Welcome! This is HNR. Mrs. MojisolaOluwa Alli-Macaulay
There is a new world order characterized by virtual social, economic, commercial and political relations. Regional and national boundaries are now more of myths than realities. Everything about our world is changing in nanoseconds. We’re more virtual beings than physical beings at any time in history.
Like every phenomenon, the digital world comes with its gains and pains. It is therefore left for us to determine how we use this global reality to our advantages. The truth however is that a digital world is unrestricted, unstoppable, but bendable and manageable for individual, communal, national and global progress.
As of today, over 10% of global commerce is conducted online. The figure will triple in five years. It is now possible for a ‘Folake’ in ‘Isale Eko’ to transact business with Helen from the corner of New York without stepping out of her two bedrooms apartment. We are in the era of click and pay.
Our social relations have also been redefined. More people now find life partners on social media platforms like Facebook, Tiktok Twitter, LinkedIn, Snap chat, Instagram, and WhatsApp (just to mention a few) perhaps more than physical gatherings and associations. Recently, Suleiman Isah, from Kano married his heartthrob Janine Sanches Reimann after two years of online dating.
Economically, the economies of nations and global economies have been and will still be disrupted. Conventional businesses are giving way to new business opportunities. Paystack, a Nigerian startup company was valued to be more than 250 million some months ago. Recently, Nigerian and African fintech company Flutterwave announced that it has closed $170 million in funding, valuing the company over $1 billion. This billion-dollar valuation means that Flutterwave is now valued higher than some African banks, notably United Bank for Africa, First Bank Holdings, Access Bank, and Stanbic IBTC says, Nicole Dunn. The acceptability and usage of Crypto-currency for commercial purposes is on the increase. It is time to rejig our national thinking and policy.
From the way we choose our leaders to how we monitor election results, hold leaders accountable, it is a new political world order. Global relations among a community of States and other global entities are also not business as usual. The United States Secretary of State John Kerry just had a virtual meeting with the duo of Nigeria and Kenya presidents without any of them stepping out of the confines of their offices. International Conferences are more of teleconferences than physical assembling. A time may come when the annual physical gathering of the UN General Assembly may be unnecessary all thanks to virtual conferences.
The story however is not all positive. The cancel culture and bad wagon effects have left many homes shattered, resulted in the needless deaths of many innocent souls through suicides and physical snuffing of lives by the dreg of the society. Fakes and false information are on the increase. We seem to have more information but lesser knowledge than at any time in history.
In Africa for instance, where social values are cherished and embraced in time past, the reality today is that the communal and ‘Ubuntu’ spirit may soon go into extinction. At an individual level, we are closer but far away from one another than in the days of our forefathers. Friendship and relationship generally are more virtually done than physical. We talk communicate more but hear less of ourselves these days. Humanity therefore must be more circumspect with the internet of things and virtual communication if social cohesion is not to be foregone realities. It begins with you and me.
Parents, for instance, must pay more attention to what their children watch on various social media platforms, monitor and control, as much as possible, who their children virtual friends are, just as they do for their physical friends on the streets, in schools and religious settings. We either do it effectively for our good or ignore it to our perils.
There is also this aspect of the digital world, a delicate and volatile one. It is the debate on whether the digital world should be regulated or not. This debate is as necessary today as it was yesterday. No matter how much we shy away from it now, it is something that will have to be done one day. My stand, therefore, is that an unregulated digital world is prone to chaos just as an unregulated physical world is a world of chaos in which life therein was ‘short, brutish and nasty’. Be that as it may, I’m vehemently against any regulation law or policy which will lead to the gage of freedom of speech and expression; and inhibit other human fundamental freedom.
Thus, while an unregulated digital world is not feasible, it must however be done with care and caution so as not to impinge on the basic rights of individuals as enshrined in global ethos and constitutions of countries. Moving forward, wide consultations must be done with all different stakeholders in the society before such regulations are put in place for the benefits of all, and devoid of mutual suspicions. The timing of such policy must also not been seen to coincide with public uproar against unpopular government policy, and must not be designed to repress public opinions.
Finally, it is a privilege to be given the honour of speaking on this platform, and I sincerely want to thank the brains behind this programme for this great event.
Thank you all for your time.
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