A roadmap for Information and Communications Technology (ICT) research in Nigeria has been submitted, over the weekend, in Abuja, to the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) by a panel it set up months back to consider ways the country can thicken her ICT value prepositions in the areas of research and skill development.
The seven-man panel of experts led by the former executive vice chairman (EVC) of the NCC, Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, submitted its final report to the NCC’s board and management.
Its recommendations include remodelling the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) to serve as a technology innovation and research hub; and creating greater synergy with the larger academic community in Nigeria to help enhance the curriculum for ICT Innovation Research Programmes in order to better reflect trends and dynamics of the global ICT industry.
The panel also wants the NCC to lead in the development of ICT hubs and innovation centres across the country as well as collaborate with other government agencies to stir a nation-wide interest in software development and engineering in a way that would provide sustainable funding and technical for scores of innovation hubs growing across the country.
“Let me assure the Chairman, the EVC and members of the commission that I have been both excited and happy that I took up the assignment for several reasons. First being that the panel is truly a team of experts and with the required know-how and unmatched commitment to get the job done.
“Secondly, I equally felt challenged that such a bold, creative and revolutionary idea was coming from someone as advanced in age as the NCC Chairman. His speech at the inauguration of the panel was not only impassioned, it also presented a robust vision whose sense of urgency was palpable,” said Ndukwe while presenting the panel report to the board and management of NCC.
Chairman of the board, Senator Olabiyi Durojaiye, who received the report in the presence of the EVC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, Executive Commissioner (Stakeholder Management), Sunday Dare; and other members of the executive management, said that the panel was designed round Nigerians with “deep knowledge, expertise and experience in ICT to serve on the panel of experts and in their capacity to advise the NCC on ICT discovery, innovations, technology through the instrumentality of research and capacity building.”
Other members of the panel include: chairman, Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Titi Omo-Ettu; administrator at DBI, Dr. Ike Adinde; Prof. Mohammed Ajiya, Abdullahi Maikano, Johnson Asinugo and Shehu Olaniya.
“The board deeply considered setting up a merit-based process for objective selection of young Nigerians resident in the country and in the diaspora for special training and capacity building to enhance Nigeria’s participation in the ongoing global digital revolution,” said Durojaiye.
On the DBI, he said: “It is pertinent to note that the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), an innovation of the commission, already has ample basic facilities to house ICT research centres in Lagos and Abuja to start with.
“The commission is desirous of refocusing the DBI to actualise its mandate in accordance with the ideals of its founding fathers. This includes the need to identify the numerous ‘Bill Gates and ‘Mark Zukerbergs’ of Nigeria, who are currently roaming the streets of Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Port Harcourt and indeed across every other city in search of salaried jobs.”
Ndukwe thanked the NCC for the opportunity given him and his panel members to further served the country. “ICTs are vectors of economic and social transformation by improving access to services, enhancing connectivity, creating business and employment opportunities,” added the former boss of NCC while referring to report by the World Economic Forum.