Mr. Austin Okere, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG) PLC has been inducted into the maiden Africa Digital Awards Hall of Fame for his sterling contribution in Information and Communication Technology development in Nigeria and Africa at the just concluded Africa Digital Awards Hall of Fame organized in Lagos by ICT Watch Africa Digital Network.
Speaking at the event at which Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, executive governor of Osun State was the special guest, Mr.Austin Okere, in his speech remarked that the former EVC of NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe has achieved significant milestones in the Telecoms industry and is well on the way to accomplish more. His appointment by President Goodluck Jonathan as Co-Chair of the Broadband Council has already began to yield much fruit, with a target to increase broadband penetration in the immediate term to 10%, and 25% within the next five years.
He also noted that the gap between the State governments and the Telecoms Operators in penetration strategy arising from Right of Way charges seems to be thawing, as the Lagos State Government under Governor Raji Fashola has seized the gauntlet by significantly slashing the perceived exorbitant fees.
He applauded the executive governor of Osun state for the immensely innovative Opon imo (tablet of knowledge) in Osun State which has improved the educational standard in the state and has received many international awards.
He highlighted the contribution of CWG PLC to Broadband penetration in Nigeria by working with the NUC (National Universities Commission) and the World Bank to connect 29 universities to the information super highway through the NgREN (Nigerian Research and Education Network) project.
The special guest, Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, in his paper presentation titled “Deepening e-Governance, Transparency with Broadband Access”, highlighted the impact of Information and Communication Technology in Osun State, and how the deployment of appropriate technology riding on affordable broadband infrastructure helped him to detect and correct the leakages in their Revenue and also improved the educational system. He noted that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of his State moved from N300m (Three hundred million Naira) per month to N1.6b (One billion, six million Naira) per month without tax increment or increase in the number of tax payers. Also, the Osun State government under the leadership of Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola has remarkably improved the educational system leveraging on the potentials of Information Communication Technology through the Opon Imo initiative.
Dr. Ernest Ndukwe (OFR) the chairman and chief host of the event who spearheaded the innovation of mobile telecommunication that most Nigerians enjoy today highlighted the efforts around making broadband available and affordable in the country. According to him, to achieve this, stakeholders and various governors of different States ought to be sensitized about making sure ‘right of way’ is provided for the operators without punitive taxation, as Broadband penetration will hugely impact economic growth to the benefit of all. He however, noted that some governors such as Lagos State’s Raji Fashola are already working in that direction and thus availing their citizens of this technology of the future. He took the opportunity to invite the other governors to also come on board. “A good example is the recent drastic reduction on the cost of fiber links that pass through Lagos state”, he pointed out.
Other inductees included; Engr. Bayo Banjo, Chairman, Nigeria Internet Group (NIG) Emmanuel Ekuwem, Chairman, Teledom Group, Engr. Lanre Ajayi, President, Association of Telecommunication Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) amongst others.
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