The Ika born Information and Communications Technology expert based in Abuja, Dr Donald Peterson has said that his desire was to see the whole of Ika land become the Sillycon Valley of Nigeria in terms of using ICT to create wealth and comfort, instead of allowing the youths being the active sector of the society to channel their energies to ventures that are inimical to socio-economic growth and development.
He made this assertion when members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Delta State Council paid him a visit at his country home at Orikeze avenue in Agbor, to recognize him for his community efforts especially on the angle of youth investment in computer programming, provision of social amenities to his community and of course his partnership with the NUJ over the years at the national level to help it achieve its ICT needs.
Leading a delegation of Council members on behalf of the Chairman, Comrade Patrick Ochei eulogized the young, resilient and dynamic ICT guru for his honest focus in seeing that the youths of Ika were productively engaged to drive the processes of actualising their dreams and that of others that would come after them.
Ochei also revealed that the Union was aware of how he singlehandedly carried out repairs on Orikeze street and other parts of his community road, including providing street lights which had opened up the area to economic viability and boosted security efforts.
The NUJ Vice Chairman, however, informed him of the Union’s desire to nominate him as one of those to receive the NUJ Merit Award in recognition of his youth investment and community development efforts.
Responding, the elated Peterson appreciated the NUJ for the desire to honour him, maintaining that the award alone coming from the Fourth Estate of the Realm would be encouraging enough to double effort in his quest to redirect the focus of Ika youth towards acquisition of skills and creation of wealth.
“Before now I hardly visited home. When I finished my secondary education at St. Columbus, I moved to London for further studies, where i studied even up to PhD in Economics today. But when I came and I discovered that Ika was drifting from anything that was positive, I then saw the need to contribute my quota before joining to blame government.
“I started by patching the Orikeze avenue road after the road recorded about 20 accidents last year. It’s a 3.5 kilometer stretch. I also decided to put street light on the road using my generator at home to power it after someone was kidnapped in the area. As I speak with you, we have achieved boosting trade in the area which has extended business hour and transcended into increase in revenue generation for the locals and enhanced peace amongst them.
“Now, I decided to change the concept of youth empowerment to youth investment, using my foundation – D. Peterson Foundation to first identify youths in the area, the inclination of their mind and then infuse their mind with knowledge and afterwards link them up with finance.
“When we opened up our portal for the training, over 495 instantly registered but we are training 100 in the first instance in Software Development. We are training them in Java free of charge which could have cost each person over N350,000.00 to achieve. Our training entails they are trained in software development, after which they do their project and prepare to access a CBN loan of N3 million per annum. This relevant skill in Computer Programming Technology with emphasis on Python Programming Language is for a duration of approximately three to four months.
“We are in partnership with the Delta State Government which has approved the College of Education Agbor for use through the Ministry of Education.
“Let me tell you this, I want to build a studio which can do everything in movie. From statistics, in 2015 Nollywood was worth N251 million dollars and N2 billion dollars in 2019. If we can channel the energies of these youths and tilt them towards the movie industry, you will be amazed at the rate of development and progress that could have come to our area. We want to change the narratives, we don’t want Ika people to be seen as touts but IT wizards. We want to have a view of cerebral people in IT.
“We want to define and find our path for survival in Nigeria and then establish our existence. If we realised our dream of building a studio that can digitally handle all sections of the movie industry optimally, then in 10 years, Ika land would have become the Sillycon Valley in Nigeria and the Hollywood haven in Nigeria”, Peterson explained.
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