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The National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has reemphasized the value of collaboration to bridge the digital divide. The agency also demonstrated its commitment to closing the digital gaps across country by organising a one-day stakeholders’ engagement programme in Ibadan, Oyo state.

Part of the agenda was to identify challenges in the state’s ICT ecosystem, co-create solutions through shared knowledge and expertise as well as extend NITDA’s services to grassroots stakeholders.

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“As the needs of the digital economy ecosystem grow, the agency has striven to respond appropriately. This has been demonstrated in the strategic actions the NITDA has taken in the implementation of critical areas of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS)”, said NITDA’s Director General, Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, while giving his opening remarks at the event with the theme: ‘Creating Opportunities, Breaking Boundaries: Towards Digitalisation and Entrepreneurial Evolution.’

Abdullahi who was represented by the agency’s Director, Zonal Offices Directorate, Mr. Babajide Ajayi said the quest to deliver outstanding customer services has continually driven the agency in developing strategies and initiatives to boost digital inclusion in the country.

Highlighting some of the people-oriented programmes that have been implemented in consultation with stakeholders, he said the National Adopted Village for Smart Agriculture (NAVSA), the National Adopted School for Smart Education (NASSE), Digital Literacy Capacity Training for Persons Living with Disabilities, ICT Innovation Hubs and a host of other activities have had direct impact on the citizens of the country.

He maintained that through the constant reset and invigoration of the “agency’s vision and mission, it has evolved from a highly centralised organisation to a functionally decentralised one with the foundational aspiration of always being close to its stakeholders.”

He further stated that, “the objectives of the programme are to offer stakeholders the opportunity to express their views on matters related to the agency’s implementation of its mandate, establish sustainable collaborations and consistent channels for feedback and share with stakeholders our vision, regulatory instruments for national development and our journey so far”.

Giving his keynote address, the Special Adviser to the Executive Governor of Oyo State on ICT and e-Governance, Mr. Adebayo Akande appreciated NITDA for putting together the stakeholder’s engagement programme.

He described the initiative as invaluable and expressed his conviction that the programme would enable stakeholders share ideas together rather than work in silos.

Acknowledging the several policies, regulations and frameworks rolled out by NITDA in the last few years, Mr. Akande stated that the Oyo State Strategic Roadmap follows the same pattern of NITDA’s Strategic Roadmap and Action Plan (SRAP).

He said: “when we came in newly, we had to create our ICT policy then move on to digital literacy. We also had to constantly train and retrain a lot of civil servants and a lot of digital transformation has taken place with regards to providing the right ICT infrastructure which led to digital innovation with regards to government processes in the state.”

Stressing the importance of collaborations especially between the federal and state governments, he assured NITDA of the state’s support.

The Director General of the Development Agenda for Western Nigeria (DAWN) Commission, Seye Oluseye in his goodwill message appreciated NITDA for bringing the initiative down to the grassroots.

Describing ICT as the next oil in the country, Mr. Oluseye called for collaborations between the agency and the DAWN Commission.

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