Shettima: Innovation Key To Putting Nigeria In Rightful Position On World Map


Vice-President Kashim Shettima has said that innovation is essential to attainment of Nigeria’s dream of becoming one of the top countries in the world, urging Nigerians to bring up innovative ideas and actions to advance the ongoing transformation agenda in the country.

Speaking at the third i-FAIR cohorts graduation ceremony of the nine-month mentorship programme for budding innovators and entrepreneurs on Thursday in Abuja, the Vice President implored Nigerians to support the Israel-Nigeria Innovation Fellowship for Aspiring Inventors and Researchers (i-FAIR) initiative to advance the transformation agenda in the country.

Shettima who was represented by the Special Adviser to the President on Economic Affairs in the Office of the Vice-President, Mr Tope Fasua, commendded the graduands for boosting the Nigerian population efforts to achieve the transformation agenda of the Federal Government.

He said: “We live in a kinetically dynamic and digital world, where we are seeing today’s reality and tomorrow’s innovation by power of technology, Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning, internet and others.

“We commend the Innov8Hub for what it has been doing so far amongst our youth and the innovative at heart.

“We have seen numerous innovative display, many of which have been commercialized and are having impact on Nigeria and beyond.

“We believe this is merely the beginning, I appeal to all and sundry to show maximal support to the idea behind the hub, as it is indeed transformative.

“Our very survival in a fast paced world depends on it.”

The Ambassador of Israel to Nigeria Michael Freeman, on his part, said the programme comprised twelve components spanning health, climate change, and agriculture, and embodies the spirit of innovation and resilience.

“I-FAIR was established by the Israeli embassy in collaboration with the Nigerian government; this initiative epitomizes the collaboration and innovation pivotal to the Israel-Nigeria relationship.

“President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda resonates deeply with the ethos of the i-FAIR programme in championing empowerment, growth, and prosperity for Nigeria.

“This is with a focus on nurturing the talents of our youth, this programme aligns seamlessly with President Tinubu’s vision of propelling Nigeria towards excellence, notably in digital economy where job creation is paramount.”

He attributed success so far achieved to invaluable partnership by the embassy with TetFund, Air Peace and Zell Innov8 and other collaborators, whose unwavering support has been instrumental in shaping the transformative journey.

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Yusuf Tuggar, represented by Ambassador Bolaji Akinremi, Director, Economic, Trade and Investment at the ministry, traced the success of the programme to the partnership between Israel and Nigeria.

Tuggar said, “This is evidence of innovation. We have no doubt this government and the administration standout as the most innovative government Nigeria ever had.

“It is pertinent to mention that the idea of I-FAIR is predicated on the need to overcome domestic challenges with innovative made in-Nigeria solutions tailored around inspiring Nigeria to become a start-up nation.”

Minister of Communication, Innovation and Digital Economy, Dr Bosun Tijani, said it was important to prioritise transformation agenda to achieve meaningful growth.

He said: “We must prioritise the complete deployment of fibre active network which Nigeria must achieve in the next two-three years and we have backing of the President.

“Also, for AI, every developed country in the world is freaking out about development in AI. For the reality, they do not have the workforce to power it.

“If we do not take advantage of being part of the AI, even if it is just to provide the workforce, we are wasting time.

“In the two to three years, AI will prompt how you think and what you do. AI will prompt development,” he said.

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