Gbenga Adebayo, chairman, the Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) has urged the Kwara State government under the leadership of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq to sustain its investment in youth development and empowerment.
Adebayo gave the admonition in Ilorin, the state capital, at the signing of a partnership agreement between Ilorin Innovation Hub and IHS Towers last weekend. He described Kwara as one of the friendliest states to network providers.
While advising the state government not to go the way of other vibrant but now moribund projects, he said: “Don’t let the innovation hub be like one of those gigantic projects that will have a beginning and no end for the sake of the teeming youths.
“We are talking of ‘japa’ today owing to the lack of jobs for the younger generation. A lot of them are leaving and may not return to the country again. We are training the best talents for the world.
“The innovation hub will not only develop local talents, it will also be a source of employment. Therefore, I urge you to allow the project to stand the test of time.”
Speaking after the signing of the agreement, Governor Abdulrazaq explained that the core objectives of the innovation hub were to make the state a place for innovation, technology, entrepreneurship and drive rapid socioeconomic growth.
“The MOU signing represents a dream come true for our administration. In an age increasingly dominated by digital natives whose lives revolve around technology as well as digital naturals who live the realities of technology and the advantages it offers, we saw a need to lead in giving necessary skills and support to these important cohorts and leverage the same to build a stronger economy.
“Our objectives are to offer the tools, resources, and environment that innovators and startups require to flourish, especially in the realm of digital and tech skills. By this, we see a future where Kwara sees job creation, poverty reduction, and improved well-being of the people.
“But having the right partnership and technical support to run this tech space is critical to achieving these objectives, efficiency and sustainability. This is why I am excited about this strategic partnership with the global tech giant IHS Towers to drive the project. With its proven expertise and legacy of innovation, HIS fits into our vision for this initiative.
IHS offers technical and organisational support in its operations, maintenance, and management of it in exchange for certain benefits such as the use and operation of the hub for the delivery of IHS training and ancillary programmes as well as branding rights, among other things.
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“We strongly believe that public-private partnership offers the right incentives for sustainability and economic growth. Even so, we are committed to preserving the interest of the people and the state as owners of these investments,” the governor added.