As Nigeria continues to grow its economy and become desired destination for investors, Lagos seems to be the focus of all attention. Yet it is important to remember Lagos is just one out of 36 states in the country, and it would be expedient to gradually direct the attention out of Lagos to other cities that have potential for tech growth.
Recently, the author spoke to the founder of an innovation hub in Ibadan, southwest Nigeria, on the extra attention Lagos is enjoying to the detriment of other cities. Even though it was agreed Lagos is the best place to access almost all of what is needed to run a successful tech business in Nigeria, the overcrowding effect of so many projects in the same city means, sooner or later, tech companies will be forced to look elsewhere.
But before this can happen, other Nigerian cities must become proactive like the government of Lagos state and give techies a chance. They must make the environment conducive for tech startups and lure investors with concessions and offers.
Dapo Adesina, the commissioner for industry, science and technology in Oyo state, said he is already looking in this direction and planning how he could make opportunities available for tech students in the state and attract popular tech brands to the city. Other state governments should do so.
When the tech community says the tech industry in Nigeria is growing, it shouldn’t be referring to Lagos state. When IBM or Intel are setting up new centres in Nigeria, they should not be thinking only of Lagos state. Options like Abeokuta, Oguta, Eruwa and Igbo Ora should be considered.
The federal government can also champion this course by mapping out sites in various states for specific projects and sectors. Through the communication technology ministry, it can ensure that the tech industry grows nationally and every region in the country is actively part of the tech revolution. This is one of the ways through which the nation’s technology industry can record astronomic, phenomenal and exponential growth now and in the future.