• Sunday, July 21, 2024
businessday logo


All Hands on Deck: Nigeria’s Path to Compete in the 4th Industrial Revolution

All Hands on Deck: Nigeria’s Path to Compete in the 4th Industrial Revolution

When I said that all hands must be on deck for Nigeria to compete in the next industrial revolution, I meant it. This call to action is not merely rhetoric; it is a necessity. To ensure Nigeria’s success in the 4th Industrial Revolution, which will be characterized by rapid technological advancements and artificial intelligence, we must all contribute in every possible way. Last weekend, I witnessed remarkable individual efforts outside the shores of our country that reinforced my belief in the power of collective action.

A Remarkable Young Mind

I had the privilege of meeting a young man who exemplifies extraordinary educational and professional achievements. His name is Ayo, and his story is nothing short of inspiring. Ayo has not only excelled academically but also demonstrated an exceptional drive to solve real-world problems. Leveraging artificial intelligence, Ayo and his team of like-minded young individuals are working on an application called Dele. This app aims to revolutionize how African languages are taught and learnt. Although still a work in progress, Dele is already gaining traction and promises to be a game-changer.

Ayo’s journey is a testament to what can be achieved with determination and support. He graduated as an honour student from high school, as a valedictorian, and earned a full scholarship to study Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. He graduated at the top of his class and was head-hunted by Cisco during a trip to Stanford University where he pitched his startup and app, Dele. Ayo now works as a Software Engineer at Cisco, focusing on AI.

The Role of Community and Leadership

What stands out about Ayo’s story is the unexpected source of his leadership drive and business acumen: a church in a small town in Texas called House on the Rock, led by Pastor Joseph Kuye. This church places a special focus on youth leadership education, with a deliberate effort to ensure that its young members excel in their careers. The goal is for these youths to achieve extraordinary academic performance and secure tuition-free university education.

Ayo is just one of the many success stories from House on the Rock. This week, the church will honour over 70 valedictorians at its 11th commencement celebration, including one student who was recognized as the overall best in the City of Grand Prairie. The city’s government, led by Mayor Ron Jensen, along with other officials such as Chief Daniel Scesney, Grand Prairie Police Chief, and Bessye Adams, Grand Prairie City Councilwoman, have recognized the church’s successful efforts in raising talented individuals.

Collective Effort for Nigeria’s Future

The success of House on the Rock and its members speaks to my position that all hands must be on deck to secure Nigeria’s place in the 4th Industrial Revolution. This revolution will be defined by advancements in technology and AI, and it is crucial for every stakeholder, including the government and Nigerians, both at home and abroad, to make deliberate efforts to contribute to this cause.

Why Nigeria Must Act Now

The 4th Industrial Revolution presents both challenges and opportunities. For Nigeria to be a significant player in this new era, several factors must be addressed:

1. Education and Skills Development
The future workforce must be equipped with the necessary skills to thrive in a technology-driven world. This requires a revamp of our educational system to include STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) subjects and digital literacy from an early age. Initiatives like those led by Pastor Joseph Kuye should be replicated across the country to ensure that young Nigerians are well-prepared for the demands of the future.

2. Investment in Technology
The government and private sector must invest heavily in technology infrastructure. This includes providing access to high-speed internet, modernizing our telecommunications networks, and supporting tech startups through funding and mentorship programmes. Encouraging innovation and creating an environment where new ideas can flourish is essential for growth.

3. Policy and Regulatory Support
To foster innovation, the government must create policies that support the tech industry. This includes simplifying the process for starting and running tech businesses, offering tax incentives for tech companies, and protecting intellectual property rights. A supportive regulatory framework will attract both local and foreign investors to the Nigerian tech ecosystem.

4. Collaboration and Partnerships
Building a robust tech industry requires collaboration among various stakeholders. The government, private sector, educational institutions, and international partners must work together to create a thriving tech environment. Partnerships with global tech companies can provide access to advanced technologies and expertise, helping to accelerate Nigeria’s progress.

5. Focus on AI and Emerging Technologies
Artificial Intelligence is at the forefront of the 4th Industrial Revolution. Nigeria must prioritize AI research and development to stay competitive. Establishing AI research centers, offering AI-focused educational programmes, and encouraging AI startups are steps in the right direction. Additionally, exploring other emerging technologies such as blockchain, the Internet of Things (IoT), and renewable energy will position Nigeria as a leader in the tech world.

The Role of Nigerians Abroad
Nigerians in the diaspora play a crucial role in this collective effort. They bring valuable knowledge, skills, and experiences that can benefit the country. By sharing their expertise and investing in local initiatives, they can help drive technological advancements and economic growth. The success stories of individuals like Ayo demonstrate the impact that Nigerians abroad can have when they choose to contribute to their homeland.

The 4th Industrial Revolution is an opportunity for Nigeria to leapfrog into a future driven by technology and innovation. However, achieving this requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders. We must invest in education, support tech innovation, create favourable policies, and leverage the skills and expertise of Nigerians both at home and abroad. The story of Ayo and the success of House on the Rock exemplify what can be achieved with determination and support. It is time for all hands to be on deck, working together to ensure that Nigeria competes and thrives in the next industrial revolution.

Tech Actor of the Week: Pastor Joseph Kuye
Olugbenga Joseph Kuye, a pastor at the House on the Rock in Grand Prairie, Dallas Metro, TX, serves under The Redeemed Christian Church of God. With Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Law and a Post-graduate Diploma in Financial Management, he practised as an attorney, investment banker, and claim specialist in Africa and the United States for nearly two decades before transitioning to full-time ministry in 2000. Pastor Kuye holds an Advanced Diploma in Pastoral Ministry and Leadership from Christ for the Nations Bible Institute and has been instrumental in planting 24 RCCG churches across several states in the USA.
Pastor Kuye is passionate about community service and youth leadership. He and his wife established a health facility in Nigeria, providing free services to 15 villages under their AVA Health & Compassion Foundation. His dedication to nurturing young talent has produced individuals like Ayo, who are making significant contributions in technology. Pastor Kuye’s work exemplifies the transformative power of dedicated community leadership on a global scale.