oil market to climate change problems, there are concerted efforts being made by nations across the world to come up with policies that encourage the diversification of their economies.
Nigeria, for instance, has recently witnessed dwindling fortunes as a result of the volatility in the international oil market, resulting to stalled economic development alongside escalating unemployment challenges and social vices prevalent in the country today.
These were the views of Mr. Tony Ojobo, founder TechX Innovation Hub and President of the African ICT Foundation at a press conference held in Enugu Tuesday to announce the official opening of TechX Innovation Hub in the Coal City.
Ojobo said that it was in realization of the economic challenges confronting the country that TechX Innovation Hub was set up in Enugu to contribute towards addressing these problems in the South East Ecosystem, noting that the level of unemployment in this region is frightening and something has to be done urgently to address the trend.
“In 2016, in collaboration with the Young innovators of Nigeria, the Nigerian Communications Commission sponsored the organization to carry out a study of the ICT ecosystem in the South East to determine the level of innovations and ICT penetration in the region. The report showed that the level of ICT penetration was very low and that something needed to be done to address it,” Ojobo stated.
According to him, “The region has very few industries and organizations that can absorb the rising number of unemployed graduates in the ecosystem. It, therefore, becomes imperative to embrace technology as a way to tap into the ingenuity of the youths.
“The youths of this region are reputed to be ingenious, hence the need to channel this ingenuity to productive purposes for common good. Initiatives such as this will contribute to reducing cybercrime by winning over the practitioners and turning them into innovators.”
Ojobo, immediate past Director of Public Affairs at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) disclosed that TechX stands for Technology Extra - meaning that technology not applied is useless, and insisted that technology has to be applied to deliver value to lives and businesses.
“The X factor of technology is anchored on the things it can accomplish to contribute to human development. The strategic vision of Tech X is focused on four key areas, which I call the 4As of technological advancement; Awareness, Access, Adoption, and Application.”
While identifying awareness as a key strategy that addresses the issue of low ICT penetration, he stated that people need to be aware of the power of ICT to transform lives, businesses and the economy at large, maintaining that the most capitalized firms in the world today are playing in the ICT space and that the capacity of the technology to lift peoples and nations out of poverty is phenomenal.
“In recognition of these tested facts, we decided to start from the area where penetration is low and scale up to other regions in the country. TechX is a global organization that is concerned with the slow adoption of technology in the developing countries especially Africa. Nigeria however, has the market, the people and local innovations that can disrupt business models around the world. We are on track to making this happen.
“At TechX, we shall create a platform for people with ideas to incubate, startups, business developers, coders, programmers and techies to perfect and scale up their innovations through a structured mentoring process, training, and knowledge development programs. Our focus will encompass the following; Coding, Gaming, Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (IoTs), Robotics, Digital Innovations, Business Development, ICT Training, Software Development, Cyber Security, Digital Marketing etc.”
Ojobo urged the country’s teeming youths to focus their creative energies more positively with a platform such as TechX Innovation Hub to give them a head-start in life, insisting that ICT has become the new oil and countries that have depended on oil as the economic mainstay are beginning to embrace technology.
“We have examples from UAE, Qatar and other countries in the Gulf region. The federal government has been making efforts towards diversification of the economy, however, more still needs to be done through the encouragement of innovations, startups, and SMEs.”
The Africa ICT Foundation President said that it was in realization of this need that TechX was set up to play its part towards the economic development of the people and thus contribute to poverty reduction in the South East region in particular and the country at large.
“On this journey, we shall be collaborating with relevant Stakeholders, namely: the Media, Regulators, Hub owners, Tertiary Institutions, State Governments, Federal Government. SMEs, Multilateral Agencies, Embassies, Equipment Manufacturers, Ministries, Departments and Agencies and other important Stakeholders.
“This journey has just begun, and we will be counting on your support along the way. Let us join our hands together and make a difference in the lives of the generation following after us. This is a task that we all should play our part. The journey of a thousand miles starts with just one step, but the destination is inevitable God willing,” Ojobo prayed.