#DEFINED: Odu’a Foundation’s Ace Move to Upskill South West #Youths for Global Digital Competitiveness
…Launches Byte Busters Club, as 6 Govs Express Commitments
Odu’a Foundation, the not-for-profit arm of the Odu’a Investment Company Limited, has hit the ground running.
Just three months after its inauguration on July 27, 2023, under the deft leadership of Ambassador Dr. Olatokunbo Awolowo Dosumu as Chairperson, and other eminent sons and daughters of Oduduwa, serving on the advisory board, the foundation has birthed the #DEFINED project, an acronym for: Digital Education for Innovation and Economic Development.
The Project, deliberately designed as a catch them young digital educational intervention with a comprehensive curriculum for the first twelve school years, is an ambitious campaign that seeks to upskill #youths across the six South West states with necessary technological competencies and cutting edge digital capabilities for maximum and global competitiveness.
The initiative targets pupils and students but also incorporates the potential for the creation of tech hubs for appropriate skills acquisition for young adults. The entire project focuses more on children within the public school system and the less-privileged.
It was designed to take digital education and opportunities to all the 137 local governments areas in southwest states of Oyo, Ondo, Ogun, Osun, Ekiti and Lagos.
At the heart of the #DEFINED Project is also the newly launched Byte Busters coding clubs targeted for all primary and secondary schools across the south west. This, will be another significant digital step towards having a smart, globally competitive youth population.
Speaking at the formal launch event in Ikeja, Lagos, on Tuesday, October 24, graced by many eminent personalities from across the region including state governors, political leaders, top academics, students and traditional rulers, Dr Awolowo Dosumu said it was imperative to birth a new dawn of progress and development in the South-West driven by technology and best practices.
She said: “We knew from the beginning that for the South-West to continue to set the pace in Nigeria, we must focus on formulating and implementing cutting-edge ideas and programmes that will speak directly to the needs of our people’s present and future while consolidating on the gains of the past.
“Today, we are taking a significant step in achieving the mandate of the Foundation with the formal launch of what has been christened the DEFINED project – that is an acronym for: Digital Education for Innovation and Economic Development. Along with the DEFINED project is the introduction of Byte Busters coding clubs in all our primary and secondary schools across the south west. This, we believe, will be another significant digital step towards having a smart, globally competitive youth population.”
According to her, “Our young ones are our future. The youth are the drivers of development all over the world. A well-trained and properly kitted youth population will not only birth an economically viable society but will also engender the safety of all. As the Foundation grows, we pray that we are able to harness the talents and enthusiasm of all well-meaning members of the South-West towards accomplishing the best from this developmental initiative.
“As we can see from the name of the initiative we are launching today, it is about using education and innovation to drive economic development for the good of all. We need to ensure that our youths are equipped with the right education and the right skills which, we believe, will make them not only relevant but competitive in an increasingly technology-driven world.”
Speaking about the foundation’s efforts and acceptance including from diaspora, the Chairperson noted: “We have also discovered incredible eagerness to contribute, and selfless commitment to our nation’s development. Even our advance scouting team has discovered forty functional locations across the states that are ideal hubs for nearby schools as well as tech skills acquisition centres for young adults!”
“At this point, I must specially acknowledge the goodwill we have been enjoying from our compatriots in the diaspora. I thank, in particular, Professor Seun Kolade for the richness of his ideas and suggestions which have contributed substantially, not only to the initiative that we are launching today but also to its future growth, diversification and sustainability.”
She also called for support and close collaboration from all the owner-states of Odu’a Group, at all levels, to ensure the success of the foundation’s initiatives.
In his own remarks, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru, the Group Chairman, Odu’a Investment Company Limited, the parent company, expressed great optimism in the abundant potentials of the youths in the region and pledged total support for the foundation on its mission.
The Chairman stated: “Our objective is for the Foundation to achieve the highest possible impact, for the highest possible number of people. A dream that is one step closer to reality today as we launch this exciting and high impact Odu’a Investment Foundation Project. The results we are seeing in such a short period of time are a testament to the great success we believe the Advisory Council will achieve.
“In line with the mission of the Odu’a Investment Foundation which is to “…expand educational opportunities and promote youth development and information technology in Southwest Nigeria,” the foundation is therefore launching the “DEFINED’ project today.”
“The youth are at the forefront of the adoption of digital technology, and have the highest potential to benefit from what has become an increasingly evolving, and fast paced digital world. This Project will help position Yoruba youth for the digital age, by providing digital education, and creating opportunities for them to hone these skills in a supportive environment.” Ashiru noted.
He also expressed profound gratitude to the members of the advisory board including Dr Awolowo Dosumu, Chief Dr Onikepo Akande,OON,CON, Dr (Mrs) Victoria Adunola Samson (otherwise known as BOVAS), Dr Biodun Shobanjo,OON, Dr Segun Olugboyegun, Chief Wole Olanipekun, SAN,OFR,CFR and Mr Remi Makanjuola, OON.
He also appealed for funding and other support such as government grants, private-sector partnerships, and international diaspora support. “We will like to leverage public-private partnerships to secure sustainable funding for the initiative and are ready to partner with international organizations, universities, and businesses to provide Yoruba youths with exposure to global digital opportunities.”
Representatives of all the six owner state governments also took turns to express maximal support for the project and pledged to provide all necessary assistance as required.
Students from the International school, University of Lagos and others from Oyo states who belong to coding clubs, gave demo presentations of some of their pilot apps to the amazement of the audience.
Professor Seun Kolade, the DEFINED Project Director and renowned professor of entrepreneurship and digital transmission at Sheffield Business School, UK, wrapped up the epochal event with an inspiring keynote address which highlights the pivotal roles of technology and innovations in the fourth industrial revolution era (4IR).
He opined that the DEFINED Project was conceptualised to develop and hone digital capabilities of youths in a radical, holistic way, and build a future of tech savvy, transformative entrepreneurs who can leapfrog the development of the region and continent.
The event was graced by Elder statesman, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, The Akarigbo of Remo and Paramount ruler of Remoland, as well as members of the board of Odu’a investment company ltd. amongst others.