Prof. Mohammed Ajiya, President/Chief Executive Officer of Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Abuja, has claimed that the SkillupImo project will boost the economy more than crude oil.
Hope Uzodimma, the governor of Imo State, launched SkillupImo through the Ministry of Digital Economy and e-Governance, which is run by Dr Chimezie Amadi, a former officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).
In a conversation with The Guardian, Ajiya noted that while crude oil makes up less than 8% of the nation's Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the digital economy—the driving force behind SkillupImo—contributes much more.
The training division of NCC is DBI, an international centre for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) research.
Of the six such centres in Africa, it is the sole International Telecommunication Union (ITU) centre of excellence in Nigeria.
“I commend Uzodimma for his foresight in making Imo the first state to create the Ministry of Digital Economy in Nigeria.
"This has gone a long way in positioning the state to harness the best potential inherent in the digital economy space.
“This is more than what crude oil is contributing. Oil is just contributing less than eight per cent to the GDP. So the future is really digital economy.
"This is where the world is going. In Nigeria, we should not be left behind.
"I hope other states will emulate Imo, and harness the potential in digital economy space.”
The first-ever state-created ministry of the digital economy has been led by Amadi, according to the DBI leader, a Northerner, who also happens to be the governor of Imo.
The professor added: “This SkillupImo is an excellent initiative. In the near future, it will see indigenes of Imo becoming masters of the fourth industrial revolution, which is digital in nature.
"Uzodimma is targeting Imo youths to become next generation of billionaires by participating in this digital space.
"This means the future is being brought closer to Imo
“Before long, you discover that state’s economy will be shifted to the new space.
"I just read that there are over 80 per cent skill gap in Japan that can absorb skills, which would be thrown up by SkillupImo.”