‘Lagos state must think of the implications of becoming a Smart City’- Obaro
John Obaro, Chief Executive Officer of Systemspecs
As Nigeria plans on economic diversification with Information Communication Technology (ICT) being a favourable option, industry stakeholders and experts have proposed the transformation of Lagos state into a smart city which would help develop and make more money for the state.
However, John Obaro, Chief Executive Officer of Systemspecs, software solutions provider and owner of Remita has warned Lagos state government to first consider and plan for the implications of turning Lagos into a smart city.
A smart city is an urban development vision to integrate multiple information and communication technology (ICT) solutions in a secure fashion to manage the city’s assets such as schools, libraries, local department information systems, power plants, hospitals, transportation systems, law enforcement and other community services.
Speaking as a panellist at the international Conference tagged: ‘Towards a Smart City’, which was part of the Lagos at 50 celebrations, Obaro said; “ In a smart city, it is projected that artificial intelligence and robots will come into this space and they are able to do many things that man can do. So when we are talking of the population of Lagos being about 20 to 22 million, I’m not sure if we have included the robots.
“By the time we include the efficient robots that would soon become part of our daily lives, we need to think of what that means if we indeed become a smart city.
“What is the implication of that for jobs, the type of education we provide etc. Because if we are going to be smart, we have to be smart in all sectors including education, agriculture, environmental improvement and protection. so if you’re smart in all these areas, what would be the implication for our jobs? these are some of the things we want to look at,” Obaro said.
According to him, Lagos state has to first think of what people would be doing in the future and convert that into a major opportunity, suggesting that Lagos should be made a software exporting city.
“The main accounting package driving the whole Nigeria is from a small country called Estonia. Lagos as a city can also export software such that we can make money from outside this small landmass,” he said.
Other members of the panel discussion on ‘ICT-Making Lagos the Technology Frontier of Africa’, included, Niyi Yusuf, Director, Accenture; Eghosa Omoigui, Founder of EchoVC Partners and Tayo Oviosu, Founder of Paga. The session was moderated by Sheri Williams, Founder of MTech.
The panellists called for an urgent need for the state to fully harmonies all data collected in order to build a smart city in terms of services offered.
Niyi Yusuf who described a Smart city as one that has embedded technology into the city design and management by using technology to drive value management and its use at different layers of infrastructure development said’ ”Lagos is on track to be a smart city if identity can be sorted and there can be Public Private Partnership (PPP) driven with the citizens at heart.”
In agreement, Omoigui said; “in Nigeria, Lagos remains the ideal state to drive this innovation.
Tayo Oviosu said that making a state ‘smart’ means all services are driven electronically, using same data, adding that if indeed, if Lagos wants to be ‘smart’, it shouldn’t wait for Nigeria, as a smart city should carve out smart health, education and agriculture, among others.
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