The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Friday commissioned an innovation laboratory in Ikorodu.
The innovation laboratory — SAIL (Senator Abiru Innovation Lab) was set up by Tokunbo Abiru, the Lagos East senator, and his wife, Feyisola, as a community project to “deepen the acceptance of tech innovation in the district.
The SAIL project, which was initiated in 2021 is being operated in partnership with Co-creation Hub (CcHUB), a leading innovation center accelerating technology for economic prosperity.
The governor, who commissioned the innovation centre, commended the lawmaker and his partner, saying technology is the only thing that will give Nigerians advancement and opportunity to create solutions to problems.
He said the innovation platform ought to be replicated across the state to create more access for youths willing to pursue careers in technology.
“Africa missed the first Industrial Revolution, we also missed the second,” he said.
“We started with the Third Industrial Revolution at the tail end. We don’t have any excuse not to be key stakeholders in the coming Fourth and Fifth Industrial Revolution, because it is the technology that will give up the leapfrog and make a young person sitting in Ikorodu to compete with his peers across innovation capitals of the world.
He said that his government has continued to provide an enabling environment for international businesses to thrive.
“If a lot of us don’t know, Microsoft has made an investment to make Nigeria their Africa hub and create over five million job opportunities directly and indirectly,” he said.
“Last year, almost 60 to 65 percent of all technology driven investment came to Lagos — it is because of the opportunities that we have provided,” he said.
“Lagos continues to remain the tech hub in Africa, far over and above Cape Town, Nairobi … or even Kigali in Rwanda. Lagos continues to remain home to all the international players. Lagos is home to all the unicorns we have in our country – about five or six of them that are driving the tech space in Africa.
Mr Sanwo-olu further said the state, through its partners, are building a fibre duct cable.
“We have done over 2,000 kilometers of fibre duct laying in Lagos. We are doing what they call a metropolitan fibre mesh. They (ICT hubs) don’t need to incur that expenditure again,” he said.
The governor said that it will improve the capability of the Internet, “the internet will become cheaper, it will become faster and smarter, so that the likes of those that will be coming out of SAIL will be globally competitive.”
Speaking about the innovation centre, Mr Sanwo-Olu said that it was created for Lagos youths especially those within Lagos east.
He once again appreciated the senator and his wife for their vision, passion and interest to make an impact in the society.
He urged the students to take advantage of the platform adding that they don’t need to leave the country in order to compete globally.
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“You don’t have any reason to leave the shore of this place. Once you finish your training here, we will hand hold you and link you up with Microsoft, we will hand hold you and link you up with Meta,” he said.
The governor also informed the attendees that there are plans to make Yaba into a Tech Campus.
“We are currently building a knowledge-based innovation hub in Yaba, which is called the KITE Project,” he continued.
“The entire project area will be a tech campus for the youths. We have realised that science and technology are the future. This is where we see the synergy between our vision and the vision of SAIL Innovation Lab. We are also developing a new approach to converting our skill acquisition centers into tech hubs.”
Speaking more about the project, Mr Abiru, the co-founder said that about 500 participants have benefited physically from several programs offered by the innovation platform while over 2,000 have participated virtually.
The platform offers Tech talent development Programme, STEM for senior secondary school students, Lagos East Teachers Fellowship, Start-up accelerator and Community events and ecosystem engagement.
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