Seeking a date with Barrister Adebayo Shittu

Related imageCompatriots,

When I made the post¬†https://www.facebook.com/sfolayan/posts/10153513946164107¬† (also reproduced after the –cut– below). I must have displayed a high level of optimism and perhaps enthusiasm in our Minister of ICT.

The Stakeholders retreat took place a year ago, and in keeping with my promise to review things after one year, I intend to engage the honourable Minister on each and every point raised in my observations and conclusions in that post, to see where we are, where we are going and what the challenges are. If you have burning questions you will want me to ask the HM, do inbox the questions.

Please stay tuned.

–cut —

Diary of an aspiring ICT reporter. [24th January 2016]

The Hon. Minister of Communications Technology (the Oyo State man who politely parried the Boko Haram question at his Senate Screening) called for a weekend (maiden) retreat with ICT stakeholders in Nigeria. IITA Ibadan was the venue so I had no excuse but to go.

His Permanent Secretary, the Communications and ICT related Committee Chairs and Vice Chairs in the Senate and House of Representatives, Directors in the Ministry and Heads of the various Agencies also showed up and were with the minister till the end.

Industry Veterans, Trenchers, Sector Pioneers, Innovators, Patriots, Shameless Opportunists, Equipment Vendors (serviceable and obsolete), Software and Vaporware Sales Force, Rent Seekers Hangers, and Contractors (Tiwantiwa aka PPP and Oyinbo aka Turnkey) as well as some polished and many other entrenched civil servants all showed up. At the peak, almost 400 people not counting the support staff like SAs, PAs and MOPOL. Prof. (Engr). A. A. Esan My Electrical Power Systems Lecturer back in unilorin in the 80s was there, preaching alternative energy.

Working 9am to 10pm on Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd January 2016, with the minister sitting through the plenary sessions, then later doing a round-trip attending the various syndicate working groups to not only listen but make serious contributions, then later sitting back to review the Communique after two hectic days of work. At some point, over 250 people waited for the communique to be reviewed by the conveners, filled with IT and allied jokes from Industry veterans including yours truly.

The Communique was read, edited via the projection before the minister finally gave the vote of thanks, while promising to invite everyone next year, to review and measure how the retreat outputs have been implemented, followed by a table round to say “Thank You” again, to those who remained behind to network with each other.

Did I remember to declare clearly that he is a legal practitioner (Digital migrant) and not an ICT professional (Digital Native)? That was an omission!

SF’s observations and conclusions:
1. Finally, a Minister that will continue the work, and raise the bar from the notch that Dr. Omobola Johnson pushed it.

2. I think PMB got himself a damned good ICT Minister, and the guy has the recipe for success. You cannot get those number of legislators to mingle and work that long and hard, if you are not good at human networking.

3. The Legislators present were clear at every opportunity that they are available to back any good plans with appropriate legislation. When you have executive and Legislative will all aligned, what can be wrong?

4. The man is honest. Promised to listen to all, and demonstrated it repeatedly during the event. No idea was discarded, anything that looked good was polished to look better.

5. I intervened at some point that Internet Access should be free for **ALL** students in Nigeria. Some people objected because someone must pay, since nothing is free even in Freetown. Well, the Minister went ahead to accept the intervention, and even suggested possible sources of funding from within Government, if it is to be done. Cool!!

6. Please support this minister of ICT. He has a very good heart. Even if you hate the APC Government because you believe their change is not for the better, do not let hate consume your support for the break we all have been craving for. Be open minded and hearted, if only for the sake of our children.

Final words and true confession: I seldom rave about **ANY** politician, but there you are! I have broken my own rule!!

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