People’s pasts are always a potpourri of those positive things that have the potential to enhance their reputation and the lethal ones that can fatally undermine their chances. They are the more preponderant things that define where the swing of fortune – or misfortune – goes.
In his own case, on 5 August 2023, when he confronted ‘his past’, it was the positive things that Bosun Tijani had done in life that knocked out his exuberant expressions of concern in a number of tweets, even if borne out of patriotism that seemed innocuous and heartfelt in the past. There was also his contrition – a very honest apology – in saying: “The tweets online don’t represent me at all. As a young man born and bred by Yoruba parents, I tender my sincere apology. I am profusely sorry. I am a patriotic Nigerian. I believe so much in this country and I won’t do anything to undermine the integrity of this country.” Senate President Godswill Akpabio accepted the apology on behalf of the Senate after some members spoke in Tijani’s defence citing his impressive credentials. Bosun Tijani’s credentials as referred to by his defenders are indeed impressive.
He holds a B Sc. in Economics and a Diploma in Computer Science from the University of Jos, Nigeria, and an M Sc. in Information Systems and Management from Warwick Business School in England. In March of this year, Tijani accomplished his PhD in Innovation and Economic Development from the University of Leicester.
If his academic credentials are impressive, intimidating would best describe what he has done with his skills and passion. Tijani is the CEO and co-founder of CcHub, one of Africa’s leading technology hubs. Under his leadership, CcHub has expanded its presence across Nigeria, Kenya, and Namibia, transforming from its humble beginnings in Yaba, Lagos, into a powerful catalyst for tech advancement in Africa.
In reporting the drama at the Senate, Techcabal noted that “On one hand, many argue that his tweets were a reflection of the frustration of the average Nigerian about the state of the polity and the leaders. They also argue that such criticism shouldn’t be considered to represent a lack of patriotism.
Read also: Telecom poses biggest test for Bosun Tijani
“In the end, the argument is pretty straightforward: when critics are offered a chance to serve in the government, they should be judged by their competence and pedigree — and not their critical opinions.”
In a world where digital transformation and innovation is fast becoming a catalyst for economic progress, we are at a critical moment as a nation in our journey towards a more inclusive and prosperous future
The rest is now history – Bosun Tijani got the nod from the Senate to be made a minister and was assigned the portfolio of Communications, Innovations and Digital Economy.
“This is one of the finest decisions of President Tinubu,” said a stakeholder in the industry. “His humility, professionalism and commitment to consultative leadership are well known, especially those who are closely associated with him. Bosun’s eyes are always on the ball – focused and committed to the objective of contributing his quota to the development of his fatherland.”
Among the newly appointed ministers in the Tinubu administration, Tijani may well be the new kid on the block. Meeting public expectation, the Ministry of Communications, Innovations and Digital Economy has released a 31-page document titled ‘Accelerating our Collective Prosperity through Technical Efficiency’, as its strategic plan.
Sources close to the minister say it is still open to further review so as to “accommodate more ideas and elaboration.”
In the preface, the document is described as “a critical launchpad in our journey towards a Nigeria that thrives in the digital age in alignment with the Renewed Hope Agenda of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR.” The document covers the agencies with which the Ministry will collaborate in the delivery of its mandate; the theoretical foundation of the blueprint it provides; its Strategic Agenda 2023- 2027 based on the pillars of knowledge, policy, infrastructure, innovation – entrepreneurship – capital, and trade; Public Sector Project Complexity Index; Alignment with the Renewed Hope Agenda; A New Way of Working; and Conclusion – A Living Blueprint.
In the introduction Tijani elaborates on the vision that will drive the Ministry’s work thus: “In a world where digital transformation and innovation is fast becoming a catalyst for economic progress, we are at a critical moment as a nation in our journey towards a more inclusive and prosperous future. The intersection of a strong digital economy and our innovative and youthful population presents us with a unique opportunity to chart a course towards prosperity, inclusion and global relevance.
“President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda has at its core, a recognition of the power of technology and innovation as enablers of economic growth and development,” he states. “It is a call for us to take advantage of the opportunities presented to us with a spirit of determination and conviction.
“I extend an open invitation to all stakeholders, both within and outside government, to unite in this collective endeavour. It is our shared vision, ambition and commitment that will drive us towards a Nigeria that not only embraces the digital age but leads it. Let us rise together and seize this moment in our history to shape a future that we can all be proud of,” he writes.
Bosun calls it a solution-providing document with strategic imperative to position Nigeria in the top 25% percentile in research globally across six pivotal areas that are amply highlighted in the document. The document details what the Ministry expects to deliver to the public, including:
• Lay 95,000 kilometres of fibre optic cable across the country.
• For efficient spectrum management, set up a comprehensive Digital Public Infrastructure to be the foundation for digital transformation across Nigeria
• Introduce OneGOV, a one stop shop for access to all government services.
• Reimage the Postal Service to revitalise the operations of the Nigerian Postal Service through a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model that reimagines post offices as last-mile hubs for commercial and government services.
• Optimise the nation’s communication satellites to increase access to advanced communication capabilities, we will support their capacity to deliver on their mandate.
• Augment our investment in existing community spaces, community computer labs, school-based computer labs and innovation hubs across Nigeria.
• Working with innovation intermediaries and other key stakeholders, activate and animate these spaces as platforms for serendipity where creativity and collaboration drives the application of innovation and technology for social business good.
Broadly, the document indicates that the strategic plan will be implemented within the frameworks of a “National Innovation System (NIS)” and “Distributed Innovation System (DIS)”.
He ends with a call to action for feedback that can make the plans more robust, saying this can be done through [email protected], a gesture hardly demonstrated in this clime. However, the challenge is for stakeholders to robustly interrogate the document so that the implementation of the much-awaited revolution in the digital economy in Nigeria becomes a joint undertaking to guarantee its sustainability.
It seems fair to say that, with someone of Bosun Tijani’s credentials, professional disposition and temperament on the saddle, the revolution is about to commence.