Calabar, the capital of south eastern Cross River State has become Nigeria’s first digital city following the successful installation of its metropolitan dark fibre optic network infrastructure, reports Ventures Africa.
The smart city initiative had been championed by the Ministry of Communications Technology last year as a way to kickstart Nigeria’s evolution plan of becoming a full-fledged digital economy.
The coastal state achieved this feat via a partnership with telecommunications giant MTN. The mobile operator oversaw the laying of extensive infrastructure comprising 120km of 96 core fibre cables and open access ducts spanning the entire city of Calabar.
With this accomplishment, Calabar has become the most comprehensively wired city for voice, data and video telecommunications and various technology driven services in the country. This is an enabling foundation for the growth of all forms of socio-economic advancements that ride on telecommunication technologies.
According to Odo Effiong, Special Adviser to Governor Liyel Imoke for Communications Technology Development, the infrastructure would not only facilitate improved telecommunication services but, in the long run, introduce a variety of technology driven services including access to information on tourism, security, transportation, education, health care, and other social services.
“The installed infrastructure is an important installment of His Excellency Senator Liyel Imoke’s vision of a non-oil, service-driven economy for the state. The development of ‘Calabar Smart City’ is a significant component of Cross River State building on its foundation as the nation’s tourist destination as it seeks to become the business and lifestyle destination as well,” Effiong said.
Ahead of its peers
Calabar, indeed, has made several histories in its existence. Currently, it is reputed around the world to be Nigeria’s cleanest city and carnival capital. It’s tourism potentials are matchless anywhere else in Africa’s largest economy and the state government’s investment in harnessing these possibilities are representative of a forward-thinking approach to governance.
Following the completion of this project, other Nigerian states yet to acquire the smart cities status are Bayelsa, Lagos, Ondo and the FCT. Anambra, Delta, Gombe and Osun states have also agreed to brace up to the challenge of becoming smart cities. Minister Omobola Johnson of the Communications Technology Ministry revealed, last month, that more state governments must sign the memorandum of understanding and become smart cities if the country will hit its target of becoming a digital economy.