ADDRESS OF BENUE STATE GOVERNOR, SAMUEL ORTOM, AT THE OPENING OF THE NORTH CENTRAL DJANGO GIRLS ANNUAL CODING TRAINING PROGRAM ORGANIZED BY THE YOUNG INNOVATORS OF NIGERIA IN COLLABORATION WITH THE NATIONAL INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY DEVELOPMENT AGENCY AND THE BENUE STATE GOVERNMENT ON MONDAY, 7TH AUGUST, 2017 PROTOCOLS:
I am delighted to welcome you all to this occasion of the North Central Annual Girls Coding Training taking place here in Makurdi. The event is targeted at developing a formidable ICT workforce for our State and to encourage our young girls to explore software development as a career path.
2. May I seize this opportunity to express our appreciation to the National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, The Young Innovators of Nigeria, YIN, as well as other ICT Stakeholders for their support and collaboration to deliver on ICT targets since the inception of our administration.
3. Information and Communication Technology, ICT, is fast impacting on every facet of life. The Benue State Government realizes this imperative hence its determination to deploy the sector to accelerate the pace of development in the state. This realization made me to pay a courtesy call on the Director General of NITDA, as well as the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, shortly after the inauguration of my administration. My objective was to solicit collaboration and support for the development of ICT in Benue State.
4. Our administration has also ensured that we have result-oriented officials driving our ICT sector. This indicates that for us in Benue State, ICT is serious business.
5. We have been able to develop our ICT Policy in collaboration with the NITDA and we hope that the document will be formally presented to us by the Director General on 8th September, 2017.
6. We believe that the implementation of the Policy will ensure a holistic transformation of our State with ICT as an enabler.
7. Our administration has sent an executive bill for the establishment of the Benue State Information Technology Development Agency, BITDA, to the Benue State House of Assembly for passage. We hope that this bill will enjoy smooth deliberations for passage and when signed into law, the Agency will commence operation by warehousing IC T development in the State. May we therefore appeal to the Speaker and members of the Assembly to expedite action on the bill.
8. Permit me to also mention that last week more than 50 volunteers were trained on effective use of the social media in the provision of governance and information dissemination. All these are as a result of our resolve to ensure that our state is not left behind in ICT development.
9. It is significant that for the first time, we have had the privilege of having state government officials serving as members of the Local Organizing Committee for GiTex to be held in Dubai as well as e-Nigeria in Abuja later this year. We are also preparing to ensure that we are fully represented at both events.
10. Our administration has also concluded plans with the Digital Bridge Institute to train primary and secondary school teachers in 2018. This is to ensure that we implement our ICT policy at these levels of education. We have also made available land for the establishment of the Institute in the State and have received assurance that budgetary provision will be made for it next year.
11. Let me reiterate our administration’s commitment to youth development as well as poverty alleviation as one of the five pillars of our covenant with the people. It is our hope that the skills that will be acquired during this training will add value to the participants and achieve objectives in this direction.
12. We wish to encourage participants to take this training serious as it will also provide them with tools for further development in the ICT sector. Our administration will also continue to support trainings of this nature that are aimed at value addition to its citizens in general and the youths in particular.
13. On this note, I enjoin the various stakeholders here to reflect on meaningful ways of collaboration with the State Government as our hands are open to support whatever that will add positive value to the lives of our people.
14. On this note therefore, I hereby declare this training open.
15. Thank you and God bless you all.
16. In God we trust.