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Opportunities Of E-Governance In Nigeria

EX-Commissioner of education, Mr. Kola young (left) Mr. Emotu Onimowo(right)

Electronic governance or e-governance is the use of emerging information and communication technologies (ICT) to facilitate the processes of government and public administration.

According to IGI Global publishers, it is about providing citizens with the ability to choose the manner in which they wish to interact with their governments. And it is about the choices governments make about how ICT will be deployed to support citizen choices.

During an interview session with Mr. Kola young, the EX-Commissioner of education, Osun state, PNEWS reports. Asked in a PNEWS interview how can Government leverage on Digital infrastructure in order to add value to the citizens, the commissioner said: ‘Government should pursue policies that are inclusive and ensure no one is left behind. Digital access should be available, accessible and affordable to every citizen of the country’.

Mr. Kola young was elated on the subject by Emotu Onimowo during the interview for PNEWS. He also asked, with your entrepreneurial experience, how have your products enhanced education for students with the e-tutor platform. Mr. Kola said: ‘e-tutor offered the first world class, self tutoring, multimedia education software covering the West African curriculum comprehensively. e-tutor recognized that every child is unique and provided voice, text and interactive interfaces to suit different needs. e-tutor was accessible off line and online and made learning fun’.

Mr. Emotu finally asked, what strategy do you think future educators need to employ to create the best digital platform for African citizens & Governance.

Mr. Kola replied: ‘best digital platforms need to domesticate education and make it relevant to the citizens and his/her environment. Also leadership and technology should be the core for African education that will solve real challenges across Africa’.

It was a great pleasure to have short interview with the EX-Commissioner of education, Osun state, Nigeria.

E- governance helps in collection of data, management of information to help meet needs of citizens, allowing public documents, certificates and license requested and attainable online, it encourages E – democracy for citizens to have decisions making online, eliminates time & space constraints and a lot more comes with this benefit.

 E- Governance is vital for the economy development, the government and citizens as all will benefit from the implementation in the country. E- Governance will serve varieties at different ends, as it will help in improving interactions between business and industries, citizens’ empowerment, with easy access to information. Furthermore, e- Governance helps to improve governmental services provided to empowering her citizens, from Health, transportation, tax, voting, and efficient government management etc.

Estonia, Denmark and Republic Korea are well known for E- Governance and they are their fore vision to introducing smart cities, but in some part of the world especially Africa, the adoption of E-Governance is not encouraging in developing these smart cities they envisioned for Africa and her states.

Africans have massive benefits to gain from E- Governance. Nigeria being it largest population of over 210 million population with mostly youth and women, is yet to fully adopt E-Governance and enjoy the many benefit from it.  In conversations I once had with venture capitalist from the United states -Silicon Valley,  Deans at European universities, about investing and development in Africa, Nigeria in particular. At the end of these conversations, there is one thing in common the interviewers, they do not have idea of the governing system and challenges Nigerians face daily. Some came to Nigeria to see for themselves the reality and were baffled at the harsh circumstances Nigerians face, this is a totally different perception of what they thought, read or heard about Nigeria.

What are the challenges in reality that denies these opportunities Nigeria has to benefit from fully adopting E-governance;

  1. Poor Power supply

Poor power supply has been the one of the major hindrances to technological advancement in Nigeria. The adoption and full implementation of E- governance has been crippled by constant lack of power supply which has wreaked, crippled lots of businesses, internet usage & conformability at homes.

With a population exceeding 200 million, Nigeria aims an ambitious 20,000Mega Watts of power generation by the year 2020. Nigeria’s current power capacity, estimated at approximately 6,000 MegaWatts, is inadequate to meet the unsuppressed demand estimated at approximately 15,000 MW.  According to World Bank Report, only about 55% of the population currently have access to electricity; and for that segment of the population, only 28% of its needs are currently met. Meeting the generation targets set for 2022 requires substantial private-sector investment.

In September, 2019, a European competition shortlisted Fashina Zainab Ololade for the finals pitch into an accelerator that would reward her €50,000 (over N23 million naira), she was over joyed and had turned on her generator to back up her power supply incase electricity shuts down as usual and she didn’t have to rely on power supply and had her full internet active and ready to go.

She was marveled to have qualified after she scaled through the finals. She had prepared her pitch practiced endlessly and over prepared. She even assured her interviewers that her internet connection was good as the interview was about to commence. unfortunately, Global com, her internet service provider (ISP), had a different plan for her, she couldn’t be heard out of 10 competitors from all over Africa and Europe, 3 Nigerians weren’t either connecting or the internet affected their pitches and this cut off their chances towards winning the finals.

This was really painful for my close neighbour Zainab as we as Nigerians can relate to how slow or poor Nigerian internet network can be of times, the internet situation in Urban cities can be this way, now much-less of the rural area. These are the realities Africans face from different angles of realities and slow down the benefits from, E- Governance, business opportunities in Nigeria and the likes, this story takes us to the second most challenging circumstance in the country (Poor Internet Supply).

2. Poor Internet Speed

Down by a place, Nigeria ranked 82nd in the world among 110 countries — the highest in West Africa — on the 2021 Digital Quality of Life Index, a global digital well-being study conducted by Surfshark, an Amsterdam-based cybersecurity firm.

Nigeria has a booming digital market with about 101.7 million, or 48 per cent, of Nigerians relying on their smartphones for streaming and financial transactions in 2021, a figure projected to grow to 59.7 per cent by 2026.

Between January and August of 2020 alone, e-payments reached over N783.2 trillion from over five billion transactions, according to Nigeria’s central bank.

Despite this surge in traffic, fixed-broadband penetration in Nigeria remains sluggish.

Meanwhile, in August, China Mobile, Facebook and MTN pledged to roll out a 37,000 km transatlantic internet cable network that would improve the quantity and speed of internet access and link Nigeria as well as other African countries with Asia and Europe.

3. Infrastructure deficit in rural areas

The research lead at Surfshark, Agneska Sablovskaja says Nigeria’s current infrastructure like masts was planned for 2G and 3G networks, they cannot handle the upgrade to 4G network, Daniel Samuels, the chief technical officer at Xigma, an Edo State-based space science, robotics and AI firm, said.

He attributed the erratic network to poor infrastructure by the main ISPs, saying investment in electronic infrastructure is needed to bolster broadband penetration and speed.

Do you know?  only 17% of the rural areas have access to internet facilities compared to the urban areas which is 79% due to low level of education and transportation, yet the internet usage in total is about 40 % in urban areas where 60% of the rural aren’t active.

4. low or Zero IT skills of government workers

In an interview with the director of ICT in Nigeria, he highlighted the fact that majority of government staff in the ministry lack required level of knowledge in the ICT to carry out task for effective governance.

5. Poor educational system.

This is one of the major problems hindering the full implementation of E-governance in Nigeria. The poor educational system has led many school children dropout end up becoming internet fraudster, and crippling economic development in the country.

These are the major problems hindering the success for E- governance. But in every problem, there are solutions. Therefore, what are the solutions and benefit to be derived once these challenges faced by Nigerians keep occurring?

  1. Provide constant power supply

In a country most populated with youth and women, it’s high time the government start encouraging citizens with business ideas that can solve majorly power supply. A 26-year-old secondary school graduate, Emeka Nelson, may just be on track to becoming a big household name in Nigeria after he recently invented a generator that runs on Water, “ Water “ this has eliminated over 80% of air pollution by generators running on fuel daily in Nigeria. Nobel prizes and multiple mega prizes should encourage innovative and solution driven ideas that e- governance can easily adapt, utilise to solve and rapidly improve the economy.

2. Improve the educational sector

To have a successful implementation and adoption of E-governance in Nigeria, it is imperative that education is given full attention, encouraging and motivating teachers training and development which is instrumental in ensuring teachers delivers the right set of values to their learners. Also, individuals especially youth and women should be encourage and trained effectively on high IT skill to be able to eliminate fraud activities, inspire innovative entrepreneurs that solve real African challenges.

Finally, policies that support technology advancement and entrepreneurship should be implemented, as this will help in massive job creation in tech, therefore, Nigeria can be a highly tech driven Nation. This can create a massive tech boom in the nation most especially in solving real African challenges, then Africa will become the prosperous Nation it has always decided to be.

The Time for Nigeria, Africa is now and we are the future now!

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