Soludo: Setting Anambra Up as Tech Hub of the South

David-ChyddyEleke reports that Governor ChukwumaSoludo of Anambra state is turning the state to a technology hub that will service the southern part of the country and rival Lagos’ Computer Village.

Joe Ifeizu is a journalist in Anambra State, and Managing Editor of The Razor Newspaper, a publication that exclusively reports Anambra news, shared a recent challenge about running the company’s website.

He said: “Our site engineer is a Lagos based web designer, sometimes, when we want a new software to develop our site and make it more user friendly, or even installing any application, we have to reach out to people in Lagos. I and my team usually wish that we have people around who can help us with such things, but truth is that Anambra and the South East, and by extension the entire Southern part of the country do not have a tech hub where you can find personalities that can be of help in matters like this.”

Ifeizu made the complaint, during a meeting of the leadership of the management of Anambra ICT Agency and some journalists in the state.

In reply, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Anambra State ICT Agency, ChukwuemekaAgbata replied: “I can feel your plight, but I can also tell you that soon, stories like this will be a thing of the past. Anambra State governor, Prof ChukwumaSoludo, is intentionally setting Anambra up as a tech hub in the South East. The nearest you can find a tech hub here is Asaba in Delta State, but what we are trying to do is something that will make not just Anambra State government a tech-driven state, but Anambra people too, civil servants, even you journalists working in this state will key into what we are creating. We want to digitize the state.”

Those may sound like promises from politicians, which never gets fulfilled, but Soludo has continued to ensure that the frontiers of ICT in the state are pushed.

Using the youthful Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Anambra ICT Agency, MrAgbata, Soludo has brought lots of innovation in governance, including an e-ID card project that would stop impersonation, trainings and setting up youths in the state through his Solution Innovation District, digitizing motor registration and tax collection in the state, and distribution of laptops to head teachers and principals of public schools in the state, among others.

Soludo has also inaugurated the Solution Innovation District located in the Innovation district which is a one-stop shop for youths in the areas of services and innovation, was established to provide training, incubation, and access to internet for youths with steady power supply.

The Governor has also trained and empowered 20,000 Anambra youths for the acquisition of various digital skills online.

The training was done in collaboration with Microsoft and Wootlab Foundation, who partnered with the state government.

Soludo during the event was resolute about where he was driving Anambra to. He said: “The world may be going east or west, but Nigeria must go through necessary disruptive changes. The removal of subsidy and floating of exchange rate are just some of these changes. It is quite auspicious that we are opening this district at this critical time.

“Our greatest resource is our human capital, and we want to mine it to its infinite elasticity. Only those who can see tomorrow, only those who plan and work towards it, can control the future. I ask our youths to look up to opportunities in these ongoing disruptive changes.

“In a digital age, human capital appreciates with continuous usage. We must keep on innovating and acquiring multiple scalable skills to control the future.

“We want the youths and children of NdiAnambra to be prepared for this future. Invention, innovation, and technology. We must focus on tomorrow. The old order is gone, so let’s not cry to bring it back.

We are empowering and training our youths to control the future and become champions of the world. Technology is our mantra.

We want to get technology to become our culture. Everything technology and technology everywhere! The criminals that cause nuisance in our society cannot define us. They are completely insignificant,” the Governor stressed.

Also, Soludo using the Anambra State ICT Agency had last year migrated from physical and identity  card to an electronic ID card  for civil servants, to curb impersonation.

During the launch, the State Head of Service, Mrs Theodora Igwegbe said: “This scheme can significantly enhance service delivery for Anambra State civil servants. By digitizing identification processes, civil servants can access government services more conveniently, reducing paperwork and minimizing the need for physical presence.

“This digital transformation empowers civil servants to engage in online training, access relevant resources, and collaborate remotely, thereby facilitating professional development and fostering knowledge-sharing within the civil service. Moreover, streamlined processes and faster turnaround times result in improved public service delivery, ultimately benefiting the citizens of Anambra State.”

Soludo is not relenting with ensuring that Anambra becomes the next technology hub in the country.

Recently as part of his administration’s agenda to engender effective service delivery and deepen the mantra of everything technology and technology everywhere, Anambra State government distributed 2,000 Laptops  to Head Teachers, Principals of public schools and public/mission schools in the state for efficient service delivery.

Performing the function at the International Convention Center (ICC) Awka, Governor Soludo, highlighted the pivotal role and contributions of teachers in moulding the future of students in  Anambra State.

Soludo who remarked that the state is doing comparatively well within Nigeria, emphasized the need for schools in the state to strive to be  compared with the countries of the world where education is at it’s peak.

The Governor noted that due to his administration’s priority on education, resources and infrastructure are being channelled into the sector with the aim of producing smart schools. He also reiterated call for partnership with the private sector individuals. He stressed on the need for qualitative teaching and learning, assuring that his government will continue to ensure teachers go through basic trainings that will make them competitive at home and exportable abroad.

The state workforce is not the only sector undergoing the ICT revolution. Recently, the state ICT Agency has held series of trainings for journalists. The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the agency, Agbata said: “As we strive to digitize the state, we do not want to leave information managers behind. So, we have organized series of trainings for journalists, to bring them up to speed in what is happening in the tech world.

In one of the training for journalists on Artificial Intelligence, Agbata said: “I encourage journalists to maximize the use of trainings like this to increase their knowledge of ICT so as to improve their works. We believe so much in the vision of Mr. Governor that everything in the state must have a touch of technology and technology must be seen in everything. The ICT agency will be available to follow up the trainees, and be sure that the knowledge garnered is well internalized and deployed to make their works better.”

The training featured sessions on use of modern media and productivity tools, use of Artificial Intelligence for content creation and personal digital assistance. The training which is the first batch in the series, also featured practical sessions where media professionals worked with some modern media tools, as well as provided opportunity for them to ask questions and get responses on grey areas of such digital tools.

The State ICT Agency also recently held a inaugural hybrid ICT Policy Stakeholders’ Engagement Workshop. The workshop aims to assemble key stakeholders from diverse fields to share from their wealth of experience, knowledge and ideas, towards the development and subsequent validation of the State ICT policy framework.

Agbata, in an interview said the agency has developed a draft ICT Policy as a road map to the implementation of ‘Everything Technology and Technology Everywhere’ in the state. He said: “This landmark engagement signposts Governor Soludo’s innovative leadership and goal to make Anambra the digital and creative capital of Nigeria, by creating an environment that is suitable for the growth and development of the ICT sector.  The policy is intended to serve as a compass for all ICT-related initiatives, following Mr. Governor’s approval, providing a clear blueprint to building a digitally inclusive, innovative, and smart Anambra.”

Agbata while interacting with THISDAY said the agency is purposefully setting Anambra up as a technology hub in the South East. “We want to build not just a replica of the Lagos Computer village in Anambra, but we want Anambra to be the next Silicon Valley of Nigeria and Africa. We have trained enough youths to do this, and hubs are springing up. Mr Governor is intentionally doing this, and you may be aware that there is free wifi in diverse places in Anambra to encourage this tech culture.”

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