The Nigerian government and other stakeholders have expressed strong optimism in the country’s future and ability of young Nigerians to build a future that will benefit all citizens.
Top government functionaries and industry leaders while speaking at the first ever Nigeria Teen Cyber Festival: ngTeenCyberFest 2021, shared a consensual belief that through digital empowerment and early exposure to the power of science and technology, young Nigerians could foster a future of shared prosperity among the country’s over 200 million people irrespective of cultural, religious or other differences.
The Teen Cyberfest, organised by Jos based CC-Pro with the theme: ‘Harnessing the Power of Young People Online in the Digital Age,’ held as part of the activities to celebrate the International Children’s Day.
“We do not deny the fact that there are miscreants online. But the majority of people, young Nigerians, are leveraging the internet to do positive things and build a magnificent future for everyone,” said Director General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kachifu Inuwa Abdullahi in a short presentation on “NITDA’s Policy as an affirmation that Future is Youth, Technology & Innovation – And Future’s now.”
According to Abdullahi, NITDA in line with the goals of the government build a prosperous Nigeria, remains committed to digital empowerment of young people, encouraging their capacity to innovate and provide solutions that address local as well as global challenges
For Director General, National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), Jelani Aliyu, “Nigeria is in the race together with the rest of the world and this race is being run on the backs of eagles. Nigeria cannot afford to do it on the back of anything less, neither hawk nor falcon. We must move as fast as any other nation on earth. This is the digital era with an amazing array of tools and solutions that can exemplify the capacity and magnify the talents of almost anybody. It is very important that Nigerian kids and youths leverage these amazing technologies in making themselves better and adding values to their society.”
In his presentation, the globally renowned inventor of the Chevy Volt, who now leads Nigeria’s automotive vision, urged young people to be selective in who they associate with online and what information they access.
It is important that what young people are doing online are geared towards nation-building, said the NADDC’s boss in his preservation “Imagine it, Innovate it. Design it. Cyberspace and youths.”
Managing Director, Nigerian Communication Satellite Ltd (NIGCOMSAT), Dr Abimbola Alale stressed the value that young people continuously bring to advancing the frontiers of development in any society including Nigeria. She said the satellite company is committed to skill development particularly for young people in the communication satellite industry.
According to her, one of the windows NIGCOMSAT uses to encourage interest by young people in space and satellite technology is the ACTINSPACE Innovation contest which draws participation from across the world. She urged young Nigerians to fully participate in the programme.
She said digital empowerment for the girl-child is important to erase gender divide and open opportunities to all young people in her presentation: “The Internet can make a better You – In the Internet Age, Gender is Not a Disadvantage.”
In his own submission, Officer in Charge, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Multisectoral Regional Office, Mamadou Lamin Sow, said the UN body is firmly committed to encouraging all stakeholders across countries and sectors to positively grow the potential of young people.
His presentation: “Cyberspace as a Vast New World to making a Better World of Education, Science and Cultures for Young People” focused on making people active drivers in nation building by leveraging cultures, science and techno0logy positively.
Also speaking during the Teen Cyberfest, President of the Africa Digital Economy Forum (ADEF), Olusola Teniola, urged young people to focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), as the primacy steps to begin their journey in a world that is increasingly becoming digital.
Over four hundred people drawn majorly from more than 30 schools attended the event.
The CyberTeen fire chats on: ‘Can the Internet Make a Better Teen; Make Things Better for Teens? Opportunities and Challenges in Cyberspace’ featured an array of young speakers from across the country.
“The event was conceived as a rallying point for all stakeholders including young people to discuss the future of Nigeria from the tech or cyber perspective of more than 60% of the segment that make up the over 200 million people in Nigeria,” said CEO/Co-Founder CC-Pro, Delmwa Gogwim and convener of the ngTeenCyberFest 2021.
The first Teen Cyberfest was supported by UNESCO, NITDA, NADDC, and NIGCOSAT. The event was powered by Zinox Technologies, Smartweb Limited, Konn3ct and Qitech Limited as Digital Partners. The media partners include TechEconomy,ng and IT Edge News.ng