Mary Nnah

Winners have emerged at the recently held Nigerian Online Merit Awards (NiOMA) and they include Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State, who won the e-Governor of the Year; Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, who won the Best State Website of the year, and Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State, who won the State Innovative e-project of the Year.

At the event, which held in Lagos, other winners include the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which emerged as the best MDA website of the year; ICT Icon of the year went to Mr. Leo Stan Ekeh of the Zinox Group, and minister of the year was won by Dr. Adebayo Shittu, while Fidelity, Zenith and Access Banks won the Bank Websites of the Year.

Before the nominees were selected, considerations like inter-activeness, traffic, design, best use of social media, content and best use of photographs were the concerns. The eight categories in this maiden edition included Best Newspaper Website of the Year which went to Guardian, Vanguard and Daily Trust in Gold, Silver and bronze categories, respectively.

The event set out to recognise and celebrate remarkable individuals, institutions and corporates who are key drivers in the Nigerian Online revolution.

The initiator of the NiOMA award, Mr. Isaac Umunnah, who also is the publisher of News Express Online Newspaper, Economy Watch Online Daily, Daily Sports Online Newspaper and NiOMA Infotech Trends, said the award was aimed to celebrate the key drivers of Nigeria’s online revolution.

He said the objective of the award is to foster the growth and development of the online platform for the promotion of businesses, adding, “NiOMA presents a lot of marketing and business opportunities for discerning corporates wishing to derive optimum benefits from this gathering of industry leaders and Nigerian media”.
Former NCC Executive Director, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, who was chairman at the award, event described ICT as the backbone of infrastructure due to the indispensable services it renders.

While stating that ICT rules the world, he wondered why it was difficult to be accepted by the Nigerian government.
“It was a tug of war getting our state governors and top government functionaries to embrace ICT then, though a few have embraced the knowledge. How amazing for the revolution which started a few years ago,” he said.

Speaking further, Ndukwe said ICT poses a challenge for us to harness the potentials of the ruling technology, adding that a country like Nigeria by now should have been laced with the optic fibre infrastructure.
In the same vein, digital entrepreneur, Ekeh, who was also an award winner, , decried the struggling nature of the ICT in Nigeria, adding that only technology can solve the problem in Africa.

Speaking as guest speaker on the topic, “How can we leverage the internet revolution to leapfrog Nigeria development”, Ekeh said, “Millions of Nigerian youths nurse big dreams and have the capacity to prosper in a futuristic economy that is technology-driven but needs government support in terms of structured capital and tax concession during their teething period.”

Ekeh who stressed that there was virtually nothing we do today without the influence of technology; be it election, transport system (UBER), electricity, homes and other institutions, said, “I launched the digital revolution 30-32years ago and research has shown that Nigeria has not fully embraced the ICT”.

He said globally, technology has become the driving force behind the fortunes of many nations, citing that the 10 richest men in the world and the biggest companies in the world are found in the technology sector.
“This is a reality that shows how technology remains the only profession that can make the son of a poorest man be the richest man in the world,” he added.