By Nwakaego Alajemba
Quan’an Pan Local Government, Plateau State, has launched first Innovation Hub by any local government in Nigeria, a history making feat for a local government of about 196,929 people, to go by the 2006 census. Qua’an Pan is about two hours away by road from Jos, the administrative capital of Plateau State in central Nigeria; it is also the fifth largest local government in the state making its new innovation hub directly accessible to more than 30% of the population of the state. Less than 500 local governments in Nigeria have access to ICT according to reports. To close this gap, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), the federal government ICT clearinghouse has helped to bring ICT access to about 400 out of Nigeria’s 774 local governments since 2006. No local government has a tech or innovation hub.
Established with the full support of the state government through the Plateau State ICT Development Agency (PICTDA), the new Quan’an Pan hub is designed to make youths at the grassroots to be creative by leveraging technology to provide solutions to challenges facing the locality including agriculture.
The hub will also offer suites of digital skills to thousands of young people within Qua’an Pan in a way that empowers them within the framework of the New Digital Economy.
“We unveil this ICT Hub to the glory of God as we open great opportunities in technology and innovation to our young men and women,” said Executive Chairman Qua’an Pan Local Government Council Hon. Isaac Kyale Kwallu.
We want to bring the world to Qua’an Pan and take Qua’an Pan to the world, we believe technology can help us to do this and we are happy to enjoy the support of the Plateau State government,” Kwallu added.
He later took a tour of the new facility set up within the Secretariat of the Qua’an Pan Local Government Council guided around by the Director General of PICTDA, Daser David.
“Today, Qua’an Pan has made history and a dream has come through. At PICTDA, we have always shown interest into indigenous innovations and how that might be the fulcrum of Africa’s development. We do not have all the answers to the existing questions but from here we could give the right answers to the right questions. Hon. Isaac Kwallu is a big deal. We now have a sandbox. Our Code Plateau Fellows from this local government will be equipped with laptops and internet facility.
“We believe that access plus digital education equals digital literacy which impacts on job creation. Our idea around education is to provide our youth with the skills they need to fit into the tech positions and also find placements for them.
The design is woven around partnership of all stakeholders. While local governments provide them with access to the basic tools including computers and internet, PICTDA offers the skill and technical knowhow,” said Daser.
“Kanke Local Government jumped at the opportunity and now Qua’an Pan Local Government has followed this time around setting up an entire innovation hub. Two out of 17 local governments have joined the digital train and we hope we are still counting,” he added.
About eight indigenes undergoing training at the PICTDA’s Code Plateau were formally equipped with internet enabled laptops. They would help to drive the objectives for which the help was set up, said Daser.
For David, the Qua’an Pan hub is envisioned to provide a template for how to use community base skill training targeting young people to make rural areas a pool of functional human resources.
His words: “Our diverse indigenous communities have always been innovative, but for subsistence purpose. We have seen this in the areas of farming, traditional healing, orthopaedic, making of domestic equipments and so on. Plateau State is therefore currently in dare need of formalising these traditional knowledge to cater for a commercial demand in size and scale, this could be our way of taking young people off the streets and creating lots of jobs. But why? The innovation hubs would be centres for this fusion and would also help discover markets for the commercialisation of these innovations.”
Weeks before the launch, Kwallu told IT Edge News in Jos that hubs could be the place to engineer new thinking for engaging economic opportunities and political values bereft of unhealthy dependency on government.
He said: “We can make our youths less depended on political handouts, make them able to be self-sufficient outside of government, make them more capable to manage sustainable enterprises and be successful entrepreneurs and not job seekers in the public sector.”
‘No future for local governments lacking capacity to curate data’ – David Daser
Today a dream comes through! Qua’an Pan has made history.
The question about why the Government of Plateau State is advocating for the establishment of innovation hubs across the seventeen local governments in the state cuts from the realisations that certain indigenous knowledge require fusion of scientific knowledge in the creation of solutions that can be culturally acceptable, economically feasible and environmentally sustainable for our societies and also to serve as centres that would augment both our primary and secondary education with the skills needed for the future of work before they migrate to the cities to attain higher education.
“Every local government at this time should be a part of the global conversation on innovation that creates markets and technology.”
Our diverse indigenous communities have always been innovative, but for subsistence purpose. We have seen this in the areas of farming, traditional healing, orthopaedic, making of domestic equipment and so on. Plateau State is therefore currently in dare need of formalising these traditional knowledge to cater for a commercial demand in size and scale, this could be our way of taking young people off the streets and creating lots of jobs. But why? The innovation hubs would be centres for this fusion and would also help discover markets for the commercialisation of these innovations.
Every local government at this time should be a part of the global conversation on innovation that creates markets and technology. I have always opined that the real developmental data is in our rural communities and any local government that does not support the basic infrastructure that helps curate data would not exist in the coming years. Local Government Policies should be influenced by insights gotten from data and not on hypothesis. Innovation hubs would serve as spots where indigenes of our local government would touch base with the current technology happening and would also serve as a point for data collection.
“Real developmental data is in our rural communities and any local government that does not support the basic infrastructure that helps curate data would not exist in the coming years.”
nHub Foundation is our official partner for the management of programs at these hubs and would also serve to create partnerships with the global communities.
It’s important to keep teaching biology and chemistry. But in this century, learning how the Internet works, what an algorithm does, is as foundational as those other subjects.
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the Qua’an Pan Innovation Hub. Hon. Isaac Kwallu has given us a platform to demystify technology at the grassroots.
Governor Simon Bako Lalong strives to create human capital development in Plateau State.
Daser David is director general of PICTDA.