By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Judiciary, Luke Onofiok has advised ICT investors not to allow politics suffocate the sector, on view of the salient benefits that the sector pose on effective business management in Nigeria.
Luke, who represents Etinan Federal Constituency at the National Assembly stated this at the one-year anniversary of Future Labs, a digital business hub at Ikot Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State on Tuesday.
The lawmaker, who lamented that what would have transformed the nation’s economy through early utilization of digital approaches to business management was killed by politics.
He appealed to present business owners never to allow politics to suffocate instead of boost their endeavours.
He praised the former Minister of Petroleum Resources, Chief Don Etiebet, for pioneering the digital revolution in Nigeria through his Data Science Company.
Luke, a gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state, said the next level of human training in Akwa Ibom should focus on the training of the youth on ICT and other technical skills to prepare them for the industrial revolution which the present administration has initiated but would get to its peak in the next administration.
“Any policy formulated should be based on data to know what should be put in place. As such, the government should partner with ICT based companies to do the necessary groundwork that would make data communication faster and cheaper even in the rural areas.
“I believe that Ibom Science Park would be completed to function as a training institute for our future ICT entrepreneurs, because there is a need to train biomedical engineers and technicians. We now have a smart building. But we must have a smart government to have a smart future.” Luke said.
“We need to decentralize development to expand development because there is a yawning gap between infrastructural growth and human capacity development.” He said.
Titling his Keynote address: The Role of Policy in National Development Start-ups as A Case Study, Luke who is a former speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assemble, said, “As part of our plan for the future, we intend to partner with the private sector to lay fiber optic cables for high performance data and high speed internet access.
“We acknowledge the existence of a big digital divide between the urban and the suburban areas with high incomes as well as our rural and urban areas with low incomes. This digital divide includes connectivity gap where rural users experience lower speed internet connection more than urban users.
“Our goal is to bridge this divide by ensuring increased broadband infrastructure in underserved and unserved areas while also partnering with startups and tech hubs to improve digital literacy among residents of these areas in a bid to address basic to intermediate skills for both hardware and software.
“The digital literacy will help us in the maintenance and long-term substance of our proposed infrastructure,” the lawmaker added.
He congratulated the CEO of Future Lab, for taking the project to Ikot Ekpene in order to make the sub-urban dwellers have a feel of digital revolution.