Meet the Millennials Leading a Tech Revolution in Nigeria’s Oil-Rich Delta

Author: #NAMB Guest Author, Real Life Stories

One of my favorite gifts was an autographed copy of The Fourth Industrial Revolution written by Professor Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum.

Prof. Schwab always speaks very passionately when he describes the transition the world is currently undergoing; in the book he describes it as something the world has never experienced before. In his words, “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”

Can we already see that transformation happening? Yes, shopping online is the new norm in Nigeria. When I wrote my UTME (Unified Tertiary Matriculation Exam) in 2008 I wrote with paper and pencil.

The peculiarity with the Fourth Industrial Revolution is that it will happen very fast and you might wake up one morning to find out that the world is totally different from what it was the night before. One of my favorite quotes from an article describing the digital revolution in The Economist puts it succinctly;

“The stone age didn’t end for lack of stones…”

For the Niger Delta, the world’s third largest delta, popular for being one of the major oil producing regions in the world, I keep asking; how would the tech revolution hit the region? Would we still be holding on to crude oil and one day wake up to realize nobody wants to buy our oil?

These are the questions that set me on the journey to discover what the tech future could hold for the Niger Delta and its people.

The Journey
In February 2017 I got the rare privilege to work with Stakeholder Democracy Network on a research project to access the tech ecosystem in three Niger Delta States namely; Rivers, Cross River, and Akwa Ibom States.

My friend and I travled for over 12 hours through Uyo, Calabar and Port Harcourt to speak with the people who are; starting hubs and co-working spaces, building apps, and organizing events and meetups to encourage the development of tech solutions to problems facing various communities in the Niger Delta.

This journey transformed me as you will see in the documentary. It gave me hope. It increased my belief in the region and its emerging millennials who are taking their destiny into their hands and making their voices heard in the conversations that matter.

This journey also increased my belief in myself.

The Workflow
I couldn’t believe that I actually shot, edited and completely produced a documentary with my mobile phone. Like, are you guys kidding me? I had never ever shot a documentary in my life prior to this time! I’m serious — I didn’t even know what I was doing.

RTE Journalist, Glen Mulcahy predicts that by 2021 the media will be dominated by mobile, and over 500 media professionals gathered in Galway for the 2017 Mobile Journalism Conference (MoJoCon). I myself got involved with New Media (and the internet in general) through my mobile phone not because it was classy but because that was all I had. I went on to produce an interview series out of curiosity that has now featured over 120 leaders and experts from around the world.

The idea of producing this with my phone didn’t seem very alien to me — even if this was my first shot.

I used my Infinix Hot Note 2 Android mobile phone alongside the following apps; Cinema FV-5, Camera FV-5, Wavepad, Sound Recorder for Android and KineMaster.

The Documentary
Too much talk right? Now see what I eventually made:

This is not an all-encompassing story. For want of time I couldn’t feature everyone from the Tech space in the Niger Delta who is doing amazing work. However, there will be sequels and you can follow me on Twitter and Facebook if you have story ideas or suggestions on how I can make these videos better. It’s been very fun experimenting film making with mobile.

Please don’t tell me to buy a better camera!


About the Author: 


Ebenezar Wikina hails from Kono in Khana Local Government Area of Rivers State, Nigeria. He is a digital journalist who is passionate about the role of new media in advancing the work of diplomacy and sustainable development. Ebenezar currently serves as Digital Communications/Research Officer at the Government of Rivers State Sustainable Development Goals Office. He contributes regularly on various local and international platforms such as; The Huffington Post, Ventures Africa, UNICEF Voices of Youth, City News Port Harcourt; and his writing has been featured on the United Nations Website, the World Economic Forum Blog, Agenda, CNBC Africa, to mention a few.On his globally-read interview column, The Stroll, which he started in 2013 with his mobile phone, Ebenezar has engaged over 120 global leaders and change makers around the world. In November 2014, Ebenezar organized TEDxYouth@OrdinanceRoad, the only TEDxYouth event in West Africa that year, and has previously volunteered for TEDxStadiumRoad, TEDxPortHarcourt and TEDxPortHarcourt Salon. In June 2015 he was one of the outstanding 80 youths and Global Shapers from around Africa selected to represent their hubs and countries at the 25th Anniversary of the World Economic Forum on Africa which held in Cape town, South Africa, where he was also a speaker at a public session on “technology and media consumption.” In June 2016, Ebenezar was elected Curator of the Port Harcourt Global Shapers Hub which has one mandate, to #ShapePortHarcourt. Connect with Ebenezar on Twitter @EbenezarWikina