According to him, the nation, to do so, needs fresh ideas that should be translated to concrete actions.
Akinterinwa said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on the sidelines of the three-day Caleb University Disruptive Innovative Conference (CUDIC) 2022, in Lagos.
The theme of the conference is: Future Forward; Innovative Entrepreneurial Ecosystem for Sustainable Development.
He said there was the need to create a new Nigeria and for all hands to be on deck, to focus on achieving that.
“I think we should begin to appreciate God that He has created some people here in our country with sagacious minds, living in the people, thinking the people and looking at where the country should be in the future.
“If you see a people without vision, they cannot have mission. But when you have a vision, you can now begin to define, articulate, the modalities on how to get your mission in place.
“With all what I have listened to in this conference, it has been encouraging, intelligent and educating, such that I started thinking that this should be called Caleb University Disruptive Innovation Doctrine and Conference.
“This is to let you know that the foundation of today’s conference was laid last year, which is technology driven,” he said.
He said that Nigeria’s future would be largely determined by great and new ideas.
“We need ideas, and thereafter, translating them into concrete actions will follow. And this is where the role of media organisations such as News Agency of Nigeria, comes in.
“You know communication is a veritable tool in everyday life and this communication could either be vertical or horizontal.
“There is no problem when it is horizontal and there is no problem either, if it is vertical, if it is descending, because vertical communication can be ascending and descending.
“So, when it is descending, there is usually no problem. Problem arises only when it is ascending, because the people will react only when it is ascending, as the psychology of human differences does not allow people to agree on the same issues always,’’ he said.
The ex-director general said that most developed countries had always relied on the basis of factual findings, hard facts and proof to get to where they were, adding that it was only through such that Nigeria would be able to rediscover itself.
“I, as research fellow, a professional student, you cannot give me an idea, when you are supposed to give concrete facts. That is how we are able to distinguish between primary sources and secondary sources.
“And that is why I am very happy with the recent assent of the Start- Up Act 2022, by President Muhammadu Buhari. It is indeed timely.
“And so, in this case, this conference has provided us a platform to share ideas, to agree to disagree, to disagree to agree and to come out with new data, that will assist this country in its quest for accelerated growth and transformation,” he said.
Akinterinwa said that because today’s world was technologically driven, one would hardly achieve much without digitisation, adding that the conference could be likened to doing a ‘German flooring’ while constructing a building.
He said that he was optimistic that at the end of the conference, the university would serve as a tool for the implementation of the newly assented Start-Up Act.
According to him, with the act, it will promote communication, technology, digitisation and others, describing the development as a step in the right direction.
“This conference is coming on the heels of that act, which is perfectly in order.
“So, after this conference, Caleb University must strive to create a linkage between it and those that are directly responsible to that particular act.
“This is to allow theory and practice to be married and then, we can have a better Nigeria. There is no reason why Nigeria should not be the best country in the world.
“As of today, reports have it that Nigerian journalists are easily the most vibrant in Africa, same for its academics. It is that resilience that gets us going as a people,” he said.
In his keynote address, Prof.Olarenwaju Olaniyan, of Department of Economics, University of Ibadan, said the Start-Up Act was aimed at deepening the country’s technology ecosystem and enabling the sector.
He said that it must strive to tackle the unavailability of enabling environment.
He also said there was the need to tackle issues concerning regulatory framework as will as inadequate local content support.
“There is the need to bridge the gap between regulatory bodies and startups. It should enhance and provide for collaboration with regulatory bodies to facilitate seamless processes for labelled start- ups.
“The provision for such regulatory support applies to bodies like the Corporate Affairs Commission and the Nigerian Copyright Commission and others” he said.
He also noted that policy makers needed more support to close gaps in digital and innovation policy frameworks.
According to him, there is the need to make the formation of entrepreneurial activity a government priority.
He said that the formulation of effective policy for entrepreneurial ecosystems required the active involvement of government.
In his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Nosa Owens-Ibie, said the Start -Up Act targeted the growth of the country’s technology ecosystem.
He said this was with the National Digital Innovation and Entrepreneurship Council as the driver of required enabling environment.
According to him, what is happening is law and policy catching up with practice.
“This is because Nigeria today has a core of restless techpreneurs spread across the country.
“The old and especially the young are flexing creative muscles competing with, and in somewhat disabled local environment, with amazing results.
“Did you mention Paystack? Entrepreneurship is not only about technology and its opportunities, offshoots and businesses.
“Right here in Caleb university, a crop of steel-hearted and really hungry budding entrepreneurs are rearing to go and they have just a message; ‘we are ready’.
“They are indeed ready and this second Caleb Disruptive Innovation conference is expected to provide the energiser for a Discovery Channel,” the vice chancellor stated.
Mr Bolaji Abdullahi, a former Minister of Youth Development, said the conference was about creating the right environment for entrepreneurship and development.
He noted that the second component of it was about capacity development.
According to him, the country is not just growing but is also carrying everyone along, adding that this was not possible without the people, to have access to the right kind of information.
He also emphasized the need to harness the huge potential of the youth, adding that that was where the future the country lay.