Wednesday, August 31, 2016

WHEN MARK ZUCKERBERG CAME TO TOWN

Funny how CNN knows to say that "NIGERIA ENTERS RECESSION" but headlined Facebook's founder Mark Zuckerberg's visit to Lagos as his visit to sub-Saharan Africa. Of course, trust the vibrant Nigerian e-warriors to deal CNN a harsh response on Twitter, and at the same time not losing any opportunity to celebrate the epoch making visit of a great icon to one of the world's Facebook hub, Lagos. Yes, I wasn't fortunate to be among those who saw, walked with him, or made the audience at events he attended, but I followed every bit of his visit since the day he landed in Lagos, on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other social media platforms.


It is norm for me to put off my data on my phone before I nod off into somnolence at night, then catch up on instant messaging only when I wake and put it back on, but I woke up yesterday to find that my IMs have come into my phone, and I could even browse without data, which I quickly put out on Twitter in order to find answers to the free browsing I was enjoying without Wi-Fi, or putting my data on and to find out if it was linked with the presence of Mark Zuckerberg on the mainland. @GreyWorth provided me the much needed answer thus: "@madukovich @Gidi_Traffic Yes! Its called Facebook Xpress Wifi in collaboration with COOLLINK. He's also in Nigeria to visit the sites &....", unfortunately once I left my abode on the mainland for the island, where I work, I lost the connection (somewhere along the third mainland bridge). So it was that though most of us couldn't be part of his itinerary on the mainland we benefited from his free Wi-Fi.

MARK  ZUCKERBERG WALKING ON THE STREETS OF YABA, LAGOS MAINLAND.

Interestingly, when Mark walked the streets of the mainland like a mere Lagosian mortal (unlike the norm where wealthy and influential Nigerians, talk more foreigners as wealthy as Mark, would do same only with armed bodyguards and police/military convoy for security reasons) two days ago, the mainland/island rivalry was once again stoked, with "Mainland 1:0 Island" trending for a while, before Mark compensated the island with an early morning jog across the Lekki-Ikoyi bridge yesterday. For me it was a win-win situation as I spend my daily life on both sides of Lagos. While the day dragged on, I watched videos of his many interactions and town hall meetings in my spare time, which I managed to stretch a tad longer than the usual.
MARK  ZUCKERBERG JOGGING ACROSS THE LEKKI-IKOYI BRIDGE ON THE ISLAND, LAGOS. 


Much has been said about Mark's simplicity, but I had to see it to believe it. The movie didn't even do him enough justice, nor anything that I have ever read about him since he became a public figure. I was intrigued by the way he could easily relate with his environment, and with the people around him, many of which in this case were strangers. Despite his status, there was no single instance where he talked down on any body, even though I am sure a few of the questions put to him by the creme of Lagos techies may have sounded quite pedestrian to him. This man simply has no airs about him, even when he knows that visit of his, is capable of bringing these roses and diamonds from concrete and dirt respectively (in these cases, the tech and electronic entrepreneurs of Lagos that have suffered neglect from their own people and government, as well as the outside world) to limelight.

FACEBOOK FOUNDER AND CEO, MARK ZUCKERBERG MEETING WITH TECH ENTREPRENEURS IN LAGOS.


My greatest joy was the fact that he kept the  government totally out of it. Not the local state government, not even the federal could benefit politically from what he's done. Apparently, his visit must've been unannounced, as the usual evidence of Nigerian governments' incompetence (especially in maintaining security, and event bungling) at organizing an all-inclusive event of this nature was totally absent. Ime Archibong and his crew deserve a pat on the back for making this a totally hitch-free and qualitative visit, where every minute counted. I was proud to see Nigerian tech entrepreneurs (even Seyi Taylor, who was a year my senior in medical school, but never practiced medicine beyond the much in housemanship) give good accounts of themselves, as viable alternatives for a government truly willing to diversify its source of revenue, if only government could look for once to developing their capacity, sometimes just by providing the enabling environment for them to thrive, and freely express themselves and their franchise, in order to move Nigeria from a resource dependent mono-economy to a service driven, human capital developed and explored one, just like many of the developed countries with little or no natural resource. Unfortunately, Nigeria's  government at all levels remain blind to the opportunities and prospects, a visit such as this, can avail us as a country.


It is no surprise that Lagos is the home of innovation, and hence attracts personalities like Mark Zuckerberg. This is a city that regards enterprise in spite of the (state) government. The north of Nigeria prides itself with the visit of Islamic scholars and imams, from Saudi Arabia for instance, but that has done little to nothing in terms of improving the economic well-being of the people of such places (besides the building of  magnificent mosques), with crippling socioeconomic indices that leave youths and their impressionable minds at the mercy of religious fundamentalists and  fundamentalism. Not even the recent ill-thought out visit by American Secretary of State, John Kerry to the north last week while ignoring the rest of Nigeria will change the status quo that fans the backwardness of that region. Governors of other states, even the president go investor-fishing abroad to no success, because nothing they do at home, especially in terms of policies show foreign investors that they are indeed willing to accommodate and keep them within the country. The reverse is the case with Lagos. Mark Zuckerbergs' visit will encourage that niche in Lagos, that are proper citizens of the world, who have always wondered if someone out there is noticing the feat they've managed to achieve and keep achieving against all odds. They have the answer now, and the sky just ceased to be their limit.


'kovich


PICTURE CREDITS:
- http://www.nairatrends.com
- http://www.nairaland.com
- http://www.tech point.ng

2 comments:

  1. Well read. Mark Zukerburg's visit to Nig is most welcomed. First of all, people here can now testify of his simplicity, a personality who's richer than Africa's richest man, Dangote. I hope that one day if not now, the "well to do" from Nig will imbibe that nature.

    I strongly hope that his visit will directly benefit Nigerians of opportunities in IT and that his meeting with developers, entrepreneurs and starters will yield clear results.

    I also hope that he'll use this opportunity to visit orphanages, hospitals and few ghettos to see if he can extend his graceful charity co-run with his wife, Chan, to Nig less priveledged.

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    1. Yea, he really personifies simplicity. I doubt that Nigeria's wealthy would ever be like that. Even the poor ain't even simple in outlook.

      His visit surely will impact the IT sector positively and immensely, as collaborations and engagements become strengthened in the coming days.

      He didn't visit the less privileged on this visit though. The last day was spent with and in Nollywood.

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