By Oluwatobi Opusunju
Worried that the N-Power scheme is falling behind the time-target for Npower Volunteers to be supplied with their gadgets, the Presidency has ordered for the immediate decentralisation of the scheme’s software installation process to quicken the pace at which beneficiaries can collect their devices.
The N-Power scheme is part of the federal government’s Social Investment Programme, under which it plans to hire 350,000 unemployed graduates.
The computing devices to be given to Volunteers as compulsory tools for learning, teaching and working in the N-Power Volunteer Scheme are all tablets of eight variants, which include, Afri-One (2-in 1), RLG Adulawo Limited, Samsung Tab E., Zinox Z Pad, Brain NPower IPAD,Techno Pad, Floss Signatures and Speedstar. All of these are driven by Android except Speedstar which is powered by Windows OS (operating system).
Basic features of the gadgets include, free one year internet subscription; pre-loaded learning materials to support assignments (Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Learn Africa have all contributed content that can be accessed); over one million resources on each device.
IT Edge News leant that the first phase of the initiative involves the supply of about 116,000 gadgets to N-Power Volunteers nationwide. But as of today, only about 56,000 have been pre-loaded with the OS and apps since August, 2017 when N-Power Volunteers started receiving their tablets raising concerns that the process is too slow and may defeat the goal of getting more Nigerians into the N-Power scheme.
While the hardware suppliers are about eight in all including local and foreign manufacturers, only one company enjoys the monopoly installing the software components. The company had earlier argued it could not allow the hardware suppliers to install the software on market-licence grounds, but its increasing failure to meet the time target which is raising anxiety among stakeholders particularly N-Power Volunteers who are yet to be given devices, have forced the presidency to demand that the process be decentralized to allow more speed in the delivery of the devices. This means, hardware suppliers are to be allowed to install the preloaded software and apps. About 50 percent of N-Power Volunteers in the first phase are yet to be served.