Engr. Lanre Ajayi is the Executive Chairman, DigiServe Network Services and the convener of e-governance conference. The conference had his maiden edition held at Sheraton Hotel, Lagos. He spoke to our correspondent on issues bordering on e-governance in Nigeria
What was the driving factor for putting together this e-governance conference?
It was put together to bridge a gap. We noticed that technology can do a whole lot to drive government processes but I think that we are too slow in adopting technology into governance in Nigeria. This is not the case completely as there are one or two government agencies that are doing very well but a good number of them are still laid back. So this is an attempt to sensitize the government about the things that still need to be done in making technology an instrument in their processes.
What are your expectations for the people who attended this event both during and post-event?
We brought experts together to share their expertise and perspectives, on how to adopt technology in government and people have learnt from that. Our communiqué is a summary of what was discussed. Post-event, we intend to push the communiqué to the appropriate quarters to let them know that this is what people are saying and these are the recommendations they have made to be able to drive governance with technology.
Are there any follow-up strategies to ensure implementation as it is not enough to just send a communiqué, it needs to be worked on?
The first step is getting it to them and I would be lying if I said I have an instrument I would use to force them to adopt it. We would just do our own bit and leave the rest to others who can take it up from there. We are not able to do beyond that and that is the honest truth but be rest assured that the communiqué that was read today will get to everyone that is important and can make a change in the process. We are also committed to keeping sustaining this kind of conference to remind people of what is needed to be done.
What is the role of the government in ensuring implementation i.e what actions do they need to take?
We simply want them to adopt technology so that if possible, there is an elimination of contact with government officials. A situation where I do not have to know any government official to take government services. I should be able to do all of that online which also helps to eliminate corruption because contact breeds discretion. In such situations, these individuals start using discretion to assess if they will give you a service or not which is a foundation for corruption. Basically, if contact is removed, so will corruption and I will have access to services more quickly. This is the message we are preaching.
What would you say are the barriers or challenges preventing the integration of technology in governance?
Human beings, civil service, civil servants.
In what way sir?
They are resistant to change because, in all honesty it does not benefit them. When you introduce technology, it exposes all the leakages.