A former Director General of Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), Prof. Adebambo Adewopo (SAN) has said youths occupy a strategic position in search for suitable and effective innovation and creativity using intellectual property (IP) architecture to deliver on national developmental aspirations.
Adewopo, however, said to guarantee sustainable national wealth creation and development, there is a need to speed up the reform of the country’s IP legal regime for effective IP protection and empowerment of the youth population.
He made the remarks a two-day intellectual property symposium organised to commemorate the World Intellectual Property Day in Lagos recently
At the symposium, Adewopo said: “It is as if the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) has launched a prognosis into the Nigerian demographic strength and enormous creative force for development as a point of reference.
“Given the current state of affairs, there is assurance that the innovative youths will benefit enormously from a significantly improved IP framework including enhanced enforcement measures that would not only harness their creativity but also protect their products in both the copyright and innovation space.
“This, for instance, has been well canvased through the introduction of legal regimes of digital copyright, traditional knowledge (TK), collective trademark, geographical indications (GI), service marks, and utility models, among other IP reform provisions.
“Therefore, addressing those imperatives in developing an up-to-date and effective IP legal and policy infrastructure as part of the national innovation agenda remains an important key to unlocking the full potential of the present and future generations of the innovative Nigerian youth population.”
He pointed out that current statistics showed that Nigeria has one of the largest youth populations in the world, considering that they constitute 60 per cent of the Nigerian population of over 200 million.
He noted that for any nation, those demographic data constituted one of the most formidable human assets to harness the transformation of society. He added that knowledge was the fabric of creativity and innovation, which constitutes the nation’s greatest national endowment.
“That, indeed, as we know, is the currency that drives the marketplace of ideas and the global economy of today, in which the development status of every nation is measured. The Nigerian youths are not only large in number; they constitute potent creative and innovative energy available” he stated.
Adewopo posited that it was imperative for Nigeria to key into the momentum of the global knowledge economy constantly evolving and reinventing itself to always seek solutions to old and new problems and ultimately meet the needs of society.
He indicated that the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) ranked Nigeria 118th among 132 economies in its 2021 Global Innovation Index (GII), having gained three points from its ranking of 121st in the previous year.
He, however, observed that in view of the key role IP played in the exercise, Nigeria’s ranking fell below expectation, “not only in terms of the level of development but also in the context of the creative and innovative potentialities of the Nigerian youth population, against all odds”.
“The rise and continuing ascendancy of Nollywood is the making of the youth. It is the same with the explosion of the Nigerian music brand on the global scene. Music stars like Wizkid, Burna Boy, Davido, Asa, Femi Kuti, Tiwa Savage and countless other talents personify the resilient Nigerian spirit.
“The same youth has strong showings in the world of digital technologies, building software, codes and solutions in different sectors to meet society’s pressing needs. They continue to shape creativity and innovation in defining their future. They continue to place Nigeria on the global map and echo the authentic African voice.”
He, however, expressed concern that the full force of the creative and innovative genius of Nigerian youths still remained largely untapped and undermined by the unfavourable developmental environment they found themselves in.