I strongly believe that systemic change and positive transformation in societies are best achieved through good governance. This is why I feel a great sense of responsibility as I assume the role of Senior Special Assistant to the President on Innovation. My expertise lies in developing and deploying solutions to address social problems, and I have extensive experience doing this through various ventures I founded and projects I have led or been part of. My goal is to make a lasting impact on society, particularly through innovation. I have, therefore, welcomed this chance to apply my skills and experience to public service through this prestigious role in the office of the Vice President.
Innovation comes in many flavours. It is not restricted to technology. It includes government processes, business models, systems, and more. Innovation refers to the process of creating new or significantly improved products, services, processes, or ideas that add value, solve problems, or meet unmet needs. It involves the application of creativity, imagination, and knowledge to generate novel solutions and drive positive change. Innovation can occur in various domains, including technology, business, science, arts, policy, and social sectors.
As Nigeria stands on the precipice of a new era, the time has come to harness the untapped potential of innovation to drive economic growth, foster social development, and establish the nation as a global technological powerhouse. My unwavering commitment is to help chart a course toward innovation-led prosperity for Nigeria.
Innovation is the lifeblood of progress in the modern world. It empowers nations to solve complex problems, enhance productivity, and improve the quality of life for their citizens. Unfortunately, Nigeria has yet to fully embrace its innovation potential. While the country boasts a vibrant and dynamic population, abundant natural resources, and a burgeoning tech sector, there are significant barriers to realising this potential.
One of the foremost challenges is the need to create an enabling environment for innovation to thrive. This involves policy reforms aimed at fostering a culture of entrepreneurship, protecting intellectual property rights, and ensuring ease of doing business. It also requires investments in research and development, education, and infrastructure to provide the necessary building blocks for innovation to flourish.
In addition to policy and infrastructure improvements, it is essential to stimulate innovation at the grassroots level. We must empower our young talent, fuel their creativity, and provide opportunities for them to turn their ideas into reality. We have to prioritize investment in emerging technologies. Artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and renewable energy are just a few examples of fields where Nigeria can lead the way. These fields not only have the potential to transform our economy but also to address pressing issues such as healthcare, agriculture, and energy access.
My vision is to implement a comprehensive innovation strategy that encompasses key pillars around the acceleration of innovation nationwide. For instance, we have to revamp our education system to focus on fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity from an early age and across all levels of education. Additionally, vocational training programs should be expanded to equip our workforce with the skills required for the jobs of the future.
It is equally important to significantly increase investment in R&D, partnering with both public and private sectors to fund ground-breaking research projects that can translate into impact whether in the private or public sectors. These efforts will span various domains, from healthcare to the environment and beyond.
Regarding entrepreneurship and startups, I envision a never-seen-before type of support to our ecosystem for startups, offering incentives for investors, reducing regulatory burdens, and providing access to capital in the wake of the Startup Act and other remarkable wins for the space.
Indeed, a modern and robust infrastructure is essential for innovation. My voice will be lent to investment in reliable energy sources, high-speed internet, and transportation networks to facilitate the movement of people and goods, and the adequate scientific infrastructure needed for invention and commercialisation.
As much as I can, I will also propagate partnerships with international organisations, research institutions, and businesses to tap into global knowledge and resources. This collaboration will accelerate our progress in various fields and consolidate our place on the global stage.
Nigeria’s journey toward becoming an innovation powerhouse is a complex but achievable goal. With the right vision, policies, and investments, we can unlock the immense potential of our people and resources. As Senior Special Assistant to the President on Innovation, I am committed to driving this transformation, making Nigeria a beacon of innovation, progress, and prosperity on the global stage. As this article closes my column for now, I hope together, we can write a new chapter in Nigeria’s history—one marked by innovation, inclusivity, and sustainable growth.