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‘Now is time for lawyers, Nigerians to leverage technology’

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The chairman of Zinox Computers, Chief Leo Stan Eke has said that now is time for lawyers and Nigerians to leverage on technology for national development. According to Eke, in 21st century, life has become a code and lawyers need to understand the DNA of their profession to decode it. He stressed that technology will solve many of Nigeria’s problems such as electoral difficulties, insecurity and other vices, if well adopted and deployed.

“We promoted electronic voting. It passed the house and it is before the national assembly. Immediately the president signs it, we will have electoral sanity. What it means is that if you have a code, you vote wherever you are and everybody will be seeing it in the big screen. It will be like in the stock market, Eke said as a lead speaker in the 2019 yearly lecture series of the Alliance Law Firm, Lagos.

The theme of the event was “leveraging technology to develop and rebrand Nigeria.” Eke said: “The 21st century kids are knowledge driven and technologically savvy. A country is branded with content. That is what India is doing today. If you are important, people will look for you. Part of the structure is not just technology, but the legal system is faulty such that a nonenity can sue me for no just cause and I will fly from Abuja to Lagos to be told that the judge will not sit.

“Part of the problem of this country is that we don’t have data and if you don’t have data, how can you plan? That is the problem of this country – electricity, water, roads, etc are comatose.” Contributing as a member of the panel, the managing director of Ecobank, Mr. Patrick Akinwutan explained that the banking industry will continue to be trailblazers in leveraging technology and ICT in national economy.

“We need to imbibe the right principles as a country. Broadband access in Nigeria is still within 30 percent penetration whereas Estonia has 80 percent. The cost of leveraging a shared platform like instant payment is in the range of N153 trilion. E-governace, e-health, e-visa, e-taxes, etc is entrenched in Estonia.

“The e-governace for us in banking is about planning and identification too. Everybody needs access to connectivity and participate in the financial economy. It is a global world and the battle for resources will be where there is value,” he explained, adding that in India, the government provided intellectual protection (IP) law for her citizens who are in technology world.His words: “Today in Nigeria, if somebody takes your IP, you are on your own. Instead of subsidising fuel, we can subsidise IP. We can leverage on what we are doing in the financial services industry. Estonia is an information society.”

For the group managing director, Mojec International Holdings, Ms. Chantelle Abdul, Nigeria cannot industralise without a proper power sector. Said she: “We cannot industralise without fixing the power sector. Very soon, Nigerians will begin to generate power themselves and sell them back to utilities. The inability to generate power or lack of access to power is true to all of Africa. If we leverage technology, we will be able to create products that would not only be able to be the unicorns of today, but helpful for Africa.”

Popular blogger, Ms. Linda Ikeji in her contribution, described internet as the most powerful tool Nigeria can use to rebrand itself. “Our image had been battered in recent years with kidnapping, rituals, scammers, etc. I don’t think that the bill by federal government to regulate social media and execute hate speech offenders are right.

“Why not government partner with these people to counter fake news instead of turning them to enemies. Using influencers and celebrities to change the narrative is important,” she said.Ikeji suggested that government can fly celebrities to different locations in the country so they can snap and post stories on the internet for all to see. “We need to glamorise Nigeria to attract people into the Nigeria,” she said.

Former director general of National Office for Technology and Acquisitions Promotion (NOTAP), Engr. Umar Bindir said other countries are using their own NOTAP, which started at the same time with that of Nigeria, to advance their nation, while that of Nigeria has remained relatively unknown over the years.

According to him, lack of technology is the basis for our underdevelopment. “The university system in Nigeria is digging the grave of this country. 92 percent of the University of Ibadan lecturers are Yorubas, the same in Ahmadu Bello University (ABU). Our country will develop when we leverage on technology. Every university must have Nigerians in them. If we change that, we change Nigeria,” he emphasised. The managing partner, Alliance Law Firm, Mr. Uche Obi (SAN) said the theme of the lecture was topical, considering the pivotal place of technology in Nigeria’s quest for economic advancement.The firm also used the opportunity to unveil its Doing Business in Nigeria Guide manual.


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