The greatest resource a city has, and indeed any government have is its citizen, says Professor Yemi Osibanjo, the acting President.
This, the Acting President said, was part of reasons the federal executive council (FEC) approved Ministry of Communication’s proposal for the establishment of ICT University.
He said the Government’s desire has been to grow more informed and smarter citizens and for their involvement in government activities and decision-making.
Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was speaking as special guest of Honour at the 2017 Smart Cities Summit Nigeria held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, stressing that the present administration under the leadership of His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, is focused on transforming the country into a knowledge based economy as part of the objective of the Ministry of Communications’ ICT Roadmap and component of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP 2017-2020) of the Federal Government.
“Particularly,” he said, “the Federal Executive Council has just given approval for the establishment of the ICT University of Nigeria across the geo-political zones in the country. Our expectation is that giving its mandate, the university would bridge this knowledge and skill-set gap towards our march to a knowledge based economy in Nigeria”.
The Acting President said that the journey towards smart cities development is a collective effort.
“It is a thought-out, purpose driven, well-articulated concerted effort; driven by implementable and measurable road maps, with the buy-ins of all sectors of government and especially the state governments.
“It starts with start-ups! Small start-ups whether hidden in basements in Kaduna, or small group of friends working in a park somewhere in Enugu, or in the busy streets of Lagos. That was why in 2016 and early this year, my office wand the Ministry of Communication hosted a pitch & win start-ups competition to discover new talents and help incubate start-ups to stardom.
“I am particularly excited having just heard from the Honourable Minister of Communications keynote address that his Ministry working in collaboration with her partners are planning to introduce a ‘Smart City Challenge’ across the country.
“It is arguable that smart city is already happening around us, but not in the way anticipated. The smart city discourse may have been shifted by academics in order to make proposals that produce realistic transitions in cities and avoid a narrowly portrayed approach to governance and urbanization processes.
“Regarding the uneven techno-deterministically driven society, surprisingly, it is a society that seems to embrace ICTs enthusiastically as the key component of the infrastructure of modern cities and their internal governance strategies”, he said.
According to a report from Navigant Research, the global smart city technology market is expected to grow from $10 billion annually in 2016 to more than $30.5 billion by 2020.
“I can argue therefore that this mainstream wave of urban standardization concerning the smart city paradigm will dominate policy agendas in this summit.
“A true smart city should be focused on better service delivery, improved municipal services, enhancement in infrastructure, and utilizing real-time monitoring systems for the advancement of all citizens.
“The smart city concept offers different opportunities for different countries. The immediate need for cities in developing countries is to provide sufficient urban infrastructure to meet the increasing rate of urbanization. In the process of meeting infrastructure needs, smart infrastructure applications provide a way for such cities to achieve leapfrogging in technology.
“Smart cities rely on technology and use the large amount of data their citizens generate every second to optimize resources, to connect people and to improve business and trading”, he added.
He said, therefore, the smart city project needs to be designed wisely, considering the local population as the key point, adding that, as a nation, the country is determined to progress taking our entire citizen along, irrespective of class differences, and catering to everyone’s need equally.