Bosun Tijani: A tech disruptor for renewed hope
President Bola Tinubu is working tirelessly to fulfill his electioneering promise to hit the ground running immediately after inauguration on May 29. Among notable steps taken is the submission of his minister-nominees to the Senate within the stipulated 60 days, for screening and confirmation.
In further affirmation of his campaign promise, the incoming cabinet lists reflect greater inclusion of technocrats, young people, more women representation and politicians, a move that has been applauded across diverse stakeholder groups.
Another key point of note is the assurance by President Tinubu to leverage technology as one of the key non-oil sectors to accelerate national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and job creation.
Hence, when the name of Nigeria’s foremost Techpreneur, innovator and disruptor, Dr. Olatunbosun Tijani, was unveiled at the ongoing Senate screening of ministerial candidates, the news reverberated across and beyond the shores of Nigeria as he suitably fits the bill and truly represents the clamour of the digital natives for inclusion in government. He is also generally trusted to make significant impact on the nation’s digital ecosystem.
Bosun as he is fondly called is the Co-founder of Co-Creation Hub, Nigeria’s first technology innovation hub founded in 2010, and which has grown to become the largest technology hub in Africa with physical presence in Kenya, Rwanda and Namibia, catalysing tech advancement across over 17 countries in Africa. With N1bn growth fund, CcHub has committed to impacting over 95 early-stage businesses bringing innovation in payment solutions, education and healthcare among others.
Combining a rich portfolio of academic degrees, professional qualifications and work experience, Bosun holds Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Jos, Master’s degree in Information Systems and Management from Warwick Business School, and Doctorate degree in Innovation and Economic Development from the University of Leicester. In addition, he has also attended several executive and professional courses in Innovation, Leadership and Economic Development from prestigious institutions including Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Stanford University and the African Leadership Institute.
He is also a Fellow of the Centre for Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law at the prestigious Stanford University and a Desmond Tutu Leadership Fellow, while he currently serves as an Adjunct Researcher focused on Digital Epidemiology at the Nigerian Institute of Medical Research (NIMR) and an Adjunct Researcher at the Wits School of Governance, South Africa.
With a focus on driving the application of knowledge for enterprise and economic prosperity, his career path has taken him through roles with the International Trade Centre and Hewlett Packard respectively, in Switzerland, and Pera Innovation Network in the United Kingdom.
Furthermore, Bosun served in some critical industry advisory groups in Nigeria and abroad including as: Member, Presidential Advisory Group on Technology and Creativity, Industrial Policy and Competitiveness, Nigeria; Member, UK Advisory Committee on Digital Access Africa; Advisor and Committee Member, National Economic Summit Group on Science & Technology; Member, Project Steering Committee of Lagos State Government LASG Tech Cluster (Yaba); and Member of the Expert Advisory Group to the European Commission on mainstreaming technology and innovation in the relationship between Europe and Africa.
Sharing his roadmap with the Senators during his screening, he said, “I believe and care deeply about the potential of Nigeria as a prosperous country that is driven by innovation. This has been a strong motivating factor in all I do and I have spent the last 15 years contributing to deepening the technology and innovation ecosystem in Nigeria and Africa through extensive collaboration with some of the world’s largest technology companies and development agencies.”
He added that, “I am particularly passionate about enabling and supporting home-grown solutions to some of the most critical challenges in sectors like education, public health, agriculture, trade and governance. An expression of this can be seen in my support for the work of young entrepreneurs like Temi Giwa-Tunbosun of LifeBank, Ife Dare-Johnson of HealthTracka, Preston Ideh of Stears, Iyin Aboyeji of Andela and Flutterwave, Jumoke Dada of Taeillo, HiO Usidame of Oneport, and Tega Iortim of Figorr amongst many others.
Truly, Bosun did not leave the distinguished Senators of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in doubt about his vision and capability to bring innovation and positive disruption into governance, if cleared for the ministerial position.
“It is my conviction that we must prioritise the role of Technology and Innovation in raising the productivity level across our economy. We can leverage technology to increase the contribution of multiple sectors, such as Education, the Creative Industry, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Agriculture, Transport and Security to our GDP,” he enthused.
A highly-respected media personality, Japheth Omojuwa, in a piece published on his blog alluded to Bosun’s rich credentials to bring positive disruption to the business of governance. “Bosun is one of our own because he represents the most critical and most powerful force of change in the world today – the world of technology and its capacity for disruption. He has lived that life; he has been that life. He is that life. Trust me, even if you considered him an enemy before that nomination but you care about the culture of disruption and the power of technology to disrupt our governance system and its ability to create wealth and opportunities for most – if not all – you’d still want a Bosun Tijani as your minister,” he stated.
Omojuwa, who clearly disclosed in his tweet headlined, ‘On the angst against Bosun Tijani’s ministerial nomination’ that he wasn’t a fan of Bosun, noted that past social media comments attributed to the minister-nominee were not a sufficient ground to deny him appointment into the federal executive council.
He counseled: “Bosun is not perfect, and this is not as per ‘no one is perfect’. No, Bosun is not perfect as per he has his shortcomings (sic). If it were by shortcomings though, no chance for most of us; certainly none for me, especially if it is based on old tweets.” (sic).
Indeed, the frank and objective manner in which the distinguished senators grilled the minister-nominee was commendable. Bosun’s humility and comportment before the Senate and his profound apologies to the federal lawmakers and President Tinubu for some unsavory comments that he made in the past also further affirmed Bosun’s leadership virtue as someone who is never afraid to admit mistakes and apologize whenever he goes wrong.
The support of Senate Leader, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele, Senator Elisha Abbo and the unwavering support of the three Senators from Ogun State namely Solomon Adeola, Shuaib Afolabi Salis and Otunba Gbenga Daniel also further affirmed the quality of the nominee. Also worthy of commendation is the quality leadership provided by the President of the Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the nomination of the candidate by President Tinubu, which attests to the fact that actualising the Renewed Hope vision is on course and the government of inclusion is being practicalised.
Ayinde, a tech analyst, wrote from Lagos.
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