The Kwara State government has brought together at least 250 tech ecosystem builders in Nigeria to develop digital ideas and skills that will address some of the problems associated with government enterprises in the country and beyond.

The two-day event, which drew entrants from states including Cross Rivers, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger and Kwara, saw contestants code, seeking to offer solutions to letter and note tracking systems; data capture systems; medical record systems for hospitals; electoral monitoring systems; among others.

Hosted by the state-owned Ilorin Innovation Hub, some of the ICT talents were rewarded with monetary prizes at the end of the pitching exercise which was closely monitored by a panel of judges.

The leader, Ilorin Innovation Hub, Temi Kolawole, said that they organized the program to unlock some key solutions in government and also start a revolution in the way government is run in Nigeria.

“We believe that the government can become more efficient through the adoption of technology and digital transformation. The current mode of communication in government agencies remains largely
paper-based, which carries several risks. We are organizing this hackathon to unlock some key solutions in government and also start a revolution in the way government is run in Nigeria while supporting local talent,” he said while speaking to reporters during the weekend event.

He said the contestants were grouped into 50 teams and were each assigned focus areas and identifiable problems in government enterprises to solve, adding that most of them are indigenous people, who he said were chosen to encourage them to take advantage of their talents in the digital space.

“They have worked on solutions for letter and memo tracking systems, data capture systems, and medical record systems for hospitals. Do you know that hospital files are physical? When you go to the hospitals, you start looking for your records, after asking for your cards. Rather we can digitize all medical records; just enter a patient name or number, and it shows all your records. It can even be between life and death when you spend 30 minutes looking for a patient’s file. So these are little things that can be done to solve problems in our society, using technology.

“Another example of a project that we have is electoral monitoring systems. You know that we have different kinds of problems in the elections, you can send photos where the incidents happen. You can also look at the scores; how different candidates are performing in different voting units and districts simply as a way to track and maintain accountability to compare results from different sources,” he added.

Furthermore, Country Director, UK Nigeria Tech Hub, Justina Oha, in her keynote address, said that e-solutions are now becoming part of processes globally and praised state government for going digital.

He said the UK is interested in working with Nigeria and Kwara in particular to develop an enabling technology ecosystem.

“The governments of this world are looking for electronic solutions to become part of their processes and regardless of the outcome tonight, you are all winners as you contribute to the digital economy of this world and to solutions that will matter.

“Technology drives innovation. It has come to stay and will continue to be so. It’s really hard to imagine where the world will be in the next ten years just because of the principles of multiplicity. Things are happening in a very fast-paced space. And staying alive with your vision of technology is a sure way to become part of that movement.

“We will continue to work together to develop a conducive technology ecosystem in Nigeria and Kwara State. God bless this state and all of you,” she added.