Danbatta Harps on Digital Skills, ICT Adoption among Youths

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Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta

Emma Okonji

The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, has appealed to Nigerian youths to take advantage of federal government’s policies on Information and Communications Technology (ICT), and embrace ICT adoption for enhanced digital skills.

He said the adoption and utilisation of ICT, would drive youth empowerment, as it transforms processes and efficiently acting as an enabler of effectiveness in operations in every sector of the economy, including commerce, agriculture, health, security and governance.

Danbatta made the appeal while delivering the 10th and 11th combined Convocation Lecture of the Fountain University at Osogbo, Osun State, at the weekend.

In his paper titled: “Empowering the Nigerian Youth though Information and Communication Technology”, Danbatta recalled the impact of ICT revolution in all parts of human endeavour across countries and continents, insisting that technology will continue to penetrate and foster qualitative and quantifiable changes in all aspects of life.

In all continents of the world, people, organisations and countries have continued to witness leaps and bounds in economic, social and political activities through instrumentality of ICT, which, according to Danbatta, had meshed computing, information and communication technology to catalyse development in ways and manners humans never envisaged decades ago.

According to Danbatta, Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicle; Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate; Facebook, world’s most popular social networking platform, creates little or no content; Alibaba, a leading global retailer, has little or no inventory, yet they have become signposts of prosperity riding wholly on ICT resources.

To Danbatta, it would be a failing prophesy decades ago if anyone had said a company with no vehicle, just via an application, will control more than 75 million active commercial drivers in, at least, 80 countries. It would also be contested that through a mere app, a company will provide accommodation to millions of travellers and tourists in more than 100,000 cities of the world.

He stated that the foregoing contextual demonstrations of the possibilities of ICT explain the federal government’s policy decisions to strengthen ICT adoption in building a robust digital economy in Nigeria, expressed in the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS), 2020-2030; the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025 and other series of policies, guidelines and regulations derivative of the NDEPS and NNBP.

Given that Nigeria accounts for 82 per cent of Africa’s ICT market and 29 per cent of continental internet usage and sub-Sahara Africa being the fastest growing region for ICT adoption, the federal government, in its determination to ensure that the nation harness full benefits of ICT, instituted a broadband vision that will see Nigeria as a society of connected communities of high-speed broadband access and connectivity, Danbatta said.

In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of the University, Prof. Olalekan Sanni, described Danbatta as an accomplished academician and administrator, whose wealth of experience was considered worthy of tapping into by the university community towards proffering solutions to the issue of youth empowerment and to suggest ways for enhancing Nigeria’s socio-economic life through effective leveraging of ICT.