The Ondo State Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, has cautioned against any law that will affect gains currently being recorded with the judicious use of the social media.
Speaking at a stakeholders’ forum on Information Communication Technology in Akure yesterday, Mimiko who posited that the positive economic impact of the internet is well known, observed that mobile and internet platforms have increased access to improved agriculture, education, health, and governance services, adding that beyond these, Information Communication Technology can also generate transformative growth that creates sustainable pathways to youths.
He said the social media has opened up a plethora of opportunities for the younger generation, who have embraced it whole heartedly, using it to have their voice heard and their products seen globally.
Cautioning against halting the trend, Mimiko warned that “we must not hinder such opportunities through bills such as the Social Media Bill, we risk alienating a significant part of our population by stifling their rights to express their views and challenge conventional wisdom.”
The governor offered however, that “our focus should be on supporting the vibrant social media now evident in Nigeria and empower the youth to use the social media in the most effective and responsible manner”.
He mentioned that his government had deployed ICT tools in virtually all of its engagements beginning with primary education, health care among others.
He said the government’s Residency Card – ‘Kaadi Igbe Ayo’ initiative for instance, is a multi-purpose smartcard that is helping a great deal to democratize access to all the good things of life.
“As I state at my second term inauguration on February 24, 2013, ‘our job is not finished until every child has access to quality education in a 21st century environment that is deliberately-structured to bridge the global digital divide and take our children to the cyberspace where information and knowledge now truly reside,” the governor said.
He observed that Africa as a continent faces the challenge of seeking creative ways to maximise the opportunities in digital jobs by focusing investment to grow the digital market and develop skills in order to create more job opportunities for young people.
Submitting that there is a growing recognition that the digital economy can have net positive impact on jobs and income generation for young people, Mimiko said access to these opportunities can be a lifeline to many of the disadvantaged youths in the continent.
According to him, like other sectors of the African economy however, the digital economy too faces the same critical skills gap between supply and demand that defines the broader labour market, adding that “the current reality is that there are higher potential youths entering the workforce each year than there are new digital jobs being created.”