Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu has stated that the only way the country can come to parity with the developed world is through Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
The Governor stated this while speaking at the National Information Technology Merit Awards organised by the Nigeria Computer Society held, on Thursday, at the MUSON Centre, Onikan, Lagos.
Sanwo-Olu, represented at the event by his deputy, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, noted that Science and Technology remain key enablers that have continued to redefine the way people live and think, stressing that they are the bedrock of social integration and harmony for multiple applications that solve or enhance the art.
Speaking further, the Governor gave an assurance that his administration’s plan to fully transform the State into a 21st Century compliant smart city is fully on course, adding that the ongoing Metropolitan Fibre Network Cables and Broadband Infrastructure across the State is part of the comprehensive programme aimed at driving Lagos into a 24-hour Economy.
He said the Unified Metro Fibre Project is a multi-year Smart City programme in which the government is installing 6,000-kilometre fibre optic cables across the State in two phases.
His words: “In the first phase, which started last year, 3,000km of fibre optic cables are being rolled out within the metropolis. The high-speed Internet connectivity that will result from the metro-network cables would be used at homes, schools, healthcare facilities and government offices for improved service delivery. The infrastructure would also boost e-commerce activities and empower innovation start-ups”.
Sanwo-Olu further revealed that in line with the vision of transforming Lagos into a 21st-century economy, his administration in 2019, set up, a N250 million Lagos State Science, Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) seed fund, for investment in research and development for tech-focused solutions across the six pillars of the development agenda, while the first set of 50 beneficiaries of the seed fund in the fields of innovation, research and STEM were empowered with N100 million grants.
The Governor, who listed other numerous efforts by his administration to further achieve the Smart City agenda to include the introduction of 4.4.2 fingerprint capturing process by the Lagos State Residents Registration Agency (LASSRA), the Art of Technology (AOT); ‘Start-up Lagos’ and the open-source initiative, said his administration will continue to push forward in collaboration with key stakeholders and organisations, including the NCS.
He stated that his government remains committed to releasing and turbocharging the nascent problem-solving potential through innovations in science and technology, commending the Nigeria Computer Society for organising the annual award that has continued to provide an opportunity for stakeholders and key players in the ICT industry to interact and share ideas.
Earlier in his welcome address, the President of the Nigeria Computer Society, Prof. Adesina Sodiya, stated that the organisation will continue to be the foremost and number one IT professional association in the country and Africa’s largest IT society.
He added that with about 15,000 members spread across all sectors of the economy, NCS has continued to expand and grow in might and relevance.
The President, therefore, called on non-NCS members, who are IT practitioners, to join the membership train of the society.
The highlight of the event was the conferment of the Professional Fellowship award of the Nigeria Computer Society on the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat and the Commissioner for Science and Technology, Mr. Hakeem Fahm, among others.