From Aidoghie Paulinus, Abuja
The National Coordinator of the Digital Peers International (DPI), Mrs Ibukun Odusote, has said in order to engender a major economic breakthrough in the country, the government needs to ensure that Nigerian youths are grounded in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) knowledge.
Odusote, a former Permanent Secretary in the Ministries of Power: Environment; Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Labour and Productivity, amongst others, stated this in Abuja during a post-DIGITEST 2021 press conference on the theme “Digital Skills, Pathway to Prosperity”.
DIGITEST, an initiative of DPI, is a follow up to the Global Knowledge Conference which took place in Canada in 1997; the West African Policy Seminar by the British Council in 1998, the Global Knowledge Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1999 and several other initiatives that had taken place since 1999.
DIGITEST was initially conceived as an ICT club for young people in primary, secondary and tertiary institutions in Nigeria and West Africa with a cardinal objective of creating ICT capacity in young people between the ages of eight and 18 years, using non-conventional methods.
It was established to identify and develop talented and gifted children in ICT for social and economic development.
Odusote added that the competitiveness of the country lied on innovation, adding that the only way the country could maximise its investments in ICT infrastructure was to focus on the skill development of young people in the area of ICT.
Odusote further said with a lack of basic knowledge in the field of ICT, the nation cannot optimally gain from the possibilities and potential embedded in development.
‘The determination and enthusiasm to get the fruits of development in Nigeria back on track must teach us a lesson that the quest for development must start with the young people,’ she stated.
‘Nigeria is currently at a critical stage of development. No development and no growth take place any longer without ICT.’
Odusote further said DIGITEST has over the years, played a pivotal role in getting Nigerian children who grow very fast to become world acclaimed ICT innovators.
‘DIGITEST, during the long vacation, has always provided a productive and creative alternative to idleness or conventional studies as had been the case all through the year when schools were in session.
‘Though DIGITEST Online could not cover the socials that physical DIGITEST usually presented, it was an amazing discovery that a lot more social interactions could be achieved despite the constraint of physical movement. The reality, therefore, is that DIGITEST would always run in Hybrid mode, hosting participants face-to-face and virtually. This is the new normal,’ Odusote added.
Odusote recalled that during the official opening of the DIGITEST 2021 edition on Monday, August 9, 2021, 75 participants attended the hybrid ceremony chaired by Prof Mrs Adenike Osofisan, the 1st Professor of Computer Science in Nigeria and was closed in a Grande Hybrid Closing Ceremony on Friday, August 20, at the Digital Peers International Office, Pearls Learning Hub, Area 1, Durumi, Abuja by the Honourable Minister of Women Affairs, Dame Pauline Tallen who was the Special Guest of Honour and Mother of DIGITEST.
‘At different times during the programme, a number of distinguished personalities in the ICT profession had addressed the participants including, but not limited to the President of ISPON, Chinenye Mba-Uzokwu, Jide Awe, Onyinyechi Nmecha, Damilola Anwo-Ade, Rex Abidogun, lyinoluwa Aboyeji, to mention a few,’ Odusote also said.