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Today, the Second Edition of Nigeria Internet Governance Forum 2013 holds here in Abuja, the capital city of Nigeria. The planning for this elaborate event has been on, for the better part of the last four months, and it brings together technocrats, civil society, the private sector, government representatives, intellectuals from the academic communities and other stakeholders from all parts of Nigeria to deliberate on critical issues revolving around internet governance in the country.
I have been invited to participate as a rapporteur at this promising event, along with other colleagues from the Industry.
I have watched with keen interest in the past few months, the Local Multi-stakeholders Advisory Group (LMAG) of the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum 2013, comprising officials of the Ministry of Communication Technology (MCT), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) in collaboration with some relevant stakeholders from the private sector strategize to ensure the success of the event and each time, I get the impression that there is admirable commitment to the public good on their part to enhance the internet ecosystem in the country.
The Technical Committee of the LMAG led by the President of Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) Mrs. Mary Uduma and the recently appointed IGF Multi-Stakeholders Advisory Group 2013 member, Mrs. Nkiru Ebenmelu of the Nigerian Communications Commission and their team have continued to play active roles in the promotion of Internet Governance and related issues knowing precisely that the internet today is a powerful driver to enhance living conditions and opportunities in our world today.
The Nigerian Government anchored by the Ministry of Communications Technology has invested a lot in supporting the event as well as other ICT programs and policies aimed at enhancing a more effective broadband Internet in the country in order to increase its adoption and effective usage; and ensure its availability at affordable prices to maximize its socio-economic benefits.
Similarly, the Nigerian Communications Commission, a co-sponsor of the forum recently unveiled a new five-year Strategic Management Plan spanning 2013 to 2017 in a bid to drive its regulatory mandate and proactively strengthen its blueprint for affordable broadband Internet in the country amongst other objectives. The mission of the Commission is now “To support a market-driven communications industry and promote universal access.”
Having studied the latest Global Information Technology Report 2013, by the World Economic Forum, my own view is we are moving into a new phase where if we execute our plans well, and we continue to do a variety of other basic things such as the development of highly skilled population and investments in infrastructure, then we can continue to advance at the global stage.
The internet is a technology in an almost constant state of transition. I believe the possibilities are enormous for our dear country and other less developed countries worldwide if the right decisions are made. It is this background which has informed the amount of work done to arrive at the forum which takes place today.
In Nigeria, there are significant shoots of growth in the Information Communication Technology sector which gives hope and the Nigeria Internet Governance Forum holding today, represent something unique, timely and extremely useful.