The director-general of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Mallam Kashifu Abdullahi, has called on Africans to leverage artificial intelligence, robotics and other emerging technologies to create games with African characters, culture and core values, seeing as most online sports and games are not in line with African culture.
Abdullahi expressed this view yesterday when hosting the president of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) Ibrahim Gusau on a working visit to the agency’s corporate headquarters in Abuja.
While explaining the possibility of creating a sporting game with indigenous characters, Abdullahi maintained that it is achievable because the agency can explore the innovation challenge to task the startups to come up with ideas that could “change the way we do things”.
He said: “We have trained a lot of people in creativity. Sometimes, we do innovation challenges to challenge people to come up with ideas that will change the way we do things.”
While reiterating that NITDA can challenge the startups to come up with the kind of sport the NFF wants to develop for the Nigerian market, the NITDA boss assured the federation that its request for intervention would be looked into.
“On your request for intervention, we have some pre-packaged interventions. Maybe, we can give you one this year and we can explore other options in the future. Let us know your specific requirements, so that we build them within our budget and see what we can do together.”
Earlier, Gusau said he was motivated to visit NITDA to see how the agency can help in the new area of e-football. “I don’t know whether you have observed in the world of sports, thatthere is now what we call e-sport which is currently booming. We want to be part of the e-football trending all over the world. People have keyed into the programme and we can’t afford to not be [a] part of it,” he said.
Gusau stated further that the technical experience of the agency would be needed to achieve the objectives of the programme. “We feel that we need people like you because we may need some technical support for us to achieve the desired objective of that programme; it is a technology-driven sport,” he maintained.
He noted that the programme would be run by private individuals but the federation would provide monitoring support and certain facilities for some people to participate and this informed the visitation.
“We need to brief you and see areas of assistance for us to establish a functional centre that will help us achieve the global objective, as far as e-football is concerned.”
He commended the NITDA boss for his exploits and the support he is giving to the sports industry, especially the football angle in Jigawa – his home state – noting that he had long heard about his support before becoming NFF president.