They said that big things comes in small packages and the just concluded DEVFESTSS is a pointer to that notion.DevFestSS an ICT event in Ụyo last week was amazing, it was awesome it is a turning point and also the reference point on how the ICT ecosystem in Niger Delta would be gauged in near future”, said Johnson Hanson , the coordinator and founder of Start Hub Innovation ….And he is not far from the truth.
#DevFestSS event, an ICT event that brought geeks from the two sister zones the Niger Delta and South East. With tons of developers coming from surrounding states such as Cross River and Abia State , a state known for either manufacturing and crafts, but with the #DevFestSS event, some of the ICT stakeholders would be looking at some of the states like Abia with a different outlook.
Take it or leave it, Uyo the capital city of oil rich Akwa Ibom State, in the Niger Delta zone of Nigeria is changing their narratives from the oil and gas economy to Information and Communication Technology based economy. The youths of the state are serious about this and they are deepening their engagement and conversations are changing with some world class incubation hubs like Start Innovation Hub ,which over the years have attracted world class ICT firms and lately the DevFestSS, an ICT programme and event that saw geeks, developers, coders and venture Capitalist in Uyo just few days ago.
Uyo, in the near future wouldn’t be seen as an oil city but an ICT Hub, probably might take over from Lagos , the economic capital and former administrative Capital. What is going on for Uyo that other Niger Delta cities can’t copy and paste ? Capacity building, enabling environment and low restive youths associated with some of the key Niger Delta cities. In Ụyo and Akwa Ibom, you rarely hear of pipeline vandalism or some militants kidnapping some workers offshore or onshore! Not that it doesn’t happen in the city but it’s a rarity, that we must agree on. This has made the youths to be focused and go into coding ,with ample infrastructure , the youths have come to understand that the future is Cloud computing, Artificial intelligence, Big Data and all what not. With mentors like Johnson Hanson leading the pack, Johnson has come to be known as ICT face of the Niger Delta …and he is living it up with lots of programme from kids coders to real coder.
One of the young geeks , Samson Goddy, said that “I was afraid that I wasn’t strong enough to speak, because of my health issues. The moment I climbed the stage, all my pains and thoughts was suspended, because at that moment it was me and the 1000+ audience and I know, I need to deliver as promised. The amazing part was having my co-founder alongside Ada. We both talked about demystify open source”.
With a Panel of Coaches, Mentors and Judges for the 54 hours in a stretch , Techstar Global startup weekend was amazing and the great moments that happened would always be a reference point to the ICT ecosystem in the Niger Delta region. Young developers had the opportunity to engage, network, pitch and have a one on one with mentors. This is what is needed in a budding ICT ecosystem to leapfrog it to the level of the Eastern Europeans or even the India subcontinent.
According to Wisdom Anthony, one of the participants and a building developer he said excitedly that “Testimony Time! After the Long wait … Meeting Celestine Omin was a good one. Baba has too much sense of Humor. I used to think I was very tall … But see me among the short fellows.
He also added that “really learnt a lot on How money Flow through Paystack. If you own a business or you look forward to collect money from customers via Paystack … Would love to be of good assistance”. #devfestss#devfestssuyo
According to Iam Etefia, a digital awareness maker and mentor , he opined that ” My legs are gradually mapping out Africa in a bid to spread the Digital Gospel and engage in community activities. We would be live at Aba for Global StartUp Weekend 2018.”
These set of youths are constantly and consistently changing the narrative of the zone big time. With mentors like Johnson Hanson, Iam Etefia , Hotels.ng as a success story and world class facilities like Start Hub Innovation and other incubation centers scattered in Ụyo and today in the South Eastern part of the nation, it is a matter of time, in near future , actually that zone would be called the silicon valley of sub Saharan Africa . They have an eye on the future which is more of automation, Big data and artificial intelligence not oil and gas economy and they are walking the talk.
“I was afraid that I wasn’t strong enough to speak, because of my health issues. The moment I climbed the stage, all my pains and thoughts was suspended, because at that moment it was me and the 1000+ audience and I know, I need to deliver as promised. The amazing part was having my co-founder alongside Ada. We both talked about demystify open source”.
Anthony Emeka Nwosu