Presidential Candidate Oby Ezekwesili Clearly Understands Tech But Aren’t Her ‘Disruptive’ Plans a Little Too Vague?

Although Presidential Candidate Oby Ezekwesili Understands Tech, Her Plans Are Just Too Vague

It’s election season and politicking is as high as it’ll ever be. But it’s always crucial to understand who the political challengers are and how their policies could affect the country if elected.

Traditionally, candidates from the PDP and the APC command much more media attention. However, another candidate who is gathering spotlight is Allied Congress Party of Nigeria’s (ACPN) candidate, Mrs Obiageli Ezekwesili.

Although a former cabinet member during the Obasanjo era, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili is an outlier in the contest for next year. But she has amassed quite a following within the last few months. Though most of her support and campaign is done on the media (social media particularly), Ms Ezekwesili is confident she can go toe toe with the other candidates.

Recently, the ACPN flagbearer unveiled her manifesto detailing her objectives and visions for the country if elected into office. We decided to take a look at her plans and analyze how these might impact the tech ecosystem.

Mrs Ezekwesili identified 10 principles she aims to focus on. Under “Our Hopes For Disruptive Technology,” she clearly identifies the tech industry as pivotal to her administration.

According to her manifesto, the ultimate game plan is to make Nigeria a “productive, competitive, prosperous and secure country led by an intelligent and honest government.”

To fulfil this, Mrs Oby Ezekwesili says her administration would lean heavily on disruptive technology as she plans to make Nigeria critical to the ongoing digital changes happening in the world.

The presidential hopeful claims that her government would explore technologies ranging from artificial intelligence, Big Data, computing and Internet of Things, “to accelerate productivity in Nigeria.”

Despite using all the right tech terms, her manifesto was short on policy direction for the tech industry. Every pronouncement was vague and says little about how she will poise the industry for growth.

However, her manifesto did leave an important clue for what tech companies should expect from her. According to her principle on the private sector, Mrs Ezewesili plans to liberalise the Nigerian economy allowing for better understanding on the duty of the government and the private sector.

“By properly delineating the roles of all three actors [civil society, government and the private sector], we will enhance transparency, accountability, and probity.

“Our government will always strive to balance firm and fair regulation within an environment that creates incentives for prosperity and production.”

That last bit is crucial for the effective development of the Nigerian startup ecosystem. Successive Nigerian governments have played minimal role in the tech industry. However, the fact that they care less to review old policies and practices detrimental to startup progress has been a huge concern.

Mrs Ezekwesili says this will end under her watch. But again, how she plans to accomplish this is vague for now. However she does have good plans for the industry and country overall.

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