The Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc, Dr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has urged the Federal Government to make computer literacy and digital learning compulsory in primary and secondary schools in the country.
Onyeagwu made the appeal on Wednesday in his welcome address at the Zenith Bank Tech Fair 2023 tagged ‘Future Forward 3.0’ currently holding at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The Zenith Bank GMD said that by encouraging digital education at a young age, Nigeria would be empowering its citizens to compete on the global stage and on the way to boosting its Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Onyeagwu praised President Bola Tinubu’s choice of Dr. Bosun Tijani as Minister of Communications, Innovation and Digital Economy, describing him as a “round peg in a round hole”.
“This is a man that I will say that among very oustanding appointments that the President has made, is a round peg in a round hole.
“Soon after he assumed office, he came up with a five-point agenda or pillar on which the digital economy and the potential of the digital landscape in Nigeria would be unleashed and managed.
“These key pillars are around policy, infrastructure, education, trade and innovation.”
Onyeagwu noted with concern the dearth of clear-cut policy guiding Nigeria’s digital upscaling before the appointment of Tijani.
He said that with the emergence of Tijani, Nigeria should be looking at entrenching good governance in terms of management of its digital landscape.
“In terms of knowledge, if you look at where we are too, the rate at which digital technology and technology advancement is going, compare it with the rate of digital literacy, you’ll find out that we’re behind.
“When I look at it, I say, ‘yes, this minister really knows what he wants to do’.
“The only thing I will plead with him is that in Zenith, we believe that we should begin to inculcate computer literacy and digital learning and making it compulsory from the primary to the secondary.
“So that, that way, everybody has a sense of awareness and appreciation of what digital environment is all about,” Onyeagwu said.
Meanwhile, Onyeagwu said that whatever Zenith Bank has achieved could be attributed to the foundational work of Dr. Jim Ovia.
“At Zenith, we are very proud of our heritage. We have a rich history and a very outstanding pedigree, and it comes from the vision of one man. Call him a sage, mentor, teacher, leader or icon and you’re right,” Onyeagwu said.
He said it was therefore fitting that Forbes magazine described Ovia as the “father of modern banking” in Nigeria.
Onyeagwu noted that 33 years ago when no one knew about digital technology in the Nigerian banking sector, Ovia framed the business philosophy that would guide the bank on people, technology and service.
He recalled that the Zenith Bank Tech Fair started in 2019 but was suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic before picking up steam in 2022 and returning in 2023.
“As we promised, it is going to be continuous. Hopefully, under the leadership of the honourable minister, we look forward to closer partnership and collaboration with the Ministry of Digital Economy to see how we can continue to prosper and enlighten the general public about the relevance of digital economy and the potential for incremental expansion of our GDP,” he said.