The Governor of Osun State, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, has said that the RLG Adulawo Technology City, a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) initiative between the state and RLG Global, a technological devices manufacturing company, is helping to power the state’s job creation drive.
Speaking yesterday at the RLG Product Discovery Day held at the expansive tech city located along the Ilesa-Akure Expressway in Osun State, during which the emerging tech giant launched a new range of innovative products, Governor Aregbesola said that the giant strides taken by the company had put to shame the contrary expectations of naysayers who saw the vision as an election gimmick that would fizzle into oblivion once recently concluded federal and state elections were over.
Describing the multi-million dollar initiative as a historic monument to the power of vision, the Governor revealed that the tech city had, in the last one year, provided direct employment to 150 Osun indigenes and is poised, within the next phase of its operations, to provide employment to 1,500 salespersons who will man kiosks and other sales outposts for RLG products.
Aregbesola revealed that workers at the RLG plant were graduates of the Osun Youth Empowerment Technology (OYESTECH) trained by RLG, and were the ones who assembled the beautiful products displayed by the tech company.
“This plant, a public-private arrangement between RLG Ghana and our state is the biggest in Africa and the first of its kind in Nigeria. Given the potential of the electronic market in Nigeria, a firm like this is a necessity. When fully operational, it will be able to assemble all kinds of electronic gadgets from mobile phones, LCD televisions, desktop computers, laptops, palmtops, tablets, air-conditioners, refrigerators, deep freezers and electronic device imaginable,” Aregbesola said.
Referencing National Communications Commission data, he noted, “As at February this year, there were 142.5 million active mobile telephone lines in Nigeria. Every year, not less than 10 million lines are added to existing ones in an ever expanding national tele-density. This means that if a mobile phone has an average lifespan of three years, in the next three years, there’ll be a demand for 142.5 million phones, in addition to the new lines that would have been activated then.”
“While it is practically impossible, in a capitalist world, for one manufacturer to corner this humongous market, we have the comparative advantage to capture a sizeable portion of it. No country in Europe, except Russia, has a market this big. This was our vision when we went into talks with RLG and we are happy today that the effort is bearing fruits,” the Governor added.
Highlighting the crucial role played by telecom giant, Airtel Nigeria, in the development and progression of the RLG-Osun PPP vision, Aregbesola enthused, “A significant breakthrough for the company (RLG) is that GSM service providers have also partnered with it. RLG has received and has delivered an order of 50, 000 phones from Airtel Nigeria,” while also revealing that a similar order had been received from another telecom company, Globacom.
The Governor thanked specially, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria, Mr. Segun Ogunsanya for “boldly identifying with RLG and agreeing to do business with us. Airtel is the fourth biggest telecommunications company in the world and must have considered RLG’s products capable of competing with global brands in the market and is willing to stake its reputation with us.”
He continued, “Our vision is that this company will bridge the gap, not only to assemble electronic gadgets locally but also to increase local content until it becomes a manufacturer of finished products and supplier of basic components like panels and semi-conductors to other manufacturers.”
“It is from this company that we will begin the assembly of our flagship e-learning device, Opon Imo. Our plan is to fulfill the needs of public schools in Osun after which we will start taking orders from other states. Indeed, we have received multiple requests from many states of the federation and it stands to reason that more requests will come the moment we start taking orders.”
The Governor expressed immense gratitude to the chairman of RLG Global, Mr. Roland Agambire, for his unwavering confidence in his state revealing that while negotiations on the partnership were in the embryonic stage, the RLG chairman “stoutly” resisted “formidable” overtures of an oil-rich South-South governor to hijack the project into his state. He also acknowledged and appreciated the representative role played by the Bola Oyebamiji-led Osun State Investment Corporation Limited (OSICOL)- the investment and business arm of the State Government – in the RLG Partnership.
Airtel Nigeria MD/CEO, Segun Ogunsanya said, “It’s a testimony of what we believe in at Airtel. We believe in supporting local content. Two to three years ago, most of the phones purchased in Nigeria were imported and labour was transferred out of the country but with the establishment of Adulawo Technology City, locally assembled and manufactured phones can be consumed locally. We don’t have a choice but to support that which is manufactured locally. We believe firmly in this project to create more jobs and and to create more knowledge.”
Mr. Ogunsanya continued, “If you marry tech with the right price, you create a vibrant market for your products and you create jobs, and with the knowledge you provide, you lift more people out of poverty. We will continue to partner RLG to deepen this project and to make phone sets affordable for our customers.”
During his welcome address earlier, RLG Regional Director, Mr. Ilesanmi Tosin, who was representing RLG Global Chairman, Mr. Roland Agambire, said, “RLG Asulawo Technology City is a huge milestone that we are celebrating in a special way. A lot has happened since the launch last year. Now, we have partnered with Airtel to promote our vibrant local content. Initiative. We’re working with Airtel to assemble flagship products here in Osun State for distribution across the country. We are also grateful to Intel who have helped us roll out these products and OSICOL for the role they’ve played. We hope this will be the beginning of greater accomplishments.”
A range of innovative RLG tech devices were unveiled earlier by the CEO of RLG Global, Mr. Alex Lu. They included the Educational Laptop EL3 (which operates both on Windows and Android platforms), the Smart Projector, the K12F e-Reader, the Trolley as well as three flagship mobile products an accessory including the Uhuru Titan, Uhuru Accu, Easy 95 and Smart Charger 4.
The educational laptop EL3, designated “Opon Imo” in Yoruba” which has been adopted by several schools in Osun state and across the country, comes pre-loaded with textbooks covering a wide range of subjects, providing students with multiple learning options that deliver visual representations of theoretical lessons learned in class. The monitor of the EL3 is detachable from its keyboard, and can double as a tablet. Also it is built with water resistant technology and can withstand an accidental 50cm drop without damage. Also, it has an inbuilt censor that regulates the websites that students can access.
The Smart Projector can perform the same functions as a computer, operates on android technology and can be used to access the internet without connection to a computer. The K12F e-Reader is easy on the eye, lighter than a paperback and reads like a printed page. With the Trolley, between 32 to 60 laptops and other mobile devices can be charged at the same time.
The Uhuru Titan which ranks along the Samsung S-series and i-Phones, is the thinnest mobile phone in the world and has the world’s highest cell density with 25hours standby, 14hours talking time, 11hours video time and 24hours internet surfing time. The phone which has many attractive features and innovative applications, has a 13megapixels back camera, supports 2G, 3G, 4G and 4G LTE next generation wireless technology which guarantees 40mbps upload speed and 150mbps download speed.
While acknowledging Nigeria’s population advantage and geographical size, Mr. Lu lamented the country’s shortfall in infrastructure and industrialisation, pointing out that Nigeria’s path to economic growth lies not with what he called its “demographic bonus” but with its “talent bonus” achievable through the education of its massive population.
According to Mr. Lu, “In terms of the level of education, Nigeria is 152nd out of 182 countries. An educational revolution is required in Africa, particularly in Nigeria. Our aim is to ensure that a teacher can reach an infinite number of students via the internet through a “flipped classroom” initiative known as the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) which has helped to train more than 200million people online. The EL3 is designed specifically to make this happen and to revolutionise classroom learning. RLG is positioned to train and empower Nigerian youths with the kind of knowledge that will set the country on the path of industrialisation.”