By Damilola Adesulu
The Caleb University Disruptive Innovation Conference (CUDIC-2022) took place at the university’s main campus in Imota from Tuesday, October 25, to Thursday, October 27, 2022.
The second international conference on how to develop and create a new Nigeria capable of meaningfully responding to the challenges of a changing world of globalization and technology, CUDIC-2022, was held at Caleb University, the first private university in Lagos State.
“#Future Forward: Innovative Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Sustainable Development” was the conference theme. “Future Forward, Disruptive Innovations: What Next?” was the theme of the first international conference. (To view the report on CUDIC 2021, visit ThisDay on Sunday, October 31st, 2021.)
At CUDIC 2021, we raised the problems with the concepts of “innovations that are disruptive” and “future forward.”
The relationship between the future and the present is the first point of contention in “Future Forward.” “Future” can refer to the “near future,” while “ahead” might refer to the “period immediately after the presentation.
In other words, how will the near future advance future developments or strengthen innovations? Under what conditions will there not be disruptions when both the immediate future and the future after that are speculative?
In reality, we did inquire as to the question of whether innovation must necessarily precede disruption. Does an inventive endeavor entail disruption automatically?
The Federal Inland Revenue Chairman, Mr Muhammad Nami, responded to the 2021 query. He stated that “innovations have disrupted and transformed the methods of doing things, and disruptions will continue to evolve” in his goodwill message to the CUDIC 2022.
Therefore, in order to adopt and adapt to the changes, the government and enterprises must constantly develop forward-thinking plans. As a result, innovation can always be disruptive, especially in light of recent technological advancements.
The statement “technology is the method of creating wealth” was made by Engineer Chukwumaobi J. Adiele.
However, “capacity in the exploitation of technology is defined by technology-development or progress in the technology.” Efficiency and effectiveness in the development of wealth are determined by human capability, not by technology itself.
Therefore, the quality, quantity, and cost of newly created wealth are determined by the amount of technological progress (see his Technology-development, Are We Getting It Right? – Petroleum-development; Lagos: NIIA Lecture Series, No. 88, 2009, p.3).
What Next? was CUDIC 2021’s central question. The subject of CUDIC 2022, “Innovative Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Sustainable Development,” offered one response to the query.
Essentially, the CUDIC 2022 theme is about having the ability to use technology. Therefore, how should the innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem be comprehended?
What characterizes sustainable development? What comes next? was a topic posed in 2021, and CUDIC 2022 offered numerous explanations.
Meanwhile, Professor Olanrewaju Olaniyan of the Department of Economics, University of Ibadan, who was the keynote speaker at the CUDIC 2022 had it that ecosystem” refers to the elements – individuals, organisations or institutions – outside the individual entrepreneur that are conducive to, or inhibitive of, the choice of a person to become an entrepreneur, or the probabilities of his or her success following lunch.’
Additionally and more importantly, Professor Olanrewaju also noted that ‘organisations and individuals representing these elements are referred to as entrepreneurship stakeholders’ and that the ‘entrepreneurial ecosystem comprises… all the stakeholders, including government, bureaucracy, funders, and consumers.’ In this regard, how does the entrepreneurial ecosystem sustain development?
What is sustainable development, especially from the perspectives of the United Nations and economic theories? To what extent is the Nigerian environment conducive to creativity and innovativeness?
How can there be a linkage between the recently signed Start-Up Bill by President Muhammadu Buhari and the CUDID and CUDIC platforms for innovative entrepreneurial ecosystems? CUDIC 2022 provided more than enough answers.
And it’s true that CUDIC 2022 was pretty fascinating for a number of reasons. First, CUDIC 2021 was a two-day conference that took place on October 26 and 27, 2021.
The three-day CUDIC 2022 conference took place from Tuesday, October 25, to Thursday, October 27, 2022.
The lengthening of the conference’s duration is a result of both the growing public interest in the event and the limited time available in 2021 for a thorough discussion of the numerous themes that made the shortlist.
Second, CUDIC 2022 “is a venue for scholars and professionals to examine creative exploits and ideas that can make our world a better place in the period of the New Normal,” as stated by the Conference Director and first female Professor of Taxation in Nigeria, Professor Olateju Abiola Somorin.
The remark of Professor Teju Somorin was supported by Chief Adesina Adedayo, the 15th Chairman/President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria, in three different ways.
In his welcome letter to CUDIC 2022, Chief Adesina noted that the conference’s theme was appropriate since “it embodies several key components, including innovative reasoning and entrepreneurship.
It provides an opportunity for academia to address the long-standing gaps between the information and skills that the majority of graduates have gained.
More significantly, Chief Adesina posited that “profoundly, the present economic reality and the present day world of work acknowledge and value solution providers.”
Individuals that are innovative and can harmonise such innovative thinking to provide solutions to economic and organizational problems are almost indispensable.’
And most importantly, he argued further that “if we as a nation effectively leveraged the innovative disruptions occasioned by the Fourth Revolution, we could create entrepreneurial opportunities for our present and future generations.”
Similarly, effective harmonisation of innovation and certification could bring about a society free from the high rate of job seekers, poverty, anarchy, tyranny, and profligacy.’
Chief Adesina’s points simply lend much credence to the importance and relevance of the CUDID and CUDIC series as delineated and articulated by the Caleb University Vice Chancellor, Professor Nosa Owens-Ibie, and his management team of eggheads.
Thirdly, a list of 57 papers that were given virtually or in a hybrid format was provided. During the three-day conference, several of the papers were discussed concurrently in three syndicate sessions.
Every paper presentation was followed by a panel discussion, which was facilitated by an experienced academic in the field. Fourthly, the majority of the papers were created and presented collaboratively.
Three writers collaborated on the study titled “Passive Design and Sustainability Convergence.” Six persons contributed to the study titled “Assessing the Efficiency of Vertical Movements in Academic Buildings at Caleb University.”
In actuality, only 20 of the 57 papers that were presented at the conference were written by a single author. To put it another way, the conference was primarily an innovative manifestation of the growth of teamwork, which, grosso modo
Fifthly, and perhaps more significantly, the international character of CUDIC 2022 is noteworthy, especially in terms of the issues covered, the diversified nationalities of the presenters, and the various analytical frameworks adopted by the many presenters. For example, Filipa Correira, the Director of Tax Policy Unital Liaison Partner at Crowe Valente Associati GEB Partner, gave a paper on “Post-COVID-19 Recovery and Emergence of New Opportunities.”
In the same vein, Piergiorgio Valente, the Chairman of the Global Tax Advisers Platform (GTAP) and Professor of European Union Tax Law, Link Campus University, Rome in Italy spoke on “Value Chain Resilience and Transfer Pricing Challenges Ahead within a Sustainable Environment.”
Professor Adedeji Daramola, the DVC of Caleb University; Professor Moses Akiibinu, who coordinated the syndicate sessions, and academics who have served as pioneering heads of many schools of architecture as well as members of numerous international professional bodies, such as the International Advisory Board of the International Energy Foundation in Canada, were among the many Nigerian academics in attendance.
The excellent calibre of the presenters and the ensuing conversations brought up a number of intellectual issues that could establish new standards for CUDIC-2023.
For instance, thinking along the perspectives of Todaro and Smith (2006), Professor Olaniyan explained that ‘development is ‘a multidimensional process that involves major changes in social structures, attitudes, and institutions, as well as economic growth, reduction in inequality, and eradication of absolute poverty.’ In this same vein, ‘sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.’
And perhaps most importantly, Article 13 of the United Nations 2030 Development Agenda says ‘sustainable development recognises that eradicating poverty in all forms and dimensions, combating inequality within and among countries preserving the planet, creating sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth and fostering social inclusion are linked to each other and are interdependent.’ It was within the context of the understanding of sustainable development that the quest for innovative entrepreneurial ecosystems was investigated at CUDIC 2022.
The problematic in this case is that the number of the demand for entrepreneurs in Nigeria is reported to be quite high in some States and low in some others. For instance, the people requiring decent jobs as at 2020 was 436,113, in Nasarawa State, 461,253 in Kwara State, 476,904 in Ekiti State and 500,505 in Bayelsa State. When compared to the four States with the highest number of people looking for decent jobs in 2020, Kaduna State had 2,448,183 as against Rivers State’s 2,490,162, Lagos State’s 2,833,835 and Kano State’s 3,027,296 people. Holistically put, Professor Olaniyan had it that ‘the total number of Nigerians looking for decent jobs is 44,706,620 which is 25% more than the whole of Nigerians that are working. What and are decent jobs?
One important case study of innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem for sustainable development, which not only discussed decency or indecency of jobs but also underscored the dimensions of creativity, innovativeness, and implications for the making of a new Nigeria, is the paper by Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, author of Sweet Sixteen and seasoned journalist with ThisDay newspapers, as well as former Minister of Youth Development and Chairman of the National Sports Commission. Mallam Abdullahi spoke on “Innovative Communication, Media, and Human Development.” The paper investigated the innovative transformations that have occurred in the media and communications landscape and how the transformations have also impacted on the role of the media ‘as a critical driver of human development.’
You can read more of such stories at The Cheer News.
- ASUU vs FG: Students To Know Fate Soon As Court Set Decision Date
- UNICAL ASUU Chair: We Won Surrender To FG Despite Losing 10 Lecturers
In discussing human development, he observed, using the capability methodology of Nobel Laureat Amartya Sen, that the technological transformation of the media has created great opportunities which have attracted new players into the communications ecosystem but whose primary motivation is profit-making. In the eyes of Amartya Sen, development is ‘the enhancement of freedoms that allow people to lead lives that they have reason to live… Development requires the removal of major sources of unfreedom: poverty as well as tyranny, poor economic opportunities, as well as systematic deprivation, neglect of public facilities, as well as intolerance or over activity of repressive states.’
The epicentre of Sen’s development theory, Mallam Abdullahi explained, is the capability and ‘the functioning of each individual (i.e, the activities that one may undertake) depends on the set of actual capabilities with which one is endowed by a road constellation of social factors.’ And perhaps most significantly, Mallam Abdullahi recalled Mahbub al Haq’s four constituents of human development: equity in access to political and economic opportunities; sustainability of all forms of capital – political human, financial and environmental; productivity, and empowerment of people who must participate in the activities that shape their lives. Additionally, Mallam Abdullahi submitted that ‘democracy thrives only when the people have free access to correct information about matters that affect them and are able to use this knowledge to make informed choices and take decisions about their lives.’
Without any shadow of a doubt, if democracy thrives when there is access to correct information, does that necessarily imply individual happiness? How does that enable nation-building without agitations for separation? More precisely, how can creativity or innovativeness serve as a tool for building a new Nigeria?
In the making of a new Nigeria of our dream, how does ‘future forward’ apply? /what type of creativity and innovativeness will be required in the current democratic dispensation in Nigeria? Can Nigeria survive with the current constitutional democracy? On a more serious note, which type of creative policy initiatives can help prevent the disintegration of Nigeria, as well as enable sustainable development? Answers to these questions are largely a function of domestic environmental conditions. In this regard, there are three levels of political agitation in Nigeria: The north-South divide; the intra-state divide; and the conflicting policy divide.
As regards the North-South divide, two critical issues are involved: alleged Fulani hegemony and Islamisation agenda. Many notable Nigerians strongly believe that the government of President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) has a Fulanisation agenda. Can it not be true that PMB has a Fulanisation agenda based on his RUGA (Rural Grazing Area) policy, and various forceful efforts to acquire land for the nomadic Fulani herdsmen? President Olusegun Obasanjo was among the first people to publicly state that PMB has a Fulanisation agenda and PMB has not publicly denied the allegation.
General Theophilus Danjuma openly told Nigerians to take up arms and defend themselves in the face of deepening insecurity and incapacity of the Nigerian military to contain the excesses of boko haramism and other extremist violent terror groups against law abiding Nigerians. The main problem here is the forceful acquisition of titled land by Fulani herdsmen and without the PMB administration being able to bring culprits to justice. Divisional Police Officers often refuse to attend to issues involving the Fulani for fears of not wanting to act contrarily to instructions of their principals. In fact, the Governor of Bauchi State, Bala Mohammed, openly revealed during a television interview with the Channels Television that Fulani people from both West and Central African regions were being brought to the ungoverned spaces of Nigeria. His thinking was that the unexploited spaces in Nigeria are vast and that turning the land into a more productive purpose will enhance economic boom.
On the contrary, people who look at the various PMB policies, including pardoning illegal residents in Nigeria and giving them six months within which to regularise their stay, argue along the belief in a Fulanisation and Islamisation agenda. For now, the prediction of Muammar Gaddafi of Libya that Nigeria will never have an enduring peace until Nigeria is divided into Muslim North and Christian South is yet to be proved wrong. Thus, the apparent challenge for creativity and innovativeness is to come up with policies capable of preventing a break up into Muslim North and Christian South. The challenge is also containing Fulano-Islamisation of Nigeria. Southerners are very suspicious of Fulanisation agenda from the north while the PMB administration is adopting a manu militari approach in dealing with the agitating southerners. This is an intractable problem.
Igbo opinion on the existence of the Republic of Biafra is varied within the state, especially in the South. In the same spirit, there is disagreement over whether the Oduduwa Republic should exist in the Southwest. There is no doubt that the political leadership of Nigeria infuriates a large portion of the Yoruba population, who are now calling for a vote to secede from Nigeria. The Federal Government is responding with its entire armed power, which, far from putting a stop to the movement for self-determination, simply makes it stronger. The Igbo in the Southeast shares the same characteristics. The inconsistencies between political and constitutional policies are another unsettling factor.
On the one hand, the 1999 Constitution encourages religious secularism, but on the other, it does so at the expense of other faiths. The Federal Character principle was chosen to encourage national cohesion, fairness, and justice; nonetheless, nepotism of the highest calibre is the indisputable defining characteristic of political government under PMB. He opposes corruption. The corruption grows more institutionalized the more he fights. Under PMB, political governance is now typified by poverty and insecurity. Therefore, before CUDIC 2023, what fresh and original ideas can Caleb University develop that may be used as a tool for creating a new Nigeria?