The Board of Trustees, SAIL Foundation, has officially launched the SAIL Innovation Lab facility in Ikorodu, Lagos State on Friday. The facility, which provides in-demand tech skills to motivated youths within the senatorial district, is an initiative by Senator Mukhail Adetokunbo Abiru and his wife, Mrs. Feyisola Abiru.
In attendance at the official commissioning of the facility were prominent personalities including His Excellency, the Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima; His Excellency, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-olu; members of the Governance Advisory Council (GAC); some members of the Lagos State Executive Council; royal fathers ; community leaders, as well as corporate and technical partners. Selected participants from previous cohorts of the programmes offered at the lab were also present to witness the commissioning.
The Vice President-elect who had earlier visited before the arrival of Governor Sanwo-Olu, in his goodwill remarks, commended Senator Abiru and his wife, Mrs. Feyisola Abiru, who is also Co-founder, for the initiative and expressed his confidence in the huge success stories that the innovation lab will birth in the coming days.
Senator Shettima said, “ I was overwhelmed with what I saw. It is a world class facility, erected within the community for the betterment of the community people which is the hallmark of leadership, the epitome of trailblazing service to humanity. I want to commend Senator Abiru and his wife”.
Delivering his keynote address, Governor Sanwo-Olu expressed gratitude to the entire Abiru family for carrying on with the legacy of service of their late patriarch, Senator (Honourable Justice) Mubasheer Akanbi Abiru.
Commending the effectiveness of public-private partnerships in scaling up the impacts of initiatives like the SAIL Innovation Lab, Governor Sanwo-Olu also went further to convey the commitment of his administration to ensure that Lagos State continues to set the pace in the tech space in Nigeria and on the continent.
Respected figures in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem commended the vision of SAIL founders. They averred that the SAIL Innovation Lab holds great prospects for sustainable empowerment of young people in the Lagos East Senatorial District and beyond. Dr Bosun Tijani, Co-founder of Co-Creation Hub, and a Trustee of SAIL Foundation, the owners of the lab, expressed confidence in the success of the SAIL Innovation Lab.
He said, “ It is our young people that drive innovation and growth. We have to engage and empower them to be able to do this driving. There are numerous people doing amazing things. It is what these people are doing that will drive innovation in our community. That is why the SAIL Innovation Lab is special. Young people in Lagos East Senatorial District will start to build solutions . The Fourth Industrial revolution is here. The future we are looking up to is already being controlled by technology. We have to participate and if not, it will be second level colonisation”.
Microsoft Country Manager, Ms Ola Williams was thrilled by the passion the Distinguished Senator has for young people. He and his wife, through SAIL, have provided a platform for enduring and sustainable development. She revealed that Microsoft was willing to synergize with the SAIL for greater impact.
Meta (Facebook) Head of Public Policy in Nigeria, Adaora Oshodi-Ikenze, described SAIL Innovation Lab facility as worldclass. She said the facility and the quality of faculty can stand shoulder to shoulder with any Innovation Lab in the world.
Managing Director, Bank of Industries, Mr Olukayode Pitan said the SAIL Innovation Lab demonstrates Senator Abiru’s passion for youth development and capacity building. He added that the Innovation Lab will impact greatly on the people of Lagos East Senatorial District.
The SAIL Innovation Lab was set-up in 2021 in partnership with Co-Creation Hub. Since inception, over 490 participants have benefitted from the several programmes in-person, while over 2,000 have participated in the online programmes. The innovation lab, which is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, is managed 100% by Co-Creation Hub, one of the biggest innovation hubs in Africa, and highly-trained facilitators who deliver the wide range of programmes the facility offers.
Mrs. Feyisola Abiru, Co-founder of the innovation lab, noted that the innovation lab was the first of its kind in the Lagos East Senatorial District and encouraged the attendees to “revel in the fact that all of us here are making history together.”
The programmes currently offered include Tech Talent Development Programme; STEM for Senior Secondary School Students; Lagos East Teachers Fellowship; Start-Up Accelerator; and Community Events and Ecosystem Engagements. In June 2023, the Innovation Lab is starting training in Data Science for Society. The call for application is already open to interested applicants.
Speaking on the vision behind the SAIL Innovation Lab and why it needed to be done, Senator Abiru: “Many years ago, it was enough to go to school and train to be a professional in a particular field – law, accounting, broadcasting, engineering, medicine and other disciplines. However, the realities of today have completely changed…the illiterate of today, not the future, would not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot speak the new language of the world.
“The new language of the world is tech – this is why the setting up of the SAIL Innovation Lab became necessary. It is not a project of the future. It is a project of today; one that needed to be done. Tech is the way and it was important to provide a platform for our ingenious youth in this district.“ Speaking further, he raised that the idea was to “deepen the acceptance of tech innovation in the Lagos East Senatorial District, using a human-centred approach. ”
The siting of the permanent location of the SAIL Innovation Lab was made possible by the support of the members of the Abiru family who agreed to dedicate their family home for this purpose. This is in continuation of the legacy of their late patriarch, Senator (Honourable Justice) Mubasheeru Akanbi Abiru, a distinguished jurist and prominent son of Lagos state.
The SAIL Innovation Centre will continue to promote support for youths in the Lagos East Senatorial District, making a difference with the power that digital innovations give.
For further information on the commissioning of the SAIL or the lab’s various programmes, please visit https://www.sailab.ng or contact any of the SAIL Innovation Lab.
*About SAIL Innovation Lab*
SAIL is an innovation hub founded by SAIL Foundation and the Trustees are Mr. Saheed Alao, Ms Fadekemi Abiru and Dr. Bosun Tijani.
The five (5) major programmes of SAIL reach across the value chain to develop tech talents:
Tech Talent Development Programme: Cultivates tech expertise and entrepreneurial skills among participants, turning complete novices into full-stack junior developers in just 6 months.
STEM for Senior Secondary School Students: Fosters interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
Lagos East Teachers Fellowship: Improves educators’ capacity to promote innovation and excellence in teaching through Inquiry-Based Learning approaches to impart knowledge.
Start-Up Accelerator: Supports start-ups through mentorship and resources to scale their businesses.
Data Science for Society for those who are interested in Data Science for solving societal and community issues.