I have written several times on how important it is for you to maximize the opportunities on the Internet. Use the search button above to read some of my earlier posts on this and try to put into action some of the ideas I discussed. Below is a transcript of the radio interview that I had with the Nigeria speak’s team of Rainbow 94.1FM, we discussed a whole number of issues that you would certainly find helpful.
You can save to a drive or listen to it here / http://db.tt/xA0DmPTI via your mobile device or desktop (I hosted the interview on dropbox because it allows you to always have your stuff when you need it with @Dropbox. Sign up for free! http://db.tt/oJtHqAeY)
Zika: Forty years or so ICT was for big businesses, major universities and government and the few people thought that the time will come when ICT will be available to just about everyone now. Now the time has come. Over the years ICT gradually spread to smaller businesses and lesser academic institutions than home computers arrived and then laptops and then smaller mobile devices, these facts of ICT lends looks at the how our lives have been, you know, changed by this technology for better and for worse. By the impact of ICT that includes both positive effect and negative effect in this and how individuals, organizations and societies are affected. Now the costs in topic today is how ICT impacts individuals and organizations and the society as whole and to talk about this is (1:00) CFA, which means Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata Jnr. He is an internet and search engine optimization consultant, he is the CEO which for him means Chief Encouragement Officer of CFA Leverage, a company that helps people and businesses on the bridge the ICT gap. Welcome Chukwuemeka.
CFA: Thank you, Good morning everyone.
Zika: Good morning and welcome once again.
CFA: Thank you so much.
Zika: Alright, great to have you in the show. So we’re looking at ICT. Let’s start, let’s break it down for those who don’t know what that is. What is ICT?
CFA: Well ICT simply means information and communication technology and its ruling the world, it’s determining what really happens today, you know. That’s the basic meaning of ICT.
Olu: You mean ICT determines everything?
CFA: Well basically almost everything, I mean I was just coming in here and in your security post. I saw the guys helping themselves out with a very small device and they’re watching a TV station there. (2:00) It just tells you that ICT is ruling virtually every aspect of human society today.
Zika: Okay, so let’s just say our world has become a global village we can talk to virtually anybody from across the world just by a little device, right?
CFA: Yeah, I think it’s even considered from a global village I mean it’s becoming a dot of sort, you know.
CFA: I mean it’s becoming a dot of some sort.
CFA: You know, it’s just gone beyond that. So anybody who is sitting in a global village is probably still living in the 1920s, you know.
Zika: I heard people who say I’m not interested in technology, I really don’t like, I don’t see how that affects me. We also have celebrities in Hollywood and in home video who don’t, you know, get involved with things like ICT. What are the lows and the highs of having this technology in our lives?
CFA: Well first of all it would be unfortunate for anybody living in our day and time to say, I don’t like ICT. What everyone can do (3:00) is to regulate how you use these things. What you seeing you can’t do without them into this World. So for anybody out there what you need to do is enable more strategies but you need just regulate it. I also agree that ICT has for instance one of the errs that I find that I really coming to play is a fact that we always now human touch, you know. Husbands and wife I mean so many times my wife and I will be in the room and she would be on her BlackBerry, I would be on BlackBerry laughing independently. And she would be like, ‘why are you laughing? I would say, ‘why are you laughing?’ you know.
Zika: I would help you with that. I went out on a date and then there was this other couple on the other table and had food in front of them and they were both chatting on BlackBerry’s.
CFA: How sad!
Zika: I said to the person who was with me? I said okay, is this how this is going to turn out? Maybe in the next 20 years probably we in the same moment, you tell your wife, ‘honey I want to eat in now, oh I’m making rice, be with you as soon as possible. So these are the lows.
Zika: What other lows we have with ICT? (4:00)
CFA: Well there are lots of lows, depression, loneliness, anti-restless. People are beginning to lose their ability to comprehend when they read, people are losing out on their retentive memories, these days’ people can’t even do simple basic mathematical calculation because they have all the tools available. So if you look at all the lows, ICT has its own lows’. I mean there is no two ways about it. I mean I tell people everywhere, you must regulate this things, otherwise they would turn around to hurt you, you know, I heard somebody who is in a science field told me that compared to our parents or our grandparents who used their brains for lot of things, we are much lazier in our brains. So it is possible that the brains of the younger generation would die the brain cells actually because according to him brain cells ought to used all the times for it function optimally. So there is lot of ills about ICT and that’s why we need to help people understand and educate them on the best way to use this thing. Otherwise it becomes detrimental.
Olu: Okay, CFA, you mentioned depression, how those using ICT? (5:00)
Olu: How could it make me depressed, it’s supposed to make me happier, make life easier? How would it make anybody depressed?
CFA: Well you know that when you use the word ICT it is very complex. So let’s just now read down to two things somebody like for example somebody who sits in front of the video game all day long, all week long is certainly is going to- because one of the things that God has done for us humans is to give us your fellow human. If your fellow, your friend, your family they bring joy to your life, you know, so when you actually not maximizing that, you know, it has its own effect on you. So if you are certainly being depressed certainly imagine these days’ a lot of people addicted to Facebook, they can’t do without Facebook.
Zika: What about Twitter?
CFA: Twitter, you know, Twitter too as well, they can’t do and this thing, you see, also the way the brain functions when this things come to your brains they’re distractions, your brain, the brain is not super at multi-tasking all the time, you need to (6:00) give it time to focus and achieve.
Zika: Alright I would like to ask you now, what can these ICT’s do for businesses, how can we use these devices, these technologies to advance our businesses?
CFA: Now that’s the beautiful part, you know, you see just like everything you like but it has own disadvantages and its own advantage. One of the advantages that ICT that can do that they can transform the business overnight, it can transform that brand overnight.
Zika: How can that happen?
CFA: Well it has a lot of ways to happen but I mean the first things first that you need to get out there and that would probably mean to have a website. Now when you have a website, you website needs to have content, I mean content to show people what you’re, what you stand for and content does not have to be just text. It could be image, it could be videos, you know, content these days of course mobile devices have so content. So you have content, you need to become content generator a content that speaks more for what you do. Not junk content but high quality content, now when you have that you need to get out there on the social media site on other sites, on social bookmarking sites, to get traffic to your website. Now the mistake a lot of people make is that, they focus too much on (7:00) Facebook and Twitter and leaving out their own brands. So what happens if Facebook wakes up tomorrow morning and decides to lock their account for whatever reason, Twitter does it for whatever reason. Yes we say, you know, when you signed the user agreement, you agreed to the fact that they can lock up your account with or without reason.
CFA: You know their own discretion. So we need to certainly draw a balance and the balance would mean that we need to also opt our game on our website and you know, whatever we do, you know.
Zika: Okay, so this is how it can help a business. We’re talking to CFA, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, he is an internet and search engine optimization consultant. Also the Chief Encouraging Officer (CEO) of Leverage, a company that helps people and businesses on leverage ICT. So call us on the numbers, you can do that. 0809949418 08080332991 08062914850 and 08078990755. Now I want (8:00) to come back to how this can help our society specially Nigeria. Where can you place Nigeria in terms of ICT advancement technologies and knowledge and technologies?
CFA: Well, certainly we are not maximizing our potential opportunity. I was in Ghana to speak at daily a West African IT conference and I can tell you that Ghana is in investing heavily in ICT. So whereas Nigeria has the population it’s not making, you know, there is no government back, there are no government they are granted, the current minister of information technology has a passion for it. But you see they still no it is still more, we are losing enough action, just two weeks ago Ghana launched a ambitious ten billion dollar project. You know, ICT complex, you know, and it wants to be the industry, the ICT powerhouse of Africa. Now mind you also Ghana is also building what it calls the ‘BPO’, that’s Business Persons Outsourcing what in there is doing today to the World, Ghana wants to be the (9:00) number one African BPO country and is also investing heavily in that. You know, I got interact with lot their government official. I just can say that Nigeria don’t maximize its potential; but mind you Nigeria still has one of the largest internet population. We are about the 10th largest internet population, we are about fifty million users’ almost sixty million users but most of the users access internet their mobile phone. We still just have the heavy population but we are not maximizing it as the people.
Zika: How would you expect us to maximize the potentials that we have?
CFA: Well first of all government needs to increase accessibility by driving down the cost, the cost of accessing the internet and then from our government officials tell everyone even educational institutions we need to get online. I mean, recently some guy, some top government official couldn’t even I say his website on the national television, he couldn’t mention.
Olu: His website.
CFA: He didn’t know the website of the organization he represent and happens to be a federal government represent or. (10:00)
Olu: The guy on TV
CFA: And he messed up, you know, I mean and then that’s it, ‘@.com he said that’s it, you know, so it just tells you that the people who are supposed to be ruling or guiding the citizens today don’t even understand these things and if you don’t understand how can you make policies that would help this things grow? Because I said recently that ‘America has about 14,000 universities a lot of those 14,000 universities over 50% of them are often online courses, you know what that means? That means I can sit in the comfort of my house in Nigeria and I’m doing an American course.
Zika: That, I want to ask a question. The online courses, how do we take examinations if you are going to do online? Can you cheat paper?
CFA: Well, you know, and also education too is advancing, you know, education is not when you have to cram your book and they come on right. No, that’s not what education is now you know, because you little understand and that’s why most of learn or what learn I mean I had went to school but I tell you that I have not used that everything I’m doing now I leant it on internet. (11:00) So it tells you that education is advancing. So online courses, yes you can hold your books but is it called cheating? Well the point is that the idea of the online course is that you are independent. So read at your pace, do the exam at your pace. So yes I mean, during your course that would be nothing I mean nothing stops you from opening your book but what they want you to do is for you to know what you are doing to learn.
Olu: You mentioned that how can our leaders appreciate ICT when they themselves are not aware.
OLU; How do you educate a politician who is busy going from one post to the other? Who is constantly a taking flight from one end of the country to the other. How do you make these people aware? I recall that during the last elections, one Politian had a very active Facebook account. I’m yet to know that if he was operating that account or maybe consultant doing that for him, tell us how we could educate these people? Because it starts with them.
CFA: Yeah certainly, I totally agree with you. You know the truth (12:00) of the matter is that I can bet the Politian wasn’t operating his account you know, certainly he wouldn’t have the time. But you see currently I have a number of very high placed Nigerians who are extremely busy that I’m helping to educate about these things. Now you don’t have to know everything about I but you know the basics, so it means that you can stay wherever you are and you can add your voice to what is happening. So the politian’s don’t have to know everything but they have to create time because if they don’t create time and interest then it won’t work. But they have to understand some very basic aspects, you know, searching a very top Nigerian how to blog, you know, and I help him setup how can he blog on his iPad and so he can be in one hotel and then something happened in the country, he can send out his voice if away he is. That’s the idea, he doesn’t have to wait your PA or for your IT specialist to do it, you can there just from that point just say something.
Zika: How about universities, how can we use ICT to better our universities as it is right now?
CFA: Wow! You know that’s just the funny one and it’s so sad, it’s so sad. (13:00)
Zika: For instance, I would like to give an example, you went to library to read and you don’t have data on the computers, you don’t have past information on the computers, what you have are just books. How can you, you know add ICT knowledge that we have to online raising universities and how can we use that to teach citizens as well in our universities n Nigeria?
CFA: You know, before I answer that question let me just tell you something that just happened recently. I went to join a prominent institute here in Nigeria and I sent them my email to tell them I wanted to join and then this institute replied me quite alright, give me the date and asked me to send someone to come to their office to pick up their prospectus. And I said to them, ‘why do I have to come to your office? Well they didn’t till date they did not replied that question. But guess what total institutes of marketig in UK are morally working on their examination. So what that simply means is that, that I don’t have to leave here, I will do everything from here, the exams everything from my system.
Zika: But doesn’t that make you lazy, doesn’t that make people lazy when you have you sit in the comfort of your rooms and homes you don’t have to go out, (14:00) you sit down and do everything right there without having to go to this places that actually see for yourself what the complexes look like?
CFA: Well, I don’t think it makes people lazy. You see everyone has what their time their time structure and how they treat their time structure. Now for me to leave what I do to go and pick up brochure, I think it’s a waste of time for me. The- what they should do I say institute is to get all the information because certainly the facilities they have on the internet. Now if they lie all I need to do is I eventually go there someday but not at the initial state, would be sometime. Now if a lie all I need to do is to go there and say the truth on the internet. So the internet puts everybody on the edge. We say what happened to the government sometime last year, it put everybody on the edge. So the before the institutes can do you must develop ways. Okay now another thing that where can I download the brochure on your website? Do I have to come and pick up brochure? No I think that doesn’t not maximize the technology. I guess I agree that technology can make you lazy, you need to draw a and that’s why I took the draw a balance
Zika: Balance, yes
CFA: You see what I’m trying to say that (15:00) that institution for now they have lost me for UK institution that actually is of even more international standard because UK institution actually has course on digital marketing which they don’t have here, you know, but I just want to say why our education is-they need to wake up, you see right now we have, I think over a million people sit for jam in every city and less than 20% of that is getting to university that’s about statistic. Now so what I mean is that the wise institutions are already coming in to tell people that all about I see it and there is no update on Facebook, I don’t see one institution advertising there, you can do a course from the comfort of your home. Now it is still expensive but overtime by the time the Indians I think the Indians are trying doing that to drive down the course and you see that it’s affordable. A lot of people can do that so you can do that while working. So I think it depends on the individual it actually can make you actually more hardworking depending on the individual.
Olu: Yeah you said you are working on some exams, with a university in the UK. What happens if you account is hacked and some student who needs this questions badly (16:00) has gained access?
CFA: Well now okay, hacking you just brought up something also that is very complex, you know, hacking is something that can to anybody I mean…
Zika: It happened to me once.
CFA: Yeah it can happen to anybody absolutely; I mean these guys are whisked. Well for me the answer I have to that because I tend to ad hey laugh. I said the first thing you need to do is that when you wake up just like you pray over life, you need to start praying your over internet accounts. Because you see your internet profile is as important as your passport today, you know, you have you have your passport you change it so much, you know, that’s how important if not more important your internet profile is because I mean, Colin Powell was hacked yesterday, his Facebook account, The guy pulled all sorts of disastrous things there.
CFA: Colin Powell had to come out to plead that this is not me and all sorts, but you see that’s damage control. The point is that Colin Powell’s Facebook account is sending out negative information. So yes your account can be hacked but I mean that is also (17:00) for me, also not an issue why you should not try, it get hacked there funny way.
Zika: What about issues of security, how can one secure whatever account they have on the internet? Is there anyway you can secure your account?
CFA: Yeah there are number of ways, you know, like I’m telling that for most people, you know, there is no bridge that happens without a lead way from the personal question I can assure you of that. There must be a lead way. If either the person was able to guess your date of birth, the person was able to guess your child’s name, you know, all the security question the person was able to get one or the person the your password was too weak. So one of the things you can do is to use secure passwords, that’s very critical. You must use secure password, a secure password means, alpha numerical passwords, it should contain alphabets, numbers and symbols across all accounts, it doesn’t matter if you have one account. So what we do most of the times again because were lazy at because we are too busy is that we use one password across multiple accounts.
CFA: And so that puts us at risk, so I can’t access to one account and then (18:00)gets into all your account. So we need to always use secured password irrespective of the number of the internet accounts that we have.
Zika: How can the ICT benefit those officials especially police and people who work with security and security agencies across Nigeria?
CFA: Well today you have very secret pens and some of them even have Bluetooth that you can connect online. So if our security agencies want to know about it, I mean, ICT is one way to really get them trained, government has started putting up some security cameras everywhere, that’s still benefit of ICT, because the video cameras are connected to the internet, so these are some of the ways ICT can help but again, how many of our police men can hold the gadget? If you need to now bring ICT fully and you go to them, they will probably tell you, wetine I go take this one do? You know, that’s what you’re going to hear. So you now need to bring a structure, in my opinion you need to overhaul the police force for them to be able to tap into ICT. The current force of police that we have now it will cost much more for them to be educated that’s the truth you know. (19:00)
Olu: So we have to incorporate this strategy from the onset, in their police colleges?
CFA: Exactly from the onset, they must have a basic ICT knowledge to be recruited. Because I mean how can you secure a place as Lagos as big as Lagos, we are now about 18 million people without ICT, how are you going to do it? How do you want to do it? So you need ICT to effectively police the modern state.
Zika: And you also agree with me that it is good to teach children by from whatever school, age they are come to use the computers and get them acknowledgeable about the computers as well, yes?
CFA: Yes, I agree but a lot of caution because these days you have children low as nine years, they understand what pornographic sites are, so they have to get precaution they have to be controlled but yes I agree that children should understand ICT from a very early age but that’s the future. I mean at no time in history have billionaires been made, you know, even though no Nigeria yet from the ICT that ever before, I mean ICT creates billionaires overnight.
Zika: People make money from blogging, a couple of bloggers around (20:00) who you know, tapping into the riches of the internet and the ICT and they are making so much money. A lot of people delving into blogging as well and website. So how do you market if you have a blog, how do you market the blog? If you have a website, how do you market the website to get traffic and to get adverts on your website?
CFA: Well I agree with that, Nigeria, it really picking up. I mean for me to be also be here a product of that, you know, it’s not as if I have some super skills but because over the time the Internet had helped to promote me. So I agree, now for what I do which is what anybody can do out there, same that every blogger does is that your content you just have to has to be hot content. So if you visit any of the blogging sites now that you know that are picking up they all have, you know, the trending topics, you know what’s happening. So for you as a blogger the first thing that you need to do is that you need to be a content machine. Everywhere you go. I mean I look around everywhere, I see a content from every single thing, I mean this radio show is a content for me.
CFA: You know, I will simply get back (21:00) transcribe what was discussed here and put it on my blog. So it means that for the next 2 days I don’t have to think about content.
Zika: Does that mean that you have to be creative minded to own a blog?
CFA: You just have to be creative mind. I mean, I have a couple of things I use am using now in the studio; a pen or paper, iPad, so you just need to deliberately find content and what you can do is because of the way we are you can simply when you think of an idea, you don’t have to develop it there. So you can’t think of an idea, for example; how businesses can use the Internet. You just leave it there as a topic, you go back to later and develop it. So you can gradually build content simultaneously. I have written over a thousand article and I would still write more. It just tells you that, content is king on the Internet.
Zika: Alright we’re talking how ICT impact an individuals, organizations and the society and we been talking to CFA, Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata, that’s very creative.
CFA: Thank you.
Zika: We are out of time but you know, we really have been educated, we have been schooled about how these thing work and how can we benefit as individuals, as a business, as a country, as government, as security agencies, as a society how we can benefit from ICT. He is also an internet and search engine optimization consultant, chief encouragement officer of CFA Leverage, a company that helps people and businesses leverage the Internet. If you want to reach him numbers to reach him on are 07040555333 or 08053533156 or 0803624573. Thank you very much Chukwuemeka Fred Agbata.
CFA: Thank you for having me on the show.