“The Nigerian Century” book launch 2016

A Goodwill message by Amina Oyagbola, Human Resources/Corporate Services Executive, MTN Nigeria, at the Public presentation of the book “The Nigerian Century” at the Shehu Musa Yar’Adua Centre, Abuja on Thursday, February 18, 2016.

His Excellency, Muhammad Buhari, GCFR, President, Federal Republic of Nigeria

His Excellency, Olusegun Obasanjo, GCFR, former President of Nigeria

Special Guests, Presenters, Co-Presenters and Speakers

Gentlemen of the Press

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

I feel privileged to be here today in the midst of the Nigerian intelligentsia and other distinguished personalities, including Mr. Dare Babarinsa, a foremost journalist and true nationalist who represents the best of Nigerian journalism, and who is also the author of The Nigerian Century.

On behalf of MTN Nigeria, I commend his worthy effort to chronicle the Nigeria story through this book. The importance of Nigerians telling our own story cannot be over-emphasized. For too long our history was interpreted through a prism that was not ours and did little to portray or highlight our potential, boundless energy and enthusiasm through all manner of challenges.

This bookThe Nigerian Century accurately captures our rich history and how much positive change has actually occurred in Nigeria especially in the last two decades. Indeed, reading through these chronicles, a feeling of pride, if not optimism and excitement takes hold, giving a warm assurance that our potential can be harnessed given the right disposition; in this case under the administration of President Buhari.

We do not have to look too far to find a fitting example of how we have demonstrated this potential to an admirable degree  – let us examine the progress that Nigeria has made in the ICT industry in a little more than a decade. Fifteen years ago, it was inconceivable that Nigeria could midwife one of the fastest growing ICT sectors in the world. Today, the ICT industry is responsible for a conservative estimate of 9% of GDP with over $32 Billion invested in the economy and the further potential to significantly boost non-oil revenue streams for Nigeria. This is particularly pertinent given our current reality and urgent need to develop alternative income streams outside oil..

Who would have imagined that the sector would create so much opportunity for employment and entrepreneurship, and stimulate other sectors of the economy such as finance, insurance, health, advertising, entertainment, public relations, marketing, sales, logistics and more?

With tele-density at over 80% old barriers have been broken, new territories charted, with people and organizations empowered through the power of communication and technology.

In 15 years, the ICT sector has positively influenced every aspect of our lives, enabling us to connect across communities and continents; to enhance social and business interaction; to access transformative knowledge and information; to increase efficiency; lower costs and very importantly, to drive pace with global change towards building considerable leverage for Nigeria on the world stage.

Indeed, ICT is a key enabler for socio-economic development; a platform that we can further galvanize for developing our beloved nation – creating more employment; fuelling the growth of micro and small enterprises (MSMEs & SMEs); driving e-commerce, e-payment, e-government as critical planks for increasing the prosperity and well-being of all Nigerians.

We are at another inflection point in our nation’s history as a result of the wind of change that has ushered in the administration of President Buhari. We all have a part to play in building a new Nigeria – to achieve our collective goals of prosperity for all; security of life and property in every part of the country; access to education for every child and Nigeria’s leapfrog to the forefront of Africa’s technological advancement thus becoming Africa’s technology hub.  In my sector, we will do our own part – leading and driving the digital economy for greater and sustained competitive advantage, productivity and national prosperity.

In the next century when the story of Nigeria is told, hopefully by those who display the same attention to detail and eloquence as Mr. Babarinsa, the ICT revolution will be correctly represented as one of the turning points in our march to sustainable development without complete dependence on a single extractive industry. The story will also be told of the development of other sectors such as Agriculture and Solid Minerals through ICT: technological enhancement, process improvement, upskilling of people. With the support of all stakeholders, the multiplier effect of technology on our nation can be truly exceptional.

We congratulate Mr. Babarinsa for embarking on this laudable project and creating a permanent historical record for generations of Nigerians. We are proud to be partners for development and we identify with an effort such as this, with great historical significance for the present and also for the future.

We believe this book should be widely available to all Nigerians particularly the youth who must know their past so that they can succeed in the future. That is why we would encourage Mr. Babarinsa to take a step further and to produce a digital version of this book so that it can be easily downloaded on digital devices.  I dare say that a digital version would be popular with the young and the growing number of tech-savvy individuals who like to read on the go

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you for your kind attention. God bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

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