Chima Onyekwere, Linkserve Founder/Chairman of Linkserve Limited, has told Technology Times that he hopes to become a major game changer law maker as he unfolds his political bid for a Senate seat in the 2019 General Elections in Nigeria.
Onyekwere, a Nigerian technology industry top player and current Chairman, Board of Trustees of Nigeria Internet Registration Association of Nigeria (NIRA) founded one of the pioneer Internet Service Provider (ISP), Linkserve, which was then a household name in its industry space.
The Linkserve Founder told Technology Times in an exclusive interview Tuesday in Lagos that it would be a disservice to the nation if he failed to contest considering his wealth of experience in the Nigerian business landscape.
The Linkseve chairman who was in February 2008 awarded the prestigious National honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON) by then President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, President and Commander–in–Chief of the Armed Forces of Nigeria, says he had decided to run for the Abia Central Senatorial District in 2019 General Elections on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
Explaining why he wants to be a Senator, Onyekwere told Technology Times that ”the laws in Nigeria make the State Governor limited in what they can do because the Constitution is structured around the Federal Government influencing policies in all the States. So, if you really want to make an impact, you should start from where you can influence the Federal Government. So, as a Senator, it gives one opportunity to influence policy and challenge the system for credibility.”
The Linkserve Chairman also explains that “if elected as a Senator, what I would like to see is to call for public discourse on the issues of concern. The portfolio of the Senator gives you privilege to engage in review of issues of concern to our people and I would do that with the lot of resources that are made available.”
The technology entrepreneur also believes that business innovation should come to the top of Nigeria’s priority agenda. ”If am elected, I will take entrepreneurs to the market where I can negotiate better trade deal that is very important and I would like to engage at that level. Having being involved in trade and commerce in the last 30 years, even though in the ICT area, I believe it plays a lot of roles in enabling entrepreneur to advance their businesses.”
According to the celebrated Linkserve Founder, ”I went to Secondary school in Kano; I also went to school in Ife. I have lived in Lagos for over 30 years. So, I understand Nigeria. So I am fit to play at the centre. My network and relationship with people from different ethnic group in the country will play a huge role.”
During the interview Onyekwere took a 360 degree view of the enduring contribution he made in pioneering Internet services in Nigeria.
”The Internet people could now enjoy freely, browse from their phones, for the same thing we suffered that four of us were detained. We were told to pull off our shoes. We sat on the floor, removed our shirts and then they took us to DMI (Directorate of Military Intelligence), which is in Apapa and kept us there.”
According to him, “what is interesting is that 10 years after, for the same project or for the same innovation, I received a National Award from the country. I thought it was a good way to say sorry and I really appreciate it”, Onyekwere tells Technology Times.
”The detention came as a result of the publication we did in the newspaper that there was no Internet in Nigeria. So we countered that and did an editorial that there was really Internet that was working and that we don’t need any foreign agency to fund this innovation that Nigerians have created using local resources to create innovation and that people should appreciate it and engage in it. We didn’t know that we are touching a sore area in the then Abacha government”, the Linkserve Founder says.