Prominent Marketing Communications expert, Jenkins Alumona, has stated that the deployment of e-governance and other Information and Communication Technology (ICT) tools in Nigeria will only be functional when ordinary Nigerians can benefit from such. Alumona, the Chief Executive Officer of Strategic Outcomes Limited Group, said this at the inaugural edition of The Nigeria e-Government Conference in Lagos on Thursday.
Speaking on a sub-theme of the conference, “Government Service Delivery in the Information Age: Citizens’ Expectations”, Alumona explained that the non-availability of critical infrastructure such as electricity greatly hinders majority of Nigerians from participating in the e-governance process and limits the progress of the initiative.
He stated that all issues which limit citizens’ participation in the process must be resolved before the goal of an effective government-to-citizen e-governance system in the country can be attained.
“Whichever area you want to focus on, whether it is e-governance or efficiency, we must never forget that if there is no direct benefit to the people, then it’s a complete waste of time. I don’t know how many people here know of a growing industry called ‘phone charging’. If you don’t focus on the big ‘E’, which is electricity, how do you get to e-governance, how do people get to benefit? We’ve heard submissions here on broadband, how it is expanding but I wonder: Can you access broadband using torchlight or firewood? So, if you don’t have access to electricity, how do you benefit from e-governance?” he asked.
Alumona, a veteran journalist, also called on Nigerians to hold the government accountable in ensuring that the relevant infrastructure and services are provided for their well-being.
“The previous speaker talked about some part of our constitution that tells us that we really cannot do anything to the people we put in power. That’s a wrong thing. We need to hold them (government) responsible even as we talk about the benefits of e-governance,” he said.
The conference had in attendance representatives of the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Babatunde Fowler; the Executive Vice Chairman, Nigeria Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta; and Postmaster-General of the Federation/Chief Executive Officer of NIPOST, Bisi Adegbuyi.
Also present were prominent practitioners in the ICT industry and stakeholders from other endeavours.