BY KAYODE TOKEDE
For Nigeria’s economy that has always heavily relied on petroleum products, there have been concerns over the danger this portends for the future of the country.
While it is true that a lot of what Nigeria gets out of its exports comes from the sale of its petroleum products abroad, agriculture has always contributed the greatest share of all the sectors of Nigeria’s economy to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Other sectors have grown in prominence too. Latest trends, however, show that there is another player on the block, one that threatens to displace oil as the third largest contributor to Nigeria’s GDP. That sector is Information Communication Technology (ICT).
The contribution of this sector to the country’s GDP has risen sharply from a meagre 0.5per cent in 2001 to about 11per cent in 2015. Data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) gives an insight of what the nation’s economy may look like in coming decades. The big surprise in the quarterly GDP report released by the NBS is that when we compare the contribution of the oil and gas sector to Nigeria’s GDP (10.29per cent) to the input from ICT (11.98per cent) for the first sector of 2016, we get the impression that a toppling of great significance has taken place. Oil is losing ground to ICT, and it is doing so fast.
Citing the current statistics in telecoms contribution to GDP, as released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in June 2016, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta said telecoms contribution to GDP moved from $18 billion in private sector investments, including Direct Foreign Investment (FDI) in 2009, to currently N1.58 trillion as at June 2016.
All these ICT statistics reveal one significant fact, and that fact is that ICT is the engine that will drive Nigeria’s growth and development now and in the future. This is a global trend and Nigeria cannot afford to ignore the core element of the 4th industrial revolution (ICT).
Nigeria’s quest for development should logically center around leveraging on the knowledge and benefits ICT brings to socio-economic transformation of modern societies.
The true leader Nigeria desire today must be knowledgeable in technological trends and how they shape societal growth and transformation. Former and current presidents of United States, Barack Obama and Donald Trump respectively, massively deployed technology and social media in their presidential campaigns and the outcome is there for all to see.
Nigerians are now wiser and cannot be deceived anymore.
Any aspirant to the Nigerian presidency must be young, vibrant, intelligent, and technologically-driven individual with strong entrepreneurial flair. The aspirant must be abreast of social, economic and political challenges facing Nigeria today and must have ready-made proposals in the form of manifesto to counter these challenges.
There are very few young and patriotic Nigerians that fit into our ideal leader possessing the qualities enumerated earlier. But there is one that calls for a closer look, judging from what we have been reading from the media and some of his videos on the social media. This young man is Mr. Adamu Garba.
The name “Adamu J.B. Garba” might sound strange to average Nigerians and those in the political arena but to those in the Information and Communication Technology world, he has contributed enormously to the Nation’s Economic Development, most especially in the Information Entrepreneurship space where he has been advocating true youth empowerment.
Mr. Garba is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of IPI Solutions Nigeria Ltd., a Nigerian cloud computing company based in Lagos, Nigeria.
The company is a Microsoft 1-Tier Cloud Solutions Partner (CSP). The company is also a Gold partner with Microsoft and integrates its services with the Microsoft cloud infrastructure.
The Microsoft 1-Tier Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) partnership enabled the company to extend operations in 16 African countries including Angola, Botswana, Cape Verde, Cameroun, Cote d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia.
Based on the Microsoft CSP partnership and using the Microsoft cloud platform, IPI Solutions developed an ordering portal for Microsoft cloud products. The portal is the first comprehensive self-service ordering platform for Microsoft Cloud products in Nigeriaand these capabilities earned the company several international awards and recognitions.
He intends to replicate this outstanding achievement in business to the national socio-economic development space by contesting to lead this great nation as the president come 2019. Not affiliated to any political party, Garba demonstrates the attributes of a true leader with a sincere passion to further improve the existence of Nigeria economy with its great endowment. A detribalized Nigerian, he is focused on transforming the country into a higher developmentpedestal that will ensure Nigeria plays a convincing role in the 4th industrial revolution.
From his utterances, the young Garba is strong-willed, intelligent and backed with a strong emotional balance, those areattributes obtainable of a visionary leader. These strong and rare qualities are what Nigerians should consider before making their choice in 2019.
The major concern in the country today is that the scheme of things has limited our options for the presidency come 2019. We have been consigned to choose from either the ruling APC or the opposition PDP. Neither of these two parties will give us the best choice to transform this country to a promising future. This is so because we are stocked with the same old politicians recycling themselves since the first republic. These two parties, for instance have dominated the political space since the fourth democratic dispensation which started in 1999. But there is a viable alternative this time around, progressive and technology-driven youths such as Adamu Garba II can take up the mantle of leadership. The choice is left for Nigerian to make.
Information available suggests that Garba’s candidacy is unique in that the 35 years old entrepreneur has been planning for the presidency 10 years ago. In one of the interviews he was quoted as having indulged in the habit of reading books written by successful world leaders on the workable strategies applied to transform their societies.
This is so evident in the perfectly packaged policies geared to launch Nigeria in the socio-economic leadership quadrant. The proposed social and economic policy contained in his manifesto is quite innovative,in that there is organic link between source and application of resources for infrastructural development.What we currently need to develop this country is a resourceful and desirable young leader that will challenge the political stereotype and move away from the ideological dearth being paraded today as democratic setting.
In one of his recent interviews with the media, the IPI Nigeria Ltd founder explained some aspect of his proposed socio-economic policy. If given the mandate, he promised to build his economic reform around “Economic Zones” in place of the current “Political Zones”. The “economics zones” approach is a strategic formulation that will drive sustainable economic growth and development for the country.
Garba’s candidacy started as a speculation that he had volunteered to lead Nigeria in “this journey of salvaging this country from past mis-governance and set it in the path of sustainable development as its President come 2019.”
Until his formal announcement to contest in the 2019 presidential election, Garba remains champion in the ICT world, backed with several awards and global recognitions.
Should a young leader be given the mandate to lead this country in 2019, Nigeria will be proud to join the league of progressive nations who have rightly entrusted the leadership of their countries in the hands of vibrant, innovative, progressive and technology-driven youths.
France, Austria, New Zealand and others have recognized the leading role of youths in modern-day governance and transformation of society, and have taken the right decision accordingly.
Who is Adamu Garba II? Is he a patriotic leader? Does he know the challenges Nigeria is facing as a nation where ethnicity, corruption, nepotism and religious bigotry have eaten dip into our togetherness? I am sure these questions will be answered as the political activities and campaigns unfold for the 2019 elections.
This question is only logical to the extent that true leadership derives from a patriotic love of country, passion to help the needy, solve socio-economic problems and the willingness to pursue a sacrificial path towards its greatness.
According to him, leadership and age is not a barrier but wisdom is the key to move Nigeria forward.
Speaking recently in an interview with one of the leading Newspapers in Nigeria, he highlighted his manifesto on how to improve the life of ordinary Nigerians by deliberating and committing effort to transit from poverty to prosperity.
He had vowed to transform Nigerian economy from the current supplier nation to a real free market economy; change the entire education system to skill-based knowledge and training systems and define the soul of a true Nigerian identity.
Part of his manifesto include, unleashing the power of 180 million Nigerian spirit to the world, to create great innovations and produce very successful talent pool as is obtainable in advanced countries.
He said, “I think Nigerians should start to prepare for a new Nigerian dream by our great Nigerian renaissance project where each citizen will transparently measure our government in four key metrics namely: Better education and training for our children; better standard healthcare cover for all Nigerians; better market to transact in goods and services and more money in their pocket as a result of improved trade.”
Concentration lies in the Youth involvement in politics and Mr. Garba along the line is thinking on how to involve them in its agenda, in a relationship that is expected to bring prosperous and a happy life.
He explained that, the present system as currently instituted cannot give Youth self-belief and aspiration of becoming great.
Other major concern to him include, re-orientation, healthcare delivery across the country, Education, improving on power supply via the use of Solar energy in the North and opening the water way to drive revenue generation and job creation.
In his words, “The average Nigerian is an enterprising spirit. The issue we have is identity crisis. We have different bodies and systems that define many versions of us than the one that defines us as one indivisible nation. Once a country is sunk into identity crisis, it finds it hard to realise what it truly represents and therefore be pushed into primordial sentiments such as tribal and religious identities.
In solving this crisis, we will start with the value system renaissance. The great reawakening of the Nigerian Nation. We will run a lot of re-orientation activities through different media channels using a lot of our talented artistes to sell Nigeria to Nigerians.
“We will propose a name change for the country.
We think the current name is having a bad image and a ‘sour brand’. Since we are being reborn, we may need to consensually choose a better, more fitting African kind of name for our country that will reflect our new standing and platform to unleash us to the world.
“One thing our ruling elite fail to understand is that our potential lies in our geographic location and our market size. We are named Niger-area because of river Niger, one of the longest rivers in Africa, over 2,500 miles long and it flows right through our country down to Atlantic Ocean.
“Where is river Niger today? We have about 846-mile-long shoreline around Gulf of Guinea. What are we doing with it? We left the river Niger to be drying up instead of dredging it and allowing mini vessels to transport shipments of goods and services, through the river into the hinterland at a much-reduced price. It is 8 times cheaper to transport on water than on land. This will inevitably reduce prices of items as the cost drops. Yet we focus more on building roads that have never been well done.
“We need to strengthen our naval forces with the right tools and technological capacity to ensure we have total control of our shorelines and with United States support around the entire Gulf of Guinea. Yet we focus on land army while ceding some of the shorelines to militants’ control. From Calabar to Lagos is a huge advantage to Nigerian geography with the potential to make Nigeria a sub Saharan African market center. Yet crude oil has blinded our thinking and policy choices. I am so happy to learn that even the ruling class all agree that the current patronage systems are not sustainable.”
“We will work extensively to open our market potentials. We will use oil money only to build infrastructure and not to pay salaries and state subventions,” he said.
The so-called FAAC will be discontinued under our government. With creation of special geo-economic zones in each state, we will support them to create their revenues locally and run their government.