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VP Debate: Osinbajo says FG has built six tech hubs, sixty-three days to elections

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VICE President Yemi Osinbajo says the Muhammadu Buhari administration is investing heavily in technology as it understands that it is the future of economic development.

According to him, the administration has set up six technology hubs in the six geopolitical zones of the country.

Osinbajo was speaking during the vice presidential candidates’ debate in Abuja which was held on Friday, exactly sixty-three days to the general elections.

“These technology hubs are being funded by the federal government, some of them are part funding,” he said.

The vice president added that the government is paying special attention to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) education, and has expanded it to become STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics).

“We have also invested heavily, even here in Abuja, in five model classrooms, for technology,” Osinbajo said. “We are looking at what to do on technology training, and how to make technology training available for everyone”.

This, according to Osinbajo, will include setting up “a technology advisory group”, comprising Nigerian technology experts around the world, perhaps to advise the government on how best to go about ICT development in the country. (He could not finish his sentence before his time was up)

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The ICIR cannot confirm whether the federal government has indeed set up tech hubs in all the geopolitical zones in the country.

In October of 2016, at an event in Ogun State, Osinbajo said the tech hubs were being built, one in each zone, with an additional “two super hubs, one in Lagos and one in Abuja”.

“We are building, at the moment six innovation hubs in the six geopolitical zones with two super hubs, one in Lagos and one in Abuja. They are basically to provide opportunities, especially for young people who are looking for investments in technology,” Osinbajo said.

He, however, did not specify where in the six geopolitical zones the tech hubs were being built, just like he did not say, during Friday’s debate, the cities where the tech hubs are located.

Osinbajo’s spokesman, Laolu Akande, when contacted for clarification by The ICIR, said the federal government has so far worked on several of such hubs.

“For regions and sectors where there is Innovation activity, we worked with existing players in the ecosystem,” he explained.

Providing details, he added: “In the North Central and South East, we ran the Start-Up Nigeria project supporting startups with Ventures Platform Hub in Abuja and Genesys Hub in Enugu. In the North East, we set up the North East Humanitarian Innovation Hub in partnership with the International Committee of the Red Cross.

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“In the South West, we set up the Premier Hub, Akure in partnership with the State Government and other private sector actors. In the South-South we set up the Marydel Hub, in partnership with the Edo Innovates program of the State Government. And also run programs and projects in the Tinapa Knowledge City.

“In Lagos, we set up the Nigeria Climate Innovation Center, in partnership with the Enterprise Development Center in the Lagos Business School, and the World Bank. The centre is part of the World Bank’s Climate Technology Program. In the North West, we are working with Colab, who have been listed to benefit from world bank GEM funds, and the Kaduna ICT Hub set up in 2016 by the state government in partnership with Zenith.”

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