Science Agenda for Delta Will Bridge Digital Divide, Says Okowa

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Emma Okonji

Governor of Delta State, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa has stressed the need for state governments to develop science agenda that will bridge learning gaps.

The governor gave the advice in Asaba, Delta State, while receiving certificate of eGovernance from the Delta State Innovation Hub (DS-IHUB), a private sector initiative, designed to train Nigerians on computer skills.

According to Okowa, “In driving the state’s economy, we are developing innovation and science agenda as a key component in bridging the huge gap and deficiencies in our education, health, industry, entertainment, governance, social and state security systems.”

He said the state aims to achieve this through a Private-Public-Partnership model strategy on innovation development.

“In this regards, we have resolved to partner Mobile Software Solutions Limited, a renowned content solutions provider in the Information and Communications Technology industry and the winner of World Summit Award 2014 for Africa Best Mobile Content Developer in the Life-Style and Entertainment category,” he said.

Delta State Innovation Hub – DS-IHUB, the governor said, could attain noble heights if they put our minds to work.

“In moving this project forward, we will rely on the support and patronage of Delta State citizens at home and in the diaspora, entrepreneurs, the academia, students, industry leaders, stakeholders, and indeed, all friends of Delta State, to ensure that this enviable knowledge venture is not only successful, but significantly beneficial to all concerned and sustainable for generations yet unborn.

“We realise that our success story will be dependent on how much support and partnership we get. We must pay glowing tributes as a State to Zenith Bank Plc, for donating the DS-HUB complex, and look forward to partnership with as many that may wish to develop positive minds for our greater tomorrow,” Okowa said.

He made history when he recently became the first state governor in the federal republic of Nigeria to acquire the e-Government certification.

In line with Global standards, 21st century leadership and governance is incomplete, inadequate and indeed unproductive without digital proficiency in e-Government process certification.
Global assumptions on the emerging information society (IS), point to the fact that the ICT Policy and e-Government domain will be the main battle field for 21st Century globalisation, democratic government and national survivability. This “paradigm shift” makes the education of future leaders, of high priority and a strategic imperative for all nations – as we approach the critical path of the 21st century.

Director General of DS-IHUB, Mr. Chris Uwaje said the e-Government Leadership Certificate Programme for the political class is designed to assist policy and decision makers achieve a dynamic and positive solution to crisis-prone challenges in governance. He said the certification is based on UNESCO advisory standards.

“According to UNESCO, ‘Government’ refers to the exercise of political, economic and administrative authority in the management of a country’s affairs, including the articulation of citizens’ interests and the exercise of their legal rights and obligations. UNESCO ‘e-Government’ should therefore be understood as the art of implementing governance by adopting, deploying and applying Information and Communications Technology to enhance productivity and effective performance – using electronic media facilities and devices to accelerate the efficient, speedy and transparent delivery of information content and data to business sector, the public and other agencies, and above all, for carrying out government-to-government administrative activities,” Uwaje said.

According to him, e-Government is therefore a new way of formulating, organising and implementing decisions and policies relating to administration, services, public inclusion, participation and citizens safety using ICT as a tool for building trust in governments and improved transparency and service delivery.

“e-Government Certificate Training at Delta State Innovation Hub is a facility for world class e-Government certification training. In order to accelerate the speedy access and diffusion of the benefits of the knowledge economy, it has become critical for both federal and state governments – through the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) – to make e-Government Certification process mandatory for all current and intending policy makers, civil servants in ministries, departments and agencies of government (MDAs) and others,” Uwaje said.