By Jubril Bada
The Ondo State Government is exploring the vast potential of information and communication technology to scale up its economy, develop the state and also better the lives of the people where they live, work or play.
The Chairman of the State Information Technology Agency (SITA) Mr. Olumbe Akinkugbe said this in Akure during a sensitization meeting with stakeholders on the implementation of a Metro Fibre Network across the state.
According to him, the state government in collaboration with Oodua Infraco Resource Ltd, an Infraco consortium licensed by Federal Government to deploy high-speed and efficient Fibre Optic Cable (FOC) Open Access Network (OAN) across the southwest region are to execute the project.
This initiative, he noted “will not only turn Ondo into a digital hub but a destination choice for domestic and international technology companies, it will connect institutions through fibre and prepare the state for the 21st Century Smart City.
”The project will also help to promote youth empowerment, create jobs and improve the state’s Internally Generated Revenue by having fast, reliable and affordable internet connectivity through effective communication.
Akinkugbe added that ” the sensitization programme became necessary to be on the same page with all the stakeholders on the proposed fibre optic rollout infrastructure within the state.
He however, appealed to the people of the state across all communities to accommodate the workers of Oodua Infraco Resource Ltd who had been digging across the state but assured that all the private and public infrastructures tampered with “will be repaired or reinstated to the level better than what was met there before.
“Part of our sensitization is to encourage where there is a lack of oversight of what they are supposed to do, SITA is empowered to ensure that the monitoring and evaluation of the project is ongoing and in cases where there are infractions the citizenry are encouraged to reach out to SITA and inform us areas that are lacking.
“The reason we are holding this forum is to ensure that stakeholders, the community themselves are engaged and can engage the contractors and will not take laws into their hands.
Akinkugbe however, noted the challenges impeding the progress of broadband infrastructure deployment in the state to include Right-of-Way issues; indiscriminate charges and levies; hostilities by local communities; among others, which necessitated the stakeholders meeting.
The Project Director of Oodua Infraco Resource Ltd, Engr, Jimoh Sikiru Eneye, commended the state government for putting in place the stakeholders meeting, saying it will go a long way to establish relationships between the company and the people of the state
Eneye said “We are about to build Open Access Fibre Infrastructure that will take fibre broadband connectivity to all public buildings, GSM base stations, schools, hospitals and provide access to communities to create digital hubs, hotspots and remote areas all over the state.
Also, speaking on behalf of the traditional rulers in the state, Kalasuwe of Apoi land, Oba Prof. Sunday Amuseghan noted that the sensitization programme is coming late as the digging to give way to the project had caused some frictions in some communities.
Oba Amuseghan, however, assured the state government of the support of traditional heads in all communities to ensure the success of the project, but called on Oodua Infraco to engage some of the youths in the various communities for the project.
Other speakers during the stakeholders meeting commended the state government for it’s efforts to connect the state to global network which will bring unprecedented development to the state.