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‘Digital disruption imminent, needed to move Nigeria forward’

By Adeyemi Adepetun
05 December 2019   |   3:10 am
If adequately harnessed, technology is capable of disrupting several spheres of the Nigerian economy in the next 10 years, and place it on par with developed countries.

If adequately harnessed, technology is capable of disrupting several spheres of the Nigerian economy in the next 10 years, and place it on par with developed countries.

This is according to the Chairman, Zinox Group, Leo Stan Ekeh, who disclosed that no one has the capacity to stop the coming wave of positive technological disruption.

Consequently, he urged Nigerians and mostly the youths to take advantage of this positive digital disruption and add impetus to the brand Nigeria on the global map.

“It is now between our competence, our commitment, and God to lead other nations of the world. This is a century of quality wealth driven with knowledge and conscience and powered by technology. We have no reason not to scale with over 200 million ambitious people from birth,’ he declared.

Ekeh gave this charge when he delivered a lecture at the 2019 yearly Lecture series of advisory and corporate commercial entity, Alliance Law Firm.

At the event themed: “Leveraging technology to develop and rebrand Nigeria,” Ekeh said, already, every sector of the economy is experiencing the impact of technology, be it the electoral system, health care delivery, agriculture, banking, transport, education, hospitality, governance, entertainment, housing and including the way businesses are run in Nigeria.

“Today, Nigeria is moving closer to e-voting. Also, you will observe that post-election litigations have dropped considerably. In fact, we are down by about 41 per cent today. Once we migrate to e-voting fully, anyone who loses an election will have no need to go and contest it in court. This is the power of technology. Technology does not lie. This is why I chose to go into it as a profession,” he disclosed.

Speaking from experience, he argued that rebranding Nigeria must begin with critical investments in the nation’s human capital. Ekeh urged Nigeria to borrow a leaf from a country like India, which presently accounts for some of the leading brains driving the world’s major tech conglomerates.

“When I studied for my first degree in India many years ago, I had written a paper titled – India: An economy waiting to happen. I have been proved right today. Although the country experienced serious economic hardship, it did not prevent them from investing in education. You will find that the average Indian holds a Ph.D. in about three different disciplines and maybe a Master’s degree in four disciplines. So, when you employ him, you are getting maybe a Medical Doctor who is sound in Engineering, Agric-Economics, Business Management and more.

“While they were incubating, they kept on upgrading their citizen’s knowledge base by reducing school fees affordable even to the poorest citizens, waiting for an opportunity. When the ICT opportunity emerged, they took it. If the Indian President recalls all Indian nationals today for a two-week break, the entire world will feel the pain. Indians are at the helms of affairs of the world’s most valuable companies including Microsoft, Google, Apple, and many others today,” he stated.

Speaking on the Ministry of Communication and Digital Economy, Ekeh counseled the Federal and state governments to take that decision now to invest about $10 billion to provide quality digital infrastructure in Nigerian schools at all levels and finance school fees for indigent students nationwide.

“When I encounter people who say things are worse today, I just laugh. You must remain positive. Entrepreneurs are known to be positive people. I am an example of the Nigerian miracle but I disciplined myself from day one as someone born in a trust economy. When I returned to this country over 30 years ago, I was worth less than $10,000. Within three months of returning to Nigeria, I was privileged to have met people like General Theophilus Danjuma, the Awolowo family and others who patronised me and in the first six months, I hit over $4.5 million balance sheet size.

“I wouldn’t have achieved this if I had decided to remain in the UK, as I was being advised then by those who saw no future for Nigeria in technology. It is important to note that though my customers did not really understand what they were buying, I did not betray them. This century is a century of trust and those that cannot be trusted have no financial capacity to scale,” he stated.

According to him, things are even better today. He added that the current generation of kids is knowledge-driven and technology-powered.

He projected that they will delete many of the so-called billionaires in Nigeria today within the next few years. That is the era we are currently in.