Osun State Governor Rauf Aregbesola has commended the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) for its role in enhancing digital inclusion and penetration in the country.
"I have watched with keen interest over the years how NCS has consistently driven technology on the path of national recognition and progress, even though it did not come without some challenges." These were the words of Aregbesola at the Fellowship Conference organised by NCS in Lagos recently.
Aregbesola, who was the Chief Guest of Honour, said NCS lived up to its billings in the past years as one of the best professional bodies in the country.
According to him, "information and communications technology (ICT) had become the cornerstone of development in our time, and ICT had revolutionised the way people do things. It has become an indispensable tool for growth and development at all levels of human engagement-personal and corporate, national and global.
He, however, said that in spite of the gains ICT had brought to Nigeria, "there still exists an unpardonable degree of digital divide between the developed and the developing worlds."
Referring to a recent report of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the world telecoms regulatory body, which reported that only one third of the world's seven billion people used the internet for research, communication and business, and that out of the 1.8 billion households worldwide, only one third had internet access, Aregbeshola said there was need to close the digital gap between developed and developing countries.
The report further stated that in developing countries, 25 per cent of homes use computers, while only 20 per cent of the number has access to the internet, and that there exist great disparities between Europe, which has almost 90, 000 bit/second of bandwidth per user, and Africa, which has the lowest of 2,000 bit/second per user.
Aregbesola who pointed out that the world's top broadband economies were from Europe, Asia and the Pacific, challenged Nigerians, through the NCS, to fully embrace technology through the use of technology tools and access.
He said the ICT industry remained one of the promising and rapidly growing sectors of the economy, and should be encouraged and supported by government, corporate bodies and individuals. ICT, he added, contributed significantly in the areas of job creation economic growth and transparency in governance.
He said Osun State invested heavily in ICT in driving the affairs of the state, and that its investment in computer for secondary school students was born out of the conviction that 'the future belongs to the digital age,' and that it would be disastrous if people were not prepared for it. Highlight of the event was the award for personalities and corporate organisations that have contributed meaningfully to ICT development in the country.
President of NCS, Mr. Demola Aladekomo, said NCS would continue to drive ICT awareness in the country, and that through such efforts, Nigeria would gradually narrow the digital divide that exists between it and the developed countries of the world.