Obinna Iwuno is a certified blockchain educator and community builder who is the Founder and Head of Crypto Bootcamp Community. As the newly elected President of SiBAN (Stakeholders In Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria), Obinna Iwuno is dedicated to leading a new dispensation in Africa’s blockchain sector.
In an exclusive interview with Technext, he shares his plans and intention to do things differently from the prior administration.
Obinna Iwuno stresses that the blockchain is an industry with potential that has not been fully maximised. He sees the burgeoning technology as the most incredible opportunity for Africa to level up and leapfrog the rest of the world for the first time.
“So it’s something we should take seriously and also take advantage of to position our nation and continent. The job of this positioning is critical and should be handled by the best hands in the industry.
Having looked at that, I decided to step forward to organise such an industry that can give Africa an opportunity which we have not taken advantage of.
Obinna was part of the just concluded administration. He was the General Secretary in the Senator Ihenyen-led administration, but there were controversies surrounding his office functionality and efficiency during that tenure. On the subject, he says:
“Well, that’s an issue in the past. We should focus more on the present administration and governance. The election is over, and nobody is saying that anymore. We are now focusing on this administration.”
“If SiBAN didn’t think I could lead them, they wouldn’t elect me. And if it was true that I didn’t perform, they would not have voted me.”
Obinna Iwuno agrees that factions exist everywhere in society, and they are important for society to thrive. However, SiBAN became united since the elections were concluded.
“I have brought back some aggrieved members of SiBAN because I am a bridge builder, and I’ll continue to build these bridges.
One of the things you’re going to see about SiBAN in the coming months and throughout this administration is to see more stakeholders, players, professionals and blockchain practitioners coming to SiBAN. This is an agenda for this government and we are driving it aggressively.”Obinna Iwuno
What Obinna Iwuno will do differently
Obinna says this is not a new administration but a continuation of the former administration, of which some changes and adjustments will be made. He made mention of six important points, which are:
- To align with existing players in driving blockchain development & adoption to the mainstream
- To support the continuous expansion of the ecosystem through blockchain education & skill acquisition
- To increase advocacy for inclusive participation of all sectors in blockchain technology
- To push for policy & regulations that will aid growth & innovation in Nigeria’s blockchain industry
- To create a link for builders & businesses to access the right partners and investors
- To foster collaborations amongst relevant agencies that will enable retailers & digital asset traders to operate easily
“If you look at these six things, they are the core critical areas of the industry. And I didn’t see that addressed holistically in the last administration, of which I was a part. Remember, I was a Secretary and not the President, and so the President is the one that sets the direction and the tone for governance. The job of the rest of the executive and cabinet is to support what the president is doing.
So now, as President, I want to focus on the core of the industry, the things that are the pinpoint of the industry, so we can address them and give this industry the capability that has been largely undermined, which is the ability to create wealth, achieve economic development and solve problems of unemployment and financial inclusion. This is what I’m doing differently from the last administration.”
Obinna Iwuno’s administration is drawing up programs/projects for massive blockchain education and awareness.
“As a President, blockchain education is the key thing I’m known for in this ecosystem. In my administration, we are going to take it a lot higher. We will see more mainstream adoption driven through blockchain education and awareness. Collaboration with communities, organisations, institutions and schools. If the only people who can understand blockchain are the educated ones, then we haven’t done anything.
We want to simplify blockchain so that the ordinary man on the streets can understand these things and how it functions. At least 50 per cent of our population should understand blockchain and use it.” – Obinna Iwuno explained.
State of the blockchain in Nigeria
Due to the confusion surrounding the legality of blockchain in Nigeria, Many Nigerians are unaware of SiBAN’s impact and activities. However, Obinna Iwuno says this is not an issue. Instead, the blockchain’s potential should be recognised because the moment the technology is recognised, SiBAN gets recognised.
“It’s not that they (Nigerians) don’t recognise us, they know us. We’ve had engagements with them. We’ve had training with them, we’ve gone to teach them. So it’s a matter of priorities and understanding of importance and opportunities before us as a nation. We are rightly recognised, anyone who says otherwise is just denying the fact that is on ground. What we are preaching is technology, not SiBAN as an association.”
There is an unalignment between Nigerian agencies that are supposed to work together. Some agencies (SEC and NITDA) are working in tune with the direction the industry is supposed to be going, and then we have CBN working the other way. In resolving this dilemma, Obinna Iwuno:
“We have reached out to the CBN. Let’s have a round table discussion. What are your concerns about this industry, and what do you want? We, as stakeholders, want regulation. We want policies to be enacted in favour of the industry. We can encourage innovation, so in return the industry can serve the economy.
These are the things we are looking at. We are also going to be collaborating with the SEC because it’s a critical partner in our pursuit for a robust industry. The blockchain technology is the only one that can be applied in all sectors. This means that every single sector in Nigeria needs the blockchain technology. What we want to do and achieve is that we want to make everyone understand this. so we can all work hand in hand to grow a driving and prosperous sector because there are massive opportunities.”
In conclusion, Obinna remarks that the blockchain is an important technology and that building SiBAN is a national assignment.
“We want to work with all relevant agencies. Both individuals and organisations. This is a call on everyone, from the government to the private sector to big players in tech to stakeholders in blockchain to join hands with my administration to make blockchain what it ought to be in Nigeria and Africa at Large.”
Get the best of Africa’s daily tech to your inbox – first thing every morning.
Join the community now!