By Stanley Iwuoha
The 2020 edition of the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum may have come and gone, but the soundbites are loud and clear.
The echoes keep reverberating.
Internet now rules the world. It has become the source of happiness, the essence of modernisation and cradle of civilization.
Internet has become the Central point of one indivisible world.
That was the message which kept coming all through the event.
Most importantly, after reviewing how the COVID-19 pandemic which started in a small harmlet of Wuham in China, spreak across the world in a whirlwind fashion, participants were made to take away the message that the whole world can now be connected.
Incidentally, it is also the internet that has given impetus to cushioning the effect of the pandemic, leveraging on digital technologies..
Giving the opportunity, as the chairman of the ocassion, to highlight the roles technology has played in combating the andemic, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy, Musa Istifanus, simply summed it up that those who have hope of defeating the pandemic are those who have hope of technological exploits
The forum themed: “Achieving Inclusive Digital Economic Development in the post-COVID-19 Era” was held virtually due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.
In his address, Istifanus said he was convinced activities of the forum would be germane in no small measure to the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and would also afford him the opportunity to listen and learn from the various experts that’ll participate in the event.
Istifanus added that while Countries all over the world are actively creating and fostering transformational innovation on how to remain in business during this period of COVID-19, the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy and its Agencies are well ahead of time by creating an enabling environment for Public and Private Sector of the economy to thrive through the launching of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy 2020-2030 being the roadmap for the implementations of the National Economy and Strategy Development as well as the National Broadband Plan 2020-2030.
He emphasized that the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy has been a key Stakeholder in the Internet Governance Ecosystem since 2012 when the NIGF was formed and each year, the Ministry partners key stakeholders in hosting the National IGF to strengthen Nigeria’s position towards the annual Regional and Global IGFs.
While urging participants of the event to accord priority to the deliberations which outcome would pave the way to accelerating the delivery of Government Policies and to achieving inclusive digital Economic development in the post COVID-19 era, he commended the wisdom displayed by the Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) for organizing the pre-NIGF event tagged “Women IGF” with the theme “women, COVID-19 and the Internet” and the youths for participating in the Youth IGF programme with the theme “Shaping a Resilient Internet for Societal Sustainability”.
Corroborating the Permanent Secretary’s view on leveraging the COVID-19 era achievement on digital economy development, the Director-General, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, said the event is apt in that it presented a new era for which “it is important for the government to ensure that the infrastructure required to keep governance running are on ground and functioning until a time when government organizations fully come on board”.
According to the Director-General, the campaign to move government businesses online has now become a reality. He added that there was no other choice than for the government to deliver its services online which could only be achieved with corporate internet.
Abdullahi, who was represented by the Director, eGovernment Development and Regulation, Dr. Vincent Olatunji noted that with the pandemic, working remotely has become the norm in the country and world over.
“Whether you are a developed or developing nation, public or private sector, you don’t have any choice but to use the internet to deliver on your services,” he said.