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Other sides of information technology

The importance of information technology has again been stressed in an emerging economy. This position is premised on the reality that in today’s world, information technology usage cuts across virtually all fields of human endeavours such as medicine, aeronautics, banking, law, architecture and farming, to mention a few.

It is on this premise that the President, Abeokuta Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Sir Jare Oyesola, appealed to Nigerian youths to develop useful skills in ethical hacking, computer security, coding, data analysis, and block chain technology in innovation hubs. He spoke on the topic, ’Technopreneurship in the Age of Global Citizenship’, at a public discourse in Abeokuta, Ogun state. Oyesola condemned the societal mismanagement of digital culture, stating that Nigerian youths had been stereotyped and often misunderstood when they are coding for international companies.

According to him, “I cannot, but talk about the societal mismanagement of digital culture, which is often called yahoo-yahoo (Internet fraud). Our youths have been stereotyped and often misunderstood when they are coding for international companies. Our policy holders, law enforcement agents and society, as a result of lack of understanding and cultural conflict, often mistake such that any youth with laptops are tagged as criminals when they lack the tools of investigation and sufficient knowledge to identify one”.

He advised that rather than being labelled as criminals, many of the youths should be re-oriented, even if they had misused the tools and their skills redirected after positive outcomes, noting that any tool, including the cutlass, could be used for good or bad purposes.

He further harped on the need for universities and private sectors to create innovation hubs for young graduates in order to allow them to adequately explore their ideas.

Oyesola, however, challenged students and Nigerian youths in general to create wealth for themselves and avoid depending on others so as to be celebrated as heroes of the global economy. This independence is vital to enable young people exhibit their talents optimally for the benefit of society. Not only that, our youths constitute a significant percentage of the population such that, if their potentials are not maximised, then the level of manpower productivity would not be impactful.

Similarly, there vital link between agriculture and artificial intelligence has been highlighted. This piece of information was given by the Co-founder and Global Director of BudgiT, Nigeria’s leading civil organisation, Oluseun Onigbinde, during a his presentation on the state of the nation’s economy. Onigbinde said that the world is now at a convergence point where soil scientists, nutritionists, extension workers and animal experts may have to learn coding, machine language, and other tools in order to belong to the emerging agri-conomy. This reality comes to play because over the years, agriculture was relegated to the background as a means of foreign exchange earning for the country that is in dire need for transformation for the good of the nation and that of the citizenry.

Onigbide spoke on ‘Leading Agritech Revolution: The Role of Big Data, Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain in Agri-conomy’ in Abeokuta. According to him, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is transforming various industries, and agriculture is no exception, adding that the use of AI in agriculture had increased in recent years, bringing about significant improvements in the industry’s efficiency and productivity. He explained that “it is essential to ensure that big data is collected, stored, and analysed responsibly and appropriately to protect individual’s privacy and prevent data misuse”, noting that blockchain could help small farmers access financing and reduce the risk of fraud.

Another speaker, Femi Adekoya, popularly called the Flying Farmer and Founder, Integrated Aerial Precision and Precision Field Academy, has charged educational institutions to incorporate drone technology into their curriculum, establish drone training centre, promote collaboration, between the university and industry partners,  provide financial backing for research and development in the use of drone technology applications, and support local content in the manufacturing and assembling of agricultural drones. To bring out the best in information technology for national development, a few points are worth considering.

They include the development of useful skills in ethical hacking, computer security, coding, data analysis, and block chain technology in innovation hubs, reorientation of youths to use their skills for positive outcomes, the need for universities and private sectors to create innovation hubs for young graduates to allow them to explore their ideas better and avoid depending on others so as to be celebrated as heroes of the global economy that is fast changing in line with advanced technologies being experienced in almost every part of the world.

Other ideas are strengthening the nexus between agriculture and artificial intelligence, facilitating convergence where various experts can belong ad work together. This is because AI is capable of transforming various industries and bringing about significant improvements. On a last note, the enabling infrastructure that would promote active information technology development, investor-friendly policies, and needed legal framework should not be left behind to ensure that Nigeria is not left behind as a major player on the continent, and indeed, globally.