According to experts at the International Conference tagged: ‘Towards a Smart City’, as part of the Lagos at 50 celebrations, the Governor Akinwunmi Ambode led regime, which is championing the transformation has been urged to see Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as an integral component of the vision.
At the Panel session with a sub-topic: ICT-Making Lagos the Technology Frontier of Africa, moderated by the Founder, MTech, Sheri Williams. The panelists included, the Chief Executive Officer, SystemSpec Limited, John Obaro; Managing Director, Accenture, Niyi Yusuf; Founders of EchoVC Partners and Paga, Eghosa Omoigui and Tayo Oviosu respectively, who all canvassed an inclusive development of the state:
Below are a few ideas put forth by the panelists, that would help make Lagos a smart city:
- Yusuf described Smart city as a country that has embedded technology into the city design and management. This involves using technology to drive value management and use at different layers of infrastructure development. “Lagos is on track to be a smart city,” he added.
- To Omoigui, a smart city is self-monitoring, self-reporting and allows different infrastructure blocks to talk to each other automatically, saying in Nigeria, Lagos remains the ideal state to drive this innovation.
- To Oviosu, making a state ‘smart’ means all services are driven electronically, using same data, adding that if indeed, Lagos wants to be ‘smart’, it shouldn’t wait for Nigeria, as a smart city should carve out smart health, education and agriculture, among others.
- From Obaro’s perspective, what brought the state and even Nigeria to where it is now, is not what will take it to where it planned to be in another 50 years. He noted that while the population is growing from its current 22 million, the land mass is not expanding, “as such there is a need to develop infrastructure that will outlive the people, while we constantly maintain it.”
- The SystemSpec boss, while canvassing for the involvement of Robotic technology in the development of the state, noting that the main accounting package running Nigeria is from Estonia. As such, it has become necessary to develop Lagosians that can make money for the state outside the state. “We must develop a software economy,” he stated.
- To Obaro, Lagos may not have the problem of getting funding for the project because the people are yearning for a change, and stressed the need for government to also respect agreements.
- Obaro and Oviosu emphasised the need to run Lagos smartcity with an efficient identity management system, where it becomes seamless to pay for government services. They called for urgent hamonisation of the various disparate data bases in the country for better management of the nation.
- The State Governor, Ambode, said “smartness had to be microscopic from the grassroots,” adding that there are cultural and political issues to be dealt with, which if not adequately handled can mar the entire process.
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