Why We Did Not Organise Genesys Ignite ’19

If you are an attentive follower of the South-South and South-East region’s tech timeline, you’d notice the vast array of events always scheduled for November every year. These events are strategically set to end the year on a high note and doubles as a cumulative of the pocket of activities in tech in the region. High profile individuals in Nigeria’s tech sector are likely to be free during this month and organisers try to get them to speak at events happening in cities across the region.

Genesys Ignite is one of such events that are famously organised in the 11th month. Organised by Genesys Tech Hub in Enugu, the tech conference convenes young entrepreneurs/startups, industry leaders, engineers, developers, designers and government officials to explore the latest technology trends as it affects the nation and to proffer professional insights and seed capital particularly for the participating startups.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a Genesys Ignite this year. This was due to “an unanticipated closure of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport Enugu for runway reconstruction.” This was revealed in an email Genesys Tech Hub sent to 4kreport.

Genesys Ignite is an event that attracts guests, partners, and participants from different parts of Nigeria and the world, it depends heavily on airlines for the successful execution of its logistic plans. “Many of our guests do not feel comfortable with trying to access Enugu by road. Primarily because of its bad states and the rising menace of insecurity.” Genesys told 4kreport.

In December 2009, the airport was closed for “rehabilitation and upgrade,” which began early in 2010 then was re-opened in mid-December of the same year but was barely completed.

The airport continued to be unsafe, and the “new” runway was no better than the previous. The airport also lacked modern Instrument Landing Systems, had leaking roofs and was often flooded. By the time these were becoming apparent, Ms Stella Oduah, ex-Minster of Aviation- had been kicked out for ‘abuse of office’ for her scandalous purchase of two armoured cars at the cost of $1.6m (N255 million) using funds belonging to the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority.

Fast forward to August 2019, the airport was closed for yet another runway reconstruction, and other renovations. The airport, according to the federal government, was scheduled to be re-opened in December 2019. But the government, known for its exuberant reluctance to meet deadlines, came out in October with statements suggesting an extension of the repair’s completion date to Aprill 2020.

At its simplest, yes, Genesys Ignite will be held next year.

“I can tell you for sure that there’ll be an ignite when the airport reopens,” Genesys Tech Hub’s head of learning and development Osita Nwangwu said in a chat with 4kreport. But the date is still uncertain.

The Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) is rumoured to be in a land contest with a private estate developer which might delay the reopening even further. The land dispute is based on a series of court cases in which the private estate developer is seeking to exercise ownership rights over spaces of land in the vicinity of the airport.

Genesys has had to reschedule its conference date from the 23rd of November 2019 to the 21st of February 2020 – which it still has boldly written on its website – and to a yet to be picked date in April 2020.

“We would definitely keep you informed as soon as we choose a new date for the event.” Part of the email sent states.

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