President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday decried a situation where Nigeria has not participated in any industrial revolution in the world pledging to reverse the trend using Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
The president was speaking in his office while inaugurating a 14-man Presidential Committee on Broadband Technology.
He urged the team to use ICT to give Nigeria the headway needed to play a key role in the technology revolution and bring the country at par with other industrialised nations of the world.
The committee has a former managing director of the National Communications Commission (NCC), Ernest Ndukwe as Chairman, and the chairman of Zenith Bank and Visafone, Jim Ovia as co-chairman.
Their terms of reference include to evaluate and analyse the current position of broadband infrastructure in the country and articulate an agenda for bridging the gap between the haves and have not’s.
He called on the Ministry of Education to join hands with the Ministry of ICT and incorporate ICT in the country’s education curricular beginning from primary level.
The president also explained why the ministry of Communication Technology was separated from the Information ministry, saying it was for the country to leverage on the abundance opportunities in ICT sector.
“When we came up with the idea of separating the ministry of communication technology from the traditional ministry of information, we believed that the concept of information is bugging down that ministry. The minister of information is always harassed when people are abusing the President. We believed that communication technology is a key to economic development and we should remove that from the political gossips that adorned our media. That is why we separated it and looked for somebody that we believed probably had no voter’s card as at that time to head the ministry, so that the communication technology will be insulated from the routine activities of the traditional activities of the minister of information.”
Noting that the country’s key to attaining industrial revolution is in ICT, he said, “it is only ICT that can take any nation to advanced nation and at least we should work hard to join this revolution.”
President Jonathan therefore said the country should begin to think along the line of digital revolution.
He said: “It is a fact that broadband access and Internet technologies are a key enabler of socio-economic growth and the attainment of a fully knowledge-based economy.
“It is important to start thinking of how to build a digital economy particularly in this era of the knowledge economy. The critical factor here is that we are in the middle of a digital economy particularly in this era of the knowledge economy. The critical factor here is that we are in the middle of a digital revolution that has seen ICT transform the global economy. ICTs have changed the way we live, work and learn. In some countries around the world, including Nigeria, ICTs have even transformed the way citizens participate in governance.
“Whereas we are working to transform our present realities, my administration is also laying a proper foundation for a prosperous future. Therefore, the Ministry of Education must incorporate ICTs in our National Education Curricular beginning from the Primary School Level because, if we desire to raise the global ICT leaders of tomorrow, we should not burden them with the disadvantage of starting out late. Celebrated innovators of today, like Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and Mark Zukerberg, founder of Facebook, discovered their love for software development between the ages of 9 and 12.”
He also urged Nigerian parents to begin to expose their children to ICT so as to encourage them to familiarize with new technologies and the desire to develop software programs and applications.
He also assured that his “administration will continue to give the necessary support and encouragement to ICT practitioners in Nigeria to empower collective effort in attaining the goal of 21st century economy.”