eNigeria: Buhari honours Nigeria startup lights at GITEX 2019, affirms faith in young people

By Nwakaego Alajemba, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari this morning in Abuja at the eNigeria conference honoured two Nigerian startups sponsored by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) to this year’s Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX) that held from October 6-10 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.


Earlier, the president while formally declaring eNigeria open had stressed his administration’s support for young Nigerians and his commitment to strengthening the Nigerian economy through the innovation and relentlessness energy of Nigerian youth.

The eNigeria event is the flagship conference of the NITDA.  The chief host and convener for eNigeria 2019 is the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami while the event’s host and convener is NITDA’s Director-General/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi.


Buhari while honoring the startups challenged them to aim higher even as he assured them of government’s support.  The president made a formal presentation of N5, 000, 000 (Five million naira) startup seed fund to the Chiniki Guard and N3, 000, 000 (Three million naira) to 247 Medic.

Chiniki Guard had emerged winner in the Global Future Stars (GFS) Supernova Challenge at the GITEX that held in Dubai at GITEX 2019 in the AI category while 247 Medic made the list as one of the global finalists of the more than 750 startups from about 90 countries that participated ay the GITEX-GFS event. GITEX is the 3rd largest technology event in the world.

“Nigerian ICT startups are leaving their mark on the global stage. For example, at the Gulf Information Technology Exhibition (GITEX), a Nigerian Artificial Intelligence solution provider, Chiniki Guards, took first place, beating 750 contestants from 73 countries. We shall continue to encourage and support such digital entrepreneurs to develop innovative solutions for local and global challenges.” said President Buhari.


Similarly, Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Pantami, in his special remarks, had thanked the president for his continuous support to the youth particularly in the area of ICT. The minister noted that the president’s approval for the renaming of the Ministry of Communication to become the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy was a strong pointer to the government’s belief in ICT as driver of modern economy.

In his welcome speech, NITDA’s Director-General, Mr. Abdullahi expressed gratitude for the president’s firm support to have young people at the saddle at driving his ICT agenda.

“I will sincerely thank Mr. President and Commander in Chief, Federal Republic of Nigeria, for giving us the opportunity to contribute our quota in the development of Nigeria’s economy through the IT sector,” said Abdullahi who at below 40 years of age has been entrusted with leading NITDA in a remarkable shift by government to foster a sense of new leadership round the youths.


The president took a tour of the exhibition hall before departing for other official engagements.

Founder/CEO of MainOne, Ms Funke Opeke, kick-started discussions with a keynote presentation around the event’s main theme: National Digital Economy,’

Other sub themes  include ‘Developing infrastructure for the digital economy in the fourth industrial revolution;  Creating digital job opportunities through  developmental regulation; and Experts review of Nigeria’s draft digital economy policy and strategy.’ 

The conference will also feature discussions on:

  • Creating New Job Opportunities and Economic Development Through Technological Innovation;
  • Harnessing Indigenous Innovation and Creativity for Poverty Reduction in Nigeria;
  • Leveraging Disruptive Innovation for Achieving Good Health, National Security, Anticorruption, and Sustainable Energy Systems; and
  • Implications of Data Protection Regulation for Open Data, Big Data Analytics, and Smart Initiatives in Building a Productive National Economy.

All heads and CEOs of agencies under the ministry are co-hosts and co-conveners. They include the EVC of Nigerian Communications Commission  (NCC), Prof Umar Danbatta; CEO of Nigocmsat, Ms Abimbola Alale; CEO of Galaxy Backbone Limited, Mr. Yusuf Kazaure; and Post Master General/CEO of NIPOST, Barrister Bisi Adegbuyi.

Today’s event continues with different panel sessions. It ends tomorrow with an award dinner in the evening. It will open tomorrow morning with panel sessions.

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