The Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) Inuwa Abdullahi, at the GAT Summit 2022 held on July 28, 2022, said that tech executives are now more powerful than political leaders.
Abdullahi in his keynote address titled, Regulating for the people – The role of Governance in Innovation used Alice in Wonderland as an example of how we discovered technology, but stressed that though, just like Alice who discovered the wonderland was excited, we, must not fall into wanderlust, stressing that the tech industry must be correctly regulated to curb the amount of power they wield as some big tech companies currently do.
What the NITDA DG said
“We have realised that the big tech sees us as free raw materials for extraction, production, commodification and sales.
“Our most dangerous illusion in the wonderland (tech) is that these platforms, supposed to be tools to increase freedom and democracy, are actually eroding democracy and diminishing freedom,” he said.
Abdullahi stated that tech executives are now more powerful than political leaders citing an example of how US president Joe Biden asked facebook to minimise the disinformation on their platform.
He also cited an example of Nancy Pelosi, US House Majority Leader holding a meeting with tech executives lobbying them to do her bidding. Abdullahi, in his address, suggested that big tech must be regulated so that they do not overpower the government.
He reiterated the federal government’s support of the tech ecosystem, assuring that the government has plans to help tech companies with funding and also intervene in the profiling of young Nigerians who are techies.
He revealed that in a bid to help the tech space thrive, a 10-point agenda presented to the federal executive council has been approved to achieve three things.
“To work with the FRSC to get incentives for those in the tech space, to work with a PPP to come up with a bi-border procurement process for tech companies so that government can patronise them, thirdly, to come up ways to protect the IP’s and patterns the government is working on all these and the startup bill will consolidate that.
In closing, he expressed belief that conversations like the GAT Summit, Nigeria will be an unstoppable force to reckon with in innovation in the world and called for members of the tech community to be more open to working with the government, stating that “I believe that there are things you can do as an ecosystem and government cannot do and there are things government can do that you cannot do but together we can do greater things and make you proud” he said.
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