Kwara hosts 250 tech ecosystem builders to ease govt businesses
By Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
No fewer than 250 tech ecosystem builders across Nigeria have been assembled by the Kwara state Government to develop ideas and digital skills that would address some of the problems associated with government businesses in the country and beyond.
The two-day event, which attracted participants from states like Cross Rivers, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger and Kwara, saw contestants coding all night, seeking to proffer solutions to letter and memo tracking systems; data capturing system; medical record systems for hospitals; election monitoring systems; among others.
Organised by the state-owned Ilorin Innovation Hub led by Temi Kolawole, some of the ICT talents were rewarded with monetary prizes at the end of the pitching exercise that was keenly supervised by a panel of judges.
Prominent among the participants and mentors were the Country Director, UK Nigeria Tech Hub, Justina Oha; House of Reps candidate (APC) Ilorin West/Asa Federal Constituency Hon. Mukhtar Shagaya; representative of the Director General National Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA) and Director Zonal offices of the agency Babajide Ajayi; Vice President IHS Towers Kazeem Oladepo; Memunat Monsuma; CEO Plat Technologies Ltd Engr Taofik Abdulkareem; and some government officials, including the State Commissioner for Communications Hon. Sadiq Buhari; Executive Chairman Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS) Folashade Omoniyi; Managing Director, Ilorin Innovation Hub, Temi Kolawole; Executive Chairman, State Geographic Information System (Kw-GIS) Abdulmutalib Shittu; GMD Harmony Holdings Abdulmajeed Abdullahi; and Acting GM state Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP) Abdulquowiyu Olododo, among others.
Country Director, UK Nigeria Tech Hub, Justina Oha, in her keynote address, who said e-solutions are now becoming part of the processes globally, commended the state government for going digital and for the choice of Temi Kolawole as the head of Innovation Hub, adding that the United Kingdom is interested in collaborating with Nigeria and Kwara in particular to develop an enabling tech ecosystem.
Temi, for his part, said they organised the programme to unlock some key solutions in government, and also kick-start a revolution in the way government is run in Nigeria.
He said: “We believe the government can become more efficient via adoption of technology and digital transformation. The current mode of communication in government agencies is still mostly paper-driven, which comes with several risks. We are putting this hackathon together to unlock some key solutions in government, and also kick-start a revolution in the way government is run in Nigeria, while supporting local talent.”
He said the contestants were grouped into 50 teams with each of them allocated areas of focus and identifiable problems in government businesses to solve, adding most of them are indigenes, who he said, were picked to encourage them harnessing their talents in digital space.
Other projects already put in place, according to Temi, include the garment factory online platform — a newly established firm by the Kwara state government, where he said people can order wholesales from anywhere in the world.
Memunat Monsuma – a technology expert from Edu local government of Kwara state, who spoke to the topic: “Facilitating Gender Equality on Technology”, said 89 percent of Kwara women are not IT compliant, explaining some.of the steps she has been taking to address that.
She said she has trained over 5,000 women so far about the use of the internet to enable them to meet up with the global expectations.