Zuckerberg ‘snuck‘ into the country on Tuesday, 30th August but made sure to ‘publicly’ eat the Nigerian Jollof rice, joining the likes of Keri Hilson on Nigeria’s Most Loved international celebrities.
He also walked the streets of the Yaba area; jogged with ‘regular’ Lagosians on the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge (never mind that one was Tayo Oviosu of Paga and another was one of Café Neo’s Dozie brothers);
All before he went to Kenya and came back to Nigeria for a visit to Aso Rock.
There were a few more activities but you get where we are going with this.
So what exactly does the world’s 5th richest man want in Nigeria? Why should this visit mean more than a week’s worth of sensational headlines and a cross-continental twitter trend?
What should the world, especially Nigerians, take away from the visit other than the fact that Nigeria really is in sub-saharan Africa or that Nigerians will pick up a fight over just about anything except everything that actually matters?
We have come up with 5.
- Yaba is Nigeria’s equivalent of Silicon Valley
No sooner than Mark arrived in Nigeria did Twitter blow up with jokes about how the mainland had finally won and how the ‘big-boys’ over on the Island needed to move over.
All true, all fun. The truth though is that Yaba has over time proved accommodating to the Tech guys with lower and competitive rents and less of the extra charges i.e. tolls and expensive food.
We already said this but the events surrounding Zuckerberg’s visit, have hopefully confirmed it to doubters.
Meanwhile, where does Ikeja stand in all of this? Jokes.
- The Tech industry in Nigeria has been on a steady rise over the years
This is not just to state the obvious. It is to say to other industry leaders to keep the work going or start the work. The more we encourage development from within, the less chances there are of foreigners ‘barging in’ to exploit talent and potential that remain untapped. (Side eye construction and research sectors).
The billionaire already had an eye on the developments in Nigeria’s tech scene way before this visit.
Andela was already doing good work training developers for the ever growing tech-market before Zuckerberg’s foundation donated millions in funding to the organization.
We were already writing about the saturation of the tech market in Nigeria before Zuckerberg decided to make, what may be described as, a courtesy call to Nigeria.
Anything less than that would have seen the likes of the social media giants tapping in first and in the end, rather than be the export market that it is, we would have been doomed to a lifetime of importing technology.
Hopefully this narrative doesn’t take a sudden turn.
- If you have a youngster who is still undecided about what to become, maybe nudge him in the direction of the tech industry.
Zuckerberg’s visit to Nigeria combined with all the plans by his company to dominate the world of ICT means one thing: Technological advancement across the world is not slowing down and Nigeria has some of the best talents to accelerate this growth.
If we want to be forward-thinking, we’d have to start encouraging more coders, developers, computer engineers, cyber lawyers and generally building a crop of young Nigerians who will be more employable that Generation U (Generation of under-employed and unemployable).
Right now, we have a lot of graduates (half and fully-baked) whose skill sets do not fit into the categories that the world’s current needs demand.
Parents need to drop the mindset that only a particular set of professional courses will lead to the success of their wards. Instead, need to must start to encourage the future generation to look beyond the boom and follow reliable trends in order to ensure their skills will be relevant.
- Nigerians pay too much attention to frivolities
Yes, this is in direct reference to the pounded yam vs Ugali episode and before that, the CNN reportage backlash.
Let’s even assume that the sub-saharan Africa headline was valid to an extent, if one considers the fact that too many people cannot wrap their heads around another fact that Africa is not a country.
Although, this article properly addresses that issue, let’s chuck that up to ‘Twitteractivism”.
But how, for the sake of adulthood did his visit to the two countries become a reason to start a virtual war?
- It’s time we remembered Gossy Ukanwoke and check on his progress.
For those who do not understand this. Start here.