In furtherance of its policy of strategic partnership and stakeholder engagement, Nigeria Computer Society (NCS) recently visited three key players in Nigeria’s technology space – MTN Nigeria, MainOne Cable company and Sidmach group. The NCS delegations were led by the Deputy President, NCS, Professor Sola Aderounmu who represented the NCS President, Professor David O. Adewumi.
At MTN Nigeria, the team was warmly received by Mr. Akinwale Goodluck, Corporate Services Executive, representing the CEO, Mr. Michael Ikpoki. Nigeria’s premier IT professional association and advocacy group commended MTN for its role in spearheading of the mobile revolution in Nigeria, while appreciating MTN’s position as the biggest mobile operator in the region. Adewumi stated, “The GSM revolution in which MTN played and still plays a major role has created jobs in significant numbers as well as a value chain of suppliers, while providing the backbone for other major areas of the Nigerian economy”.
At MainOne, the NCS team was received by Ms. Funke Opeke, CEO, MainOne and other top management officials. NCS congratulated the MainOne for building and owning the first wholly African privately funded license submarine cable along the West African coastline. NCS President also saluted MainOne on its ongoing investment and commitment to setting up one of Africa’s largest data centres. Professor Adewumi further thanked the MainOne CEO for her presence at the last NCS conference at Iloko Ijesa, Osun State, support of the conference and the strong presence of MainOne staff at the conference.
At Sidmach Group, Mr. Hassan Alao, CEO and other top management staff welcomed the NCS delegation. NCS congratulated Sidmach on its unique achievements in the development and deployment of wholly indigenous enterprise IT solutions, most especially in the educational sector. NCS identified with the innovative and entrepreneurial initiatives of Sidmach. The President noted that the visit of the NCS team was also an opportunity to thank Sidmach for its commitment to NCS through the organization’s consistent support over time for NCS events and activities.
During each visit, the NCS President Professor David Adewumi emphasized that the visit was to identify with the progressive and inspiring impact of the particular organizations and to explore ways in which the organizations could work with NCS to accelerate the pace of IT development in Nigeria. He stressed the urgent need to support advocacy in the sector. According to Adewumi, “Despite the progress made, the sector still faces major challenges of “right of way” barriers, low broadband penetration rate, multiple taxation, ongoing power supply and security issues, inadequate local capacity and low awareness of innovation opportunities. The need to accelerate the pace of ICT development in Nigeria and ensure long term sustainability is both massive and glaring”.
He therefore proposed strategic partnerships in programs and projects relating to research and development, Cybersecurity, IT enabled employment generation, promotion of Excellence and Professionalism in Industry and the Profession, and IT Policy Formulation that are of immense benefit to the country. The need for the organizations to play key roles in the upcoming National Information Technology Merit Awards (NITMA) was highlighted.
Akinwale Goodluck of MTN noted that the visit was quite timely as MTN is no longer just a GSM Company but is now a full fledged ICT Company that is one of the biggest in Sub-Saharan Africa. And according to him MTN works with Nigerian IT providers and is very passionate about local content. He also highlighted the fact that had been a significant drop in the number of foreign personnel employed by MTN Nigeria. According to him MTN is ready to collaborate with NCS but will get back on specifics, especially with regard to the NITMA program and the NCS Scholarship Fund.
In responding, Funke Opeke appreciated the visit and commended NCS for its laudable advocacy efforts. She mentioned the need to address the challenges faced in the industry, especially those militating against widespread and improved broadband availability. Noting that MainOne had been active in most NCS events during the tenure of the last executive, she assured the NCS delegation that MainOne would build on the existing relationship through the mentioned strategic partnership opportunities specifically showing interest in NITMA and the proposed 2014 NCS Conference sub-theme on Broadband. She also requested for more details of the IT Park and Centre of Excellence projects.
Michael Olajide of Sidmach appreciated the presence of NCS in their organisation, which was the first time the NCS Council was visiting Sidmach. He informed delegates that though Sidmach had made its mark in software in education through solutions provided to JAMB, WAEC, NECO, NERDC, it was diversifying into providing solutions in agriculture and insurance as well as into the provision of telecom infrastructure services. The Sidmach group agreed to deepen its engagement with NCS through strategic partnering.
NCS is the nation’s foremost network of Information Technology (IT) practitioners comprising IT professionals, Interest Groups and Stakeholders. The visits were strategically undertaken to signify intent on the part of NCS to ensure industry collaboration and Professionalism are placed high on the agenda of the entire IT community.
Members of the NCS delegations on the visits include: Mr. Jide Awe, Chairman, NCS Publicity and Events Committee, Mr. Moses Braimah, Chairman, Conference Committee, Dr. Adesina Sodiya, Chairman, Education and Manpower Development Committee, Sir. Obi Okonkwo, Ex-Officio (South East), Dr. Martins Akinseye, Secretary, NCS Lagos Chapter, Dr. Gani Adegboyega, NCS Lagos Chapter, Mr. Chinedu Onuoha, Executive Secretary, Mr. Iyiola Ayoola, Director, Corporate Affairs, Mr. Taiwo Oyesanwo, Ass. Manager, Corporate Affairs and Mrs. Ijeoma Nwanaju, Ass. Manager, Corporate Affairs.
Chairman, Publicity and Events Committee
Nigeria Computer Society
16th November 2013