Why Edo State is taking the lead in e-governance

Technology has propelled the world to the point where mankind could literally “converse” with the elements.

Man has harnessed the ether so much that the earth could one day be transformed into a giant spaceship, propelled by the very gravitational pull that should have opposed its acceleration.

As paradoxical as it may seem, this is just how far modern technological advancements could take humanity. Anyone who is unprepared for this new dynamic may find themselves unable to cope with a new era born simply from technology.

Global leaders and thought leaders in various disciplines have long seized on the new innovations that the digital age offers.

The world powers that, with the help of technology, could launch atomic weapons as early as the 1940s, some 80 years later, obviously took giant leaps forward in advanced technology; leaps that most developing countries have yet to imagine in their wildest dreams.

Today, any nation that is not governed by digitally-minded and innovative leaders can be left behind in the scheme of things, especially when it comes to the digitization of public institutions.

The private sector in many developing countries has since evolved with modern trends in information and communication technology and globalization in doing business, while the public sector in developing countries remains stuck in a analog; a reason why most public institutions in developing countries today are in a coma.

Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State understands this unique obstacle to progress in the modern world, which is why he has adopted an approach to governance that leverages technology for socio-economic growth.

In January 2022, the Governor announced the transition of the state civil service to a full-fledged e-governance model starting in February 2022, after a series of evolutionary steps taken towards the transition, such as the digitization of civil/public administration service which ensured the training and retraining of civil servants on technology-enabled service delivery.

Modern work ethics and etiquette have been introduced in the state civil and civil service, especially with the help of the Edo State Civil and Civil Service Transformation and Improvement Program (EdoSTEP), which has improved efficiency and service delivery in the state.

The civil/civil service reforms of the Obaseki administration in Edo State can still be studied as a subject of history, government and political science in various educational institutions in Africa and around the world .

Following the Governor’s position on e-governance, Edo State was recently proclaimed by the World Bank as the leading state in e-procurement, having awarded 38 contracts in four pilot ministries since that the Governor launched the State Electronic Portal in 2021 to engender a transparent and accountable process in state procurement/supplier exchange.

Through its electronic portal, the State has facilitated the purchase and sale of supplies, works and services between companies and administrations, through the Internet and other information and networking systems.

This giant step recently prompted the Nigerian Governors Forum to send delegates to Edo State to study the state’s e-procurement model.

The state education sector has since experienced a technological transformation since the advent of the Obaseki administration, starting with the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo BEST) program, which made it possible to train and retrain more than 11,000 teachers in digital pedagogy. as part of the teacher development training exercise, after which teachers and school leaders were equipped with teaching tablets and smart phones to support effective and quality learning outcomes.

The initiative that attracted the World Bank prompted the global institution to partner with the Edo State government to pilot the program.

Other states in the federation and across the coast have sent high-level delegations to study the initiative in order to replicate it in their respective states.

The success of the initiative culminated in Governor Obaseki’s recent launch of Edo BEST 2.0, which is now extending Edo-BEST to junior high schools and other higher education institutions across the state, including vocational and technical education and training (TVET).

The state’s undergraduate teachers were recently trained in technology-based teaching methods and classroom management techniques, after which they were equipped with tablet computers for effective lesson delivery.

Obaseki’s technological push did not stop with education, as the governor continued to equip Edo’s youth with sought-after technological skills and knowledge of computer programs.

The Governor established the Edo Innovation Center to bring young people together in ICT and provide them with access to ICT training opportunities, equipping them with the digital skills required for competitive advantage in the global ICT market.

In pursuit of his quest to make the state the nation’s leading tech hub, Governor Obaseki has partnered with Decagon and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to train the youth of Edo in engineering and technology development. software; a partnership that today gave birth to a technology hub known as Edo Tech Park.

Edo State as it currently stands could be considered the fastest growing technology hub in Nigeria at a time when many states in the federation have yet to realize the huge potential growth inherent in the global technology ecosystem.

By John Ewah

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Norma A. Roth