ICT: The state of the nation

By Chris Uwaje   |   23 December 2015   |   4:00 am  

ICT
CONTINUED FROM LAST WEEK

MOVING forward, it is pertinently instructive to admit that Nigeria, simply put, is technologically backward in terms of innovation and creativity and scores very poor on global ICT e-Readiness Statu 2011/2012/2013/2014/2015! In my Professional opinion, the above scenario emanated due to the facts that Information Technology articulation and implementation was more or less hijacked by intruders and its implementation shielded and packaged in deliberate exclusion of the core practicing professionals. Indeed, IT has for a long time been treated as a plague, same goes for Science, Technology and innovation and for mathematics. Irrespective of the office unless we strategically equip and empower the workforce with the dynamic tools of Information Technology, there may be no innovation and creativity to deliver global competitiveness for accelerated national development.

One of the inalienable facts is that we cannot compete effectively within the global IT landscape without consciously building world class IT-Knowhow capability. Moreover, this strategic manpower type must be based on the critical mass of available resources – 80% of which resides in Software (including embedded systems) capability. By extension, the accelerator required to complement the established strategy is the adoption of Software Manpower Conversion tactic.
With over 65% Youth population – majority who are digital natives, scavenging all around, Facebook, Google, Instagram, WhatApp, Linkindl, Yahoo, etc., Nigeria can effectively disrupt the world ICT Ecosystem if we use our imagination to recue, cluster and reuse the abundant Big- Data and evaporating skills. We have the multi-dimensional engineering manpower in abundance which can be converted to Software Engineering capacities within the shortest possible time of 18-24 months sandwich program. Talking and planning about broadband, without brainband in parallel articulation is a faulty policy adoption, due to the fact that it does not cut in with the global IT go-to-market strategy and scalable content interface. Today, we live in a world where 5 year olds in many countries are encouraged and tactically compelled to learn Software programming. And by extension, where technology Research and Development has become the oxygen of life.

Technology is the application of knowledge to the practical needs of human life. The norm of the civilized world is: Train doctors: build hospitals, train Lawyers: establish Court Rooms, train Sports people: establish sporting facilities, train Computer Scientists and Technologist: empower them with local content laboratories, national tasks and patronage to create world class digital solutions. The worlds has moved on, and now talk about IPv6, IoT, Brain2Brain Communications, AI, Big Data Analytics, Embedded Systems, Trojan Horses, e-Innovation, Cloud and Inter-Cloud Computing, CyberSpace Intrusion, e-Warfare, Automated Government, Superlative Start-ups etc. while we are busy wasting precious knowledge time defining Card Reader out of context and talking about calculator-based election results!

IT and Software-Nigeria have come of age and must be trusted, empowered, challenged to perform and deliver patronage to generate massive youth employment. Last but not the least and at the risk of repeating oneself for greater emphasis, ‘the Nigerian IT landscape looks very bright, but our national development agenda may not scale, unless software engineering development is placed at the driver’s seat of our national development. Currently, the wanton neglect of Software Engineering and multimedia development is Nigeria today has grossly accelerated technology underdevelopment of our people. In clear terms, a suppressed technology development environment slows down national creativity and productivity and very dangerous to our survivability Ecosystem. If Broadband is a survivability model, we have been tinkering with it for years and the current result is motion without movement actions.

Brainband strategy: what have other countries done? Australia needed 8 years from 2010: To deliver broadband at speed of 100 megabits per second (Mbps) to 90 percent of Australian homes, schools and businesses through fiber-optic cables connected directly to buildings. The other 10 percent of people would get a wireless upgrade. Canada needed about 3 years (2009- 2012): To extend broadband coverage to all currently unserved communities. Finland needed 7 years (2009-2015), to provide ultrafast broadband to every household in Finland, with download speeds of at least one megabit per second by 2010, with a rampup to 100 megabits by 2016, including households in rural areas. France needed 5 years from 2008-2012, to provide ultra broadband networks to 4 million households through FTTH access by 2012. Moreover, 400 cyber bases will be created in schools within five years and schools which already have access will be modernized.

Provision of universal access to broadband Internet at affordable prices has been made available throughout France by 2010. Germany needed 10 years from, 2009-2018. The second phase is to bring broadband access at 50 Mbps or above, to 75 per cent of the households – 2014.

. Uwaje, the Chairman/CEO of Mobile Software Solutions and Past-President of Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) writes from Lagos.



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