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Road to Nigeria computer age


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How can Nigeria develop its Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector? It is through software awareness, say Computer Science students at their convention at the Delta State University (DELSU) in Abraka. PHILIP OKORODUDU (Electrical, Electronics and Computer Engineering) reports. They came from different campuses with a mission: they wanted the domestication of Information Technology (IT) in Nigeria, using software strategy as tool. This is the aim of Computer Science students, who gathered at the Delta State University (DELSU) in Abraka for their national convention. Under the auspices of the National Association of Computer Science Students (NACOSS), they resolved to lead the nation into an era of software awareness and development to facilitate the migration from digital computing to quantum computing. The convention with the theme: Software strategies for equipping the Nigerian higher institution’s work force, featured the presentation of well-researched papers by scholars in the discipline and software exhibition. In his keynote address titled: Domestication of Information Technology in Nigeria: Software Strategy Imperatives, the immediate past president of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), Mr Chris Uwaje, said Nigeria could only streamline its fragmented IT structure through transformational strategy, which could be achieved by building software talent and mentoring youths in IT. Uwaje said the roadmap and primary take-off point for sustainable solutions was to enthrone and elevate software engineering as a strategic national policy. This, according to him, could be accomplished with the establishment of a national software strategy to be supported by legislation and encapsulated in a national software bill. He advocated the need for government to rejig IT, which, he said, is currently in a fledgling state. He urged that the discipline must be made part and parcel of education with a national IT skill-conversion strategy to boost the nation’s capacity in software production. Other speakers at the convention included ISPON president Mr Pius Okigbo, Deputy President of the Computer Society of Nigeria (NCS), Prof Adesola Aderounmu, Director, Information Technology and Communications Unit of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Dr Nicholas Ogini, and NACOSS Adviser, who is also a Computer Science lecturer at DELSU, Tope Oguntade. Earlier in his address, the NACOSS National President, Kingsley Okotie, a 400-Level student of DELSU, urged members of the association to take advantage of interaction with the speakers to network and improve their knowledge of computing. Okigbo donated a trophy and N100,000 on behalf of ISPON to winners of the software exhibition contest. The exhibition was to test the software usage abilities of students through the design and implementation of programs that could solve industry problems. Seven institutions participated in the contest, but at the end, Abia State Polytechnic (ABIA POLY) won the first position with its software named Students Activities’ Management System (SAMS). The polytechnic was presented with N50,000 cash prize and a trophy. The Institute of Management Technology (IMT) came second and won N30,000, while the University of Uyo (UNIUYO) emerged third, taking home N20,000. John Nnanna, an HND II student, who represented ABIA POLY, said the software was designed to make life easy for students in the management of information relevant to them by downloading SAMS on their smart phones. The software would send reminder of students’ daily activities and help them to access relevant information with on their studies. John noted that the software could also be used in e-voting, which is currently trending on campuses, adding that it is being implemented in his school. On his part, William Alfred, a 400-Level student of UNIUYO, rated his school the best in the exhibition, saying: “Although we did our best and we presented the best software but the judges rated us as the third best.” He said the knowledge acquired at the convention made students to be software-conscious, urging the association to use the recommendation to create IT awareness programmes in higher institutions. The association’s outgoing Vice President, Joy Idam, a 400-Level student of Ebonyi State University (EBSU) said she was happy about the success of the event despite hitches at preparation stage. “Events of this magnitude are not easy to organise but we are happy that God helped us to surmount the challenges that came our way and we are also grateful to our speakers who have exposed us to new trends in software development and applications,” she said. Highlight of the event was the election into the national executive council of the association, which produced Michael Onwugbolu, a 400-Level student of the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) as president.