The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has called for the aggressive deployment of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in governance for efficient and cost effective service delivery.
Obaseki made the call in commemoration of the World Development Information Day and the United Nations Day, marked on October 24 each year.
While the World Development Information Day is set aside by the United Nations to x-ray the potential of ICT in providing new solutions to developmental challenges within the context of globalisation, the United Nations Day marks the anniversary of the entry into force in 1945 of the UN Charter which brought the UN into existence.
According to the governor, “Information and Communication Technologies are a gift to relish in the light of the huge impact they are having on social and economic transactions among people and nations.”
He added that with ICT, barriers to communication such as physical distance, cost, time, money and other factors that impeded effective communication for several decades, have been overcome.
“Today, all forms of communication are conducted at unprecedented speed with user-friendly application solutions and mobile gadgets, making communication a great deal of fun.”
Obaseki explained that while ICT has revolutionised interpersonal communication across the globe, “same cannot be said of governance in most parts of the world. Internet penetration is still low in many countries and several nations are still wary of its full deployment, despite the gains recorded in the developed parts of the world.”
He further said that the hesitation by some countries to fully leverage on the force of ICT is expressed in the cold feet of their lawmakers towards repealing old and retrogressive information and communication laws to keep pace with the new devices and application solutions in ICT-friendly countries.
“We need ICT deployment in the health sector, revenue collection and management, payroll management, school administration, election, management of water and other natural resources as well as in agricultural sector and manpower development amongst others,” the governor said.
He challenged ICT experts to urgently come up with application solutions that can help in managing and deescalating health challenges like cancer, diabetics, Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome and Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and other burdensome diseases that deprive people of happiness.
Obaseki said that “with the celebration of World Development Information Day and the United Nations Day on October 24, key players in the ICT sector should consider how ICT can also be used to foster world peace.”
The General Assembly in 1972 established World Development Information Day to draw the attention of the world to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them. The Assembly decided that the date for the Day should coincide with United Nations Day, 24 October, which was also the date of the adoption, in 1970, of the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade.
Though the day was originally dedicated to disseminating information on development and its central place in the programmes and activities of the United Nations, many events and actors, in recent years, have interpreted the day to mean the reflect the place of new communication technologies such as the internet and mobile phones in development communication.