250 tech innovators gather in Kwara for hackathon to improve govt operations

Date: 2023-02-01

Kwara State in Nigeria hosted over 250 tech ecosystem builders from across the country over the weekend to develop new ideas and digital skills to tackle various problems associated with government businesses. The event, which lasted for two days, was attended by contestants from states such as Cross Rivers, Kano, Nasarawa, Niger, and Kwara.

The contestants spent the entire night coding, seeking solutions for various problems including memo and letter tracking systems, data capturing systems, medical record systems for hospitals, and election monitoring systems, among others. The competition was organized by the state-owned Ilorin Innovation Hub, led by Temi Kolawole and was keenly supervised by a panel of judges.

Prominent participants and mentors at the event included Justina Oha, the Country Director for UK Nigeria Tech Hub, Hon. Mukhtar Shagaya, the House of Reps candidate for APC Ilorin West/Asa Federal Constituency, a representative from the Director General of the National Information Technology and Development Agency (NITDA), and Babajide Ajayi, the Director of Zonal offices of the agency. Other notable attendees included Kazeem Oladepo, the Vice President of IHS Towers, Memunat Monsuma, Engr. Taofik Abdulkareem, the CEO of Plat Technologies Ltd, and several government officials, including the State Commissioner for Communications, Hon. Sadiq Buhari, the Executive Chairman of Kwara State Internal Revenue Service (KWIRS), Folashade Omoniyi, the Managing Director of the Ilorin Innovation Hub, Temi Kolawole, the Executive Chairman of State Geographic Information System (Kw-GIS), Abdulmutalib Shittu, the GMD of Harmony Holdings, Abdulmajeed Abdullahi, and Abdulquowiyu Olododo, the Acting GM of state Social Investment Programme (KWASSIP).

In her keynote address, Justina Oha praised the state government for going digital and commended Temi Kolawole for his leadership of the Ilorin Innovation Hub. She emphasized that e-solutions are becoming a crucial part of processes globally and expressed the UK’s interest in collaborating with Nigeria and Kwara State in particular to develop a robust tech ecosystem.

Kolawole, the head of the Ilorin Innovation Hub, expressed that the program was organized to address key issues in government and revolutionize the way government operates in Nigeria. He stated that the government can become more efficient through the adoption of technology and digital transformation. He added that the contestants were grouped into 50 teams, each focusing on a specific area of government business and tackling identifiable problems. Most of the contestants were locals, selected to encourage and support local talent in the digital space.

The contestants worked on various projects, including letter and memo tracking systems, data capturing systems, and medical record systems for hospitals. Temi explained that digitizing medical records can save precious time in emergency situations and make accessing patient records much more efficient. Another project the contestants worked on was election monitoring systems, where they aimed to track and keep accountability of election results by comparing results from different sources.

Kolawole also spoke about a new project already in place, the garment factory online platform, a firm newly established by the Kwara State government. He explained that the platform enables people to order wholesale goods from anywhere in the world. Abdulmutalib Shittu, one of the judges at the competition, stated that they expected contestants to create innovative ideas that would improve government operations and enhance the delivery of services to citizens.

At the end of the competition, some of the ICT talents were rewarded with monetary prizes. The event was a huge success, attracting thousands of visitors and providing a platform for young people to showcase their skills and innovation. The organizers are already planning the next edition of the competition, promising even more exciting events and opportunities for the participants.

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