Presidential candidates: Kwankwaso, Obi, Atiku and Tinubu

By Omoniyi Ibietan

I am re-history here, Timi Olagunju’s review of the main presidential candidates and declarations of intent for the growth of the Digital Economy Sector. Olagunju, is a lawyer and technology policy analyst, and I start with his conclusion.

“In conclusion, the four main presidential candidates have a track record in technology policy, and each of them proposes policies to promote the growth of the digital economy. However, none of the candidates addressed issues related to data privacy and the need to review current data privacy regimes.

RABIU MUSA KWANKWASO states in its Manifesto that it would invest in scientific and technological research and development and would promote technological research, health and the development of indigenous technology. Of the four, he talks about the localization of technology.

He also talks about the promotion of technology that drives Nigeria’s industrial development, as well as a special allowance for teachers of science and technology subjects, and encouragement of skills and technology transfer.

However, the Kwankwaso Manifesto barely scratches the surface as it completely lacks the strength to address the technology sector in Nigeria.

Although Rabiu Kwankwaso, as the former governor of Kano State, was a strong advocate of using technology to drive social development and established internet connectivity projects throughout the state, his Manifesto lacks the substance to address the issues he faces. the sector.

PETER OBI, in his 72-page Manifesto, mentions the use of technology to combat terrorism, training the next generation of experts in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) and the application of technology in the public policy sector.

On page 33, he declares his intention to lead Nigeria into the fourth Industrial Revolution through science and technology in agriculture, transport, education, clean energy incentives and industry, a combination of public initiatives and state-run private companies to boost penetration. broadband infrastructure and the information highway.

In addition to Obi’s Manifesto, as a former Governor of Anambra State and a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Vice Presidential candidate in the 2019 presidential election, he was a strong advocate of using technology to drive economic growth and social development.

He was important in proposing the development of a national broadband plan during the Goodluck Jonathan government and advocated for a national e-commerce strategy. However, his Manifesto takes a simplistic look at the issues facing Nigeria’s tech sector without a clear policy articulation as to the approach to increasing internet access and digital inclusion or harnessing innovation.

His Manifesto does not have a single mention of IP or a review of the IP structure, which is ineffective at this time in transforming Nigeria from consumption to production.
ATIKU ABUBAKAR, in his 115-page manifesto, on page 9, states his commitment to promoting education that empowers citizens to promote innovation and technology. [education as means to an end, rather than as an end in itself].

In addition, it declares intentions to attract investment to the information and communication technology sector and the use of technology in security, such as stopping oil theft, promoting efficient port operations and surveillance; improve film production, as well as technological education for girls.
Regarding the legal regimes or frameworks in the technology sector, he proposed to review and harmonize as deemed necessary. For example, on page 27, he mentions the merger of the Trademark, Patent and Design Registry (TPDR) of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, the Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC) and the National Office of Acquisition and Technology Promotion (NOTAP) ]into a single agency on issues related to the intellectual property rights of Nigerians.

It also seeks to revise the Trademarks Act of 1965 and the Patents and Designs Act of 1970, but does not mention the Copyright Act in this review. [P.S: the proposed Amendment of the Copyright Act still awaits President Buhari’s assent].
Atiku further proposed the establishment of a Diaspora Bond-funded Technology Support Program (TSP) and the production of robust blockchain technology and cryptocurrency policy with a primary focus on opportunities and revenue for the government. and the people of Nigeria. Of the top four candidates, he acknowledges Blockchain as a currency on page 27, but his plan seems to focus on revenue from blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies.

Furthermore, of the four main candidates, only Atiku made reference to cybercrime and cybersecurity in his Manifesto.

On page 43, it states its commitment to use the right technology infrastructure that supports the end-to-end operations of government businesses for transparency and accountability. It hopes to empower key government agencies, research institutions and tertiary institutions to develop research and training capacities in renewable energy, especially solar and wind; artificial intelligence (AI); and nanotechnology.

Atiku fully devotes page 35 to addressing technology infrastructure, also claiming to promote science and technology research through the establishment of a National Research and Innovation Fund with funding windows to cater for employer-based training schemes, capacity support schemes for trainers and technological development. subsidies.

However, in Atiku’s first mention of technology on page 5 of Atiku Abubakar’s 115-page Manifesto, he stated that “as head of the Economic Management Team, I was instrumental in designing a private sector revival strategy and advocated for opening up the economy for private sector investment in the information technology (IT) sector.’ Atiku’s claim to head the Economic Management Team has been discredited as false as he neither led nor was a member of the Economic Management Team, although it was during his tenure as former Vice President that the Nigerian Communications Commission and the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency were established.

BOLA AHMED TINUBU in his 80-page manifesto, emphasized the use of technology to address insecurity, customs, irrigation, tax reforms, agriculture, railway surveillance, education and learning, pipeline vandalism, the power plant, monitoring infrastructure and promoting job creation.

His Manifesto was the only one of the four main candidates that mentioned the development of technology centers and parks, as well as accelerators and incentives for angel investors, to continue the development of a healthy technology ecosystem.

Its Manifesto also mentions the intention to explore innovations such as blockchain technology for security, ease, job creation, and accountability. On blockchain, the Tinubu Manifesto strongly expands its offerings to push policies for the prudent use of blockchain technology in finance and banking, identity management, revenue collection, and the use of crypto assets.

He did not attempt to define what prudent means and mentions crypto as ‘asset, not currency’. Does this mean lifting the cryptocurrency ban and acknowledging it or leaving the ban as it is? As of further discussions on page 54, Tinubu seeks to maintain E-Naira’s current agreement with the Central Bank of Nigeria. [CBN].

In addition, it mentions an increase in scholarships for girls in technological education. It also seeks to review the legislative and compliance framework for the protection of copyright and intellectual property in Nigeria, although there are no details on what this means and how. In general, the Manifesto seems to cite many foreign examples to justify its objectives without a strong concrete political articulation on the policy approach and specific vehicles for its implementation. The Tinubu Manifesto, when it comes to technology, is based on a myriad of big dreams and projections rather than pending policies or strategies to employ political vehicles to do what. It also seeks to uphold the Buhari government’s approach to engaging technology.

Finally, I, Omoniyi Ibietan, advocate that we take a look at the Manifestos of the leading presidential candidates and gubernatorial hopefuls in all states. We should interrogate their ‘Statements of Intent’ for the growth of each sector so that we can take on their submissions when they finally succeed in their respective ambitions. By my reckoning, of all those running for governor, Frank Nweke Jr. is leading the most intentional, conscientious, and issue-based campaign for the 2023 election.

*Dr. Omoniyi Ibietan is the Head of Media Relations Management at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)