2011 National Information Technology Merit Awards and Investiture rewards Excellence and charts the Future
It was a mixture of celebration, reward and positioning for the future at National Information Technology Merit Awards (NITMA) 2011 organized by the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS).
The colourful and well attended event attracted top stakeholders of Nigeria’s IT community who came to celebrate and honour their brightest and best. Chairman at NITMA which has become Nigeria’s most prestigious IT event was Mrs. Omobola Johnson, Honourable Minster of Communication Technology.
Other dignitaries at NITMA included Mr Chris Onyemenam, Director-General of the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), Mr. Emeka Ezekwesili, Director, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) representing the Director General of NITDA, Engineer Chidi Nwafor, Head of ICT, Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) representing Chairman of INEC, Professor Attahiru Jega and Mrs. Ibukun Odusote, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power.
The program proper kicked off with opening prayers by the Anglican Bishop of Lagos Mainland, Very Rev. Adebayo Akinde, a past President of the Computer Association of Nigeria (COAN) which transformed into the Nigeria Computer Society.
Moving Forward with Strategy
In her address as Chairperson of the event, Mrs. Omobola Johnson outlined activities and plans of her ministry and the importance of the ministry for the growth and development of Nigeria. She identified areas of strategic interest and upcoming initiatives mentioning the importance of software as well as the impressive innovative practices of young Nigerians in software. She commended the NCS for the impressive outing, assuring the IT community of her support and commitment.
Engineer Chidi Nwafor, Head of ICT, (INEC) spoke about the importance of IT in Nigerian elections. He acknowledged the performance of IT professionals and companies that had been involved in deploying IT solutions in elections noting that all software used in the last national elections were developed locally. He expressed the desire of INEC to work with Nigeria’s IT community in future projects and activities.
Investiture of the NCS President
Immediate Past President of the NCS, Professor Charles Uwadia performed the investiture of the NCS President, Demola Aladekomo, while Mr. Aladekomo administered the oath of office on National Executive Council (NEC) members. New NEC members pledged to meet and discharge their professional, financial and moral obligations as well dedicate themselves to all lawful and due causes of NCS.
In his inaugural address, Demola Aladekomo, noted that the Office of the President of the NCS comes with great responsibilities because NCS is probably the biggest association of IT professionals on the African continent. He outlined the ‘blue print’ of the AGENDA for his tenure as the 11TH president and that of the 17TH National Executive Council. In charting the course for the future, he called on all IT stakeholders to come on board and join NCS on the noble national assignment of accelerating IT for development.
This according to him “is not only to lay an enduring legacy for veritable applications of ICT but also for economic, political commercial emancipation of our people. We must rise and face up now to lay the foundation for genuine independence. We need to employ the ubiquitous tool of our profession to achieve credible foundation for our nation’s take off in respect of science and technology”.
Professional fellowships were conferred on eleven new fellows by the Provost of the College of Fellows, Alhaji Ladi Ogunneye. Fellow is highest grade of the NCS professional cadre. Fellows must have contributed to the advancement or application of Information Technology for significant value to society.
National Identity Management
The keynote address on “National Identity Management: Matters Arising” was delivered by Mr. Chris Onyemenam, Director-General of NIMC. The talking points of his presentation were: Why do we need an assured Identity System (The need; The Problem; The potential benefits); The Solution (Database, NIN & Card; Verification Service; Harmonization); The Past, the Present and the Future; and Matters Arising (Card Issuance, Sustainability, Shared Services, Certification Authority, Universal Identification Infrastructure).
In his presentation he highlighted Creation of the first National Database – NIMC will Register and Issue a National Identity Number (NIN) and National Smart Card to every Nigerian and Nigerian resident age 16 and above, creating the first National Database.
Award Winners – celebrating Excellence
NITMA the distinct platform that recognizes and honours excellence in the field of IT used the opportunity to celebrate and reward top achievers in this field. Abia State Polytechnic won the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) Indigenous Software Entity of the Year award. A highpoint of the evening was the announcement by Mrs. Omobola Johnson of Chief Leo-Stan Ekeh (Chairman/CEO of Zinox Technologies) as the winner of the Information Technology Personality of the Year Award (the most outstanding IT contributor for 2011). To ensure transparency and credibility, the entire voting process for the IT personality of the year was audited by Accenture, the global management consulting and technology Services Company acknowledged for its world class auditing services.
IT powerhouses at the event included: Mr. Ibrahim Tizhe, President, Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), Mrs. Sekinat Yusuf, Vice President, CPN, Mr. Chris Uwaje, President, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) and Mrs. Florence Seriki, President, Information Technology Industry Association of Nigeria (ITAN). CEOs of Computer Warehouse Group (Mr. Austin Okere), Main One Cable (Ms. Funke Opeke), Zinox Technologies (Chief Leo-Stan Ekeh), Data Sciences (Mr. Aniekan Etiebet), Interswitch (Mr. Mitchell Elegbe) and SystemSpecs (Mr. John Tani Obaro) all graced the occasion.
Distinguished elders present included: Mr. Tunde Njoku, former President NCS, Deacon Orjinta Orji-Alala, former CPN president (who delivered the closing prayer) as well as former Provosts, College of Fellows, Dr Isaac Odeyemi and Dr. Abimbola Salako.