Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State has urged the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to consider siting its South East zonal office in Enugu.
Speaking during the opening ceremony of a five-day training programme for 50 Persons Living with Disabilities (PLWDs) in Information Technology (IT) and Entrepreneurship, Ugwuanyi, who spoke through his Commissioner for Science and Technology, Obi Kama, said the request was also in line with the state government’s passion and commitment to IT, innovation and youth empowerment.
The governor disclosed it was in line with the vision that his administration recently established the Enugu Technology Hub and Youth Innovation Centres in Enugu Urban and Obollo Afor, Udenu Local Government Area, stressing that the unexpected outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the transition to more digitally enabled lifestyles and system of working globally.
The entrepreneurial training, which is taking place at the Enugu State newly established Tech Hub and Youth Innovation Centre in Enugu, is a partnership programme between Enugu State Government and NITDA.
Enugu State tapped into the training which is an initiative of Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, led by the minister, Isa Ali Ibrahim (Pantami) and being implemented by NITDA, to empower PLWDs through IT entrepreneurship, policies and solutions to enable them live productively with good sense of inclusion in the IT ecosystem, their immediate society and the country.
The governor disclosed the state government is taking a proactive step to create programmes for Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) skills development to reduce the risk of massive labour substitution and endemic unemployment.
especially in the COVID-19 era, by enabling the youths to leverage on the new entrepreneurial and economic opportunities associated with digital economy.
“Enugu State is also home to seven innovation hubs and 16 tertiary institutions with over 20 campuses. I will also proudly point out that the first computer system in Nigeria was assembled in Enugu at ASUTECH now Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUTH).
“The state is willing to partner NITDA by making available the entire required infrastructure to reactivate the South East zonal office at Enugu. Kindly indicate your requirements as soon as possible to the government.”
Commissioner for Science and Technology described the training as timely, saying: “The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development elicits that gaps and risks implicit in the digital economy are more exposed by the COVID-19 shock particularly in the African countries.
“The current ‘New Normal’ situation therefore requires the need to empower PLWDs through investments in ICT infrastructure, policies and solutions that will accelerate their efforts in tapping into the new possibilities unlocked by digitalisation.
“I appreciate the inclusive nature of this training in bridging the digital divide among PLWDs in the South East, especially Enugu State.
“I’m convinced this training will mitigate the existing digital divide and foster the digital inclusion of PLWDs within an educational context as well as within the society as a whole.”
Special Assistant to the governor on ICT, Emeka Ani, told the participants that society has shifted from an economy-based on commodities and manual labour to an economy-based on knowledge and highly qualified human capital.
NITDA director general was represented by Collins Agu, who expressed delight at Ugwuanyi administration’s commitment to the development of IT and youth empowerment programmes in the state.