#TTOutlook17 | Zinox Chairman wants tech to drive change in Nigeria

#TTOutlook17 | Zinox Chairman wants tech to drive change in Nigeria

#TTOutlook17 | Zinox Chairman wants tech to drive change in Nigeria

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Leonard Stanley Nnamdi Ekeh, Founder and Chairman of Zinox Technologies Limited of Nigeria today told attendees at Technology Times Outlook 2017, #TTOutlook17, that tech must drive change in Nigeria.

Ekeh made the call in his presentation titled “Local Content: Unlocking Possibilities for Nigerian ICT Sector” at the two-day #TTOutlook17 which opened today at the Muson Centre, Lagos where he told attendees that “it is only a fool who believes there is no change.”

Technology Times Outlook, an annual technology thought leadership summit organised by Technology Times Media Limited, publishers of the Technology Times titles, brings together innovators, thought leaders and frontier thinkers to share their ideas and insights on policy, technology and market dynamics that will shape and define the Nigerian economy over the next 12 months and beyond.

According to the Zinox Chairman, “we are changing. The system must change. This is what I tell the government. The system must change to accommodate the younger ones and this country is very close to it. Incubation centers weren’t there. Incubation centres actually became a reality under ‘Mobola Johnson, former Minister of Communication Technology.”

Nigeria must make the younger generation her top priority as they are the future and they also are more technologically advanced, he says. “A lot of us are frustrated but the new generation; people who read computer science in the last five years are smarter in the market place.”

According to him, “the languages we are using are obsolete and these kids are earning more. I recruited someone and he said it’s N500, 000 last. I looked at his age and looked at the money he is asking and he graduated three, four years ago, but if I don’t take him, I don’t have a future in business.

“We look at innovations for tomorrow. Today, we are short-changed. There is nothing we can do. Your father is analogue, you grandfather is analogue and you are a matured citizen. You will be struggling for them to understand what you are talking about. So this is where we are coming from.”

“We look at innovations for tomorrow. Today, we are short-changed. There is nothing we can do. Your father is analogue, you grandfather is analogue and you are a matured citizen. You will be struggling for them to understand what you are talking about. So this is where we are coming from.”

Leonard Stanley Nnamdi Ekeh, Founder and Chairman of Zinox Technologies Limited of Nigeria seen speaking today at at Technology Times Outlook 2017, #TTOutlook17, in Lagos
Leonard Stanley Nnamdi Ekeh, Founder and Chairman of Zinox Technologies
Limited of Nigeria seen speaking today at at Technology Times Outlook 2017, #TTOutlook17, in Lagos

Speaking on promoting local content in the country, he further placed the younger generation at the forefront when he said, “local content in ICT will happen with serious acceptance when people of your age who are tech savvy start leading this country. That is in the ICT sector.

“Today, it is better that government talks about local content but have they implemented it, the answer is no. It is a big talk to get the budget and when they get the budget, they disappear with it. The only local content talked about in this country is the oil sector where there is no pre-qualification for you to enter.

“You can just go there and register a company and then the country sees you as a successful person immediately you say ‘James and John oil and gas servicing company’, even your village people believe you are very rich”, he told the #TTOutlook17 summit attendees.

According to the Zinox Chairman, “local content in this country is all about oil, but we started working before the oil. For those of you who are young, who are working hard today to make a point, this country was coming from minus one. You continue to struggle during your time to make a point. Like I continue to tell the younger ones, ‘you must be known for something positive.

“We have all paid the price and we are still paying. It’s a big fight but if I spend of 20%n of what I afford in the ICT industry on local content, maybe I would have been one of the richest people, it’s a non-business. That you succeeded is important but not as important as tomorrow because you are not dying today. This is where we are coming because information is key”, he says.

According to him, “any government you bring here will tell you ‘local content’ but what is he using? What is his child using? We pay the money, they patronise others, and you want to raise revenue, internally generated revenue.

“I pay tax, you patronize my competitors and what is complicated about application? And even this application you are looking for, what percentage of it do you really need to use? What is complicated about hardware?” Ekeh adds.

Recounting his speech at a church gathering, the Zinox boss said, “I was telling people at a church where I gave a talk ‘if you say Nigeria is not changing, you are lying’ for those of you who are 20, you came into a changed Nigeria. Lagos was not like this. The biggest shopping mall in Nigeria is Shoprite. In South Africa, it wouldn’t be recognised. That is a bungalow for how many stores but it happened 10 years ago.

“Before it, there was nothing. It was like an exhibition centre, people coming from Badagry to come and see Shoprite, but in the last three years, all the malls received different models all over the economy. So those people are now losing clients because you don’t need to go a long distance to shop. The younger ones should not be discouraged”, he advises.

He also shared his business venture into hardware when he says that these days, a lot of people read computer science but during his days, there was nothing like hardware institution. “What I was doing in the university post graduate was Computer Science, trying to specialize in user interface before I left the course.”

 Leonard Stanley Nnamdi Ekeh, Founder and Chairman of Zinox Technologies Limited (left); Yele Okeremi, CEO, PFS, Helen Anatogu, CEO, iDEA Hub and Wale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA today at Technology Times Outlook 2017, #TTOutlook17, in Lagos

Leonard Stanley Nnamdi Ekeh, Founder and Chairman of Zinox Technologies
Limited (left); Yele Okeremi, CEO, PFS, Helen Anatogu, CEO, iDEA Hub and Wale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA today at Technology Times Outlook 2017, #TTOutlook17, in Lagos

He also recounted how God used his university counselor to make him change his course. “We went out and she talked to me. She said ‘Stan, would you take a job in England or Ireland?’ I said ‘No, I am going back to Nigeria’. She said ‘why not work for few years now?’ I said ‘I’m going to Nigeria. I have already made up my mind on what I want to do.

“She said ‘let me tell you, Africa will not be computerized in the next 30 years so you are restless. You will be taking a huge risk. A person like you could commit suicide if you are passionate and you can’t deliver it. It is not your making but the making of the system so you have a choice. I have spoken with your parents. If you don’t want to stay here, change your course.”

Sharing the story of his business foray, he says that “this was how I left and went to read Risk Management in Nottingham University and after it, I tried to do Business Law which I didn’t finish and I launched into IT. I studied in India First Degree. It was a miracle I went to India. I saw India lacking. Indians couldn’t get a visa to anywhere in the world including Nigeria, it was a struggle but they continued to read.

“You see an Indian who read Mechanical Engineering. He also read Agric Economics, he is also a physician. They continue to read till they get the job. So with one qualification, they give you content 280 degrees. Who would you hire? You want to hire an Architect, you have an Architect who read Business Management and who is also a Philosopher and a Psychologist for the same money.

“You will hire the other one isn’t it? So this is where Nigeria is headed to. Don’t be discouraged. I am just here to inspire you and say local content will continue to talk”, Ekeh says at the #TTOutlook17 summit.

Elizabeth Edozie Technology Journalist @Technology Times 08077671659 elizabeth.edozie@technologytimes.ng

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