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NLNG Prizes: Keeping the light of excellence burning

Commentary@ITREALMS : Many companies across the world often come up with programmes or initiatives aimed at positively impacting the...

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

NLNG Prizes: Keeping the light of excellence burning

Many companies across the world often come up with programmes or initiatives aimed at positively impacting their societies and it has not been any different in Nigeria.

The Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG, company Limited has sustained a trail it blazed several years ago, which has set it apart as a model, not only in Nigeria but in the African continent and beyond,

The Nigeria Prize for Science and The Nigeria Prize for Literature, solely sponsored by the NLNG Ltd., have over the years become the most celebrated Prizes in Africa and among the most sought after in the world, not only because of the prize money but also because of the indisputable excellence that has come to be associated with the winning entries and the quality of administration of the Prizes.

The aim of the Prizes is to bring Nigerian scientists and creative writers to public attention and celebrate excellence in scientific breakthroughs and literary accomplishments in the country and over the years, this aim has continued to be achieved, especially given the quality of entries, the caliber of Judges assembled by the administrators of the Prizes and the global applause that attends the winning entries.

The Science Prize is administered by an Advisory Board made up of distinguished scientists while the Advisory Board for Literature that handles the Literature Prize is made up of members of the Nigerian Academy of Letters (NAL} and Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA).

The prize money, which has grown from $20,000 in 2004 to $30,000 in 2006 and to $50,000 in 2008, has since 2011 become a princely $100,000 for the winner(s) in each category.

Although the money cannot have been the major motivating factor for most of the hardnosed scientists and thorough-bred literary artists that have sent in entries for the competitions, it cannot, but must have helped to raise the bar and attract the best in the categories that are advertised annually.

Carefully chosen themes have produced internationally acknowledged scientific results are waiting for governments and other stakeholders to adopt and put them to public use for general good in keeping with the goal of the Science Prize which is to provide leaders with answers to crucial issues of development, improve standards of living and re-energise the scientific community to seek solutions to national problems.

The different genres – Poetry, Prose Fiction, Drama and Children’s Literature – that are focused on in rotation each year for the Literature Prize also turn out book that are equally internationally celebrated, also in line with the goal of the Prize, which is to improve the quality of writing, editing, proof reading and publishing.

Past winners of the Science Prize are Prof. Akpoveta Susu and now Dr. Kingsley Abhulimen (2004); Prof. Michael Adikwu (2006); Dr. Ebenezer Meshida (2008); Prof. Andrew Nok (2009); Prof. Akahehomen O. Akii Ibhadode (2010) and in 2017, joint winners emerged for their researches on solutions to the malaria scourge. The winners are Ikeoluwapo Ajayi, Ayodele Jegede and Bidemi Yusuf; Olugbenga Mokuolu; and Chukwuma Agubata.

There were years when the entries for both the Science and Literature Prizes were adjudged not deserving, and no winners were announced.

Winners of the Literature Prize in the different genres have been Ezenwa Ohaeto and Gabriel Okara (2005); Dr. Ahmed Yerimah (2006); Prof. Akachi Adimora-Ezeigbo and Mabel Segun (2007); Kaime Agary (2008); Dr. Esiaba Irobi (2010); Adeleke Adeyemi (2011); Chika Unigwe (2012); Tade Ipadeola (2013); Sam Ukala (2014); Abubakar Adam Ibrahim (2016) and Ikeogu Oke (2017).

The Literary Criticism Award has not been as popular as the Science and Literature Prizes, despite efforts the administrators of the Award and NLNG say they have made to popularize it in universities in the country.

This should not be so. Literary critics are very important components of the creative process and lecturers, especially in Departments of Literature and English Studies should wake up and send in entries for the Award that has a N1million price tag.

There cannot be vibrant Literature without correspondingly vibrant literary critics.

The trail blazer, NLNG, has played its part. It has advertised calls for entries for the Prizes for year 2018. The theme for the Science Prize is ‘Innovations in Electric Power Solutions’ and the Literature Prize focuses on Drama. Scientists, creative writers (Drama) and literary critics should, therefore, send in their entries before the closing date of March 29, 2018 for the Literature Prize and May 25, 2018 for the Science Prize..

Winners of the Prizes will be announced in October to commemorate the first export of Liquefied Natural Gas, LNG cargo by NLNG on October 9, 1999.

Everyone should, indeed, identify with these Prizes, which have since become the Nigerian equivalent of the Nobel Prizes, especially for Science and Literature in the country.

Simon Ibe/GEE

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Life is a code

Our life is a spider-web of Codes. Where is Software Nigeria? For all those countries – especially in Africa/Nigeria who are not aware or blatantly refused to acknowledge the power of Information Technology (especially the Software of Things)  and are therefore significantly lagging behind the concept, challenges, complexities timely application and fatal consequences of the neglect of Information Technology development, the compelling and innovative truth is that “Life is a Code”. Indeed, our entire life and the whole humanity is a crystal ball of code rapped in the mastery of software and related IT Ecosystem. Only those who embrace and religiously master it will effectively manage sustainable development and prosper. And those who are currently blind, deaf and dumb to the amazing world of Code……..will perish. Did I say perish? Nay such nations will depart this life and be forever forgotten.

As the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) prepares to celebrate her 20th anniversary, there is need to further explore the state of Software-Nigeria. Simply defined, a code is a system of imagination and interpretation of life patterns at all levels, by replacing the words in a message with other words or symbols, so that it conjures complexity and nobody can understand it unless he/she possesses the system knowhow. Intricate secret codes are used in various forms eg: when the names of trees stood for letters. A code is also any system of signs or symbols such as our finger-prints and the genetic Codes used by living cells to translate encoded information (DNA) with magical meanings.

A typical example is the Enigma Machine. The Enigma machines were a series of electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines developed and used in the early-to mid-20th century to protect commercial, diplomatic and military communications. Thanks to Alan Turing who cracked the Code and averted a major world catastrophe during the Second World War. Indeed, Turing’s skill and work during the Second World War were so decisive that Winston Churchill acknowledged his role as follows: “Turing made the single biggest contribution to Allied victory” Turing was a Code Warrior and brilliant Mathematician.

‎Going forward with life as a Code, “Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.” — Bill Gates. And according to David Landes (1998): “Indeed, the very notion of productivity is a by-product of the clock: once one can relate performance to uniform time units, work is never the same” (p. 49–50). It was the invention of the mechanical clock which in turn led to one of Adam Smith’s seminal insights: wealth and prosperity depend directly—to use Smith’s language—on the “productive powers of labor.” (David Landes (1998 - modified)

Therefore Software Code is undoubtedly the backbone to 21st century economic development, national security and survivability. Above all, it validates the maxim: “we cannot manage what we cannot measure (codify)”.  Today, the quantum challenges, needs and response aspirations for our national leadership, security of life and survivability for a population of about 200 million people cannot be effectively determined, scaled, effectively managed and/or measured without a centralized and dynamic National Code in enigmatic Database and Security Intelligent System.  It is however pertinent to state that Nigeria’s survivability is to a larger degree, a shared inspiration, obligation and responsibility of the State and the citizenry. 

According to Philip Zelikow Executive Director of 9/11 Commission and a Professor at the University of Virginia, USA, the most significant lessons learned from the 9/11 catastrophe is: “The United States of America would have done, before the 9/11 saga, most of the things (i.e: reactionary measures taken) that we did post 9/11!”  A valid example is the establishment of the Homeland Security Institutional framework with its complex, colossal, multi-dimensional and highly-critical information infrastructure with expansive Database systems on Cybersecurity and Terrorism. It is all for public safety. Indeed, it is all about life as a Code.

Nigeria is currently faced with a similar challenge of weaponized fire wrapped up in Code- ignorance and hate against self  - informed by the magnitude our under-development and complexities of terror such as the United Nations suicide bomb blast and other deadly hits, such as the INEC bomb blast at Suleja, Niger State and the Abuja Police HQ, bomb blast, Chibok Girls, and now Dapchi  saga to mention but a few. Would we have done some of the things we now intend to do – about 20 years ago?

Would we have mobilized the IT Professionals and created a National Coding Platforms and Institution, Security Intelligence Database, adequately prepared with disaster recovery plans and mastered the related operational complexities before they stuck? What about the monumental and heart breaking corruption and thief-thief figures slapping us in the face every nanosecond?

21st century Information clusters are dynamic knowledge architecture for developing Intelligent and security systems. Many centuries ago, great philosophers of knowledge like Aristotle, Francis Beckon, etc., have informed us that the character of a nation is dictated by the structure, knowledge modules, organizational ability and programmed processes of her information and Database systems. 

In other words, “As we lay our national information systems bed, so we sleep on it! The role of Technology and in particular, e-Government and software systems in National Security Database Intelligence dynamics has therefore become a critical and significant component as well as a fundamental necessity for understanding e-security life-cycle. Also, it amplifies the needs and accelerated urgency for deploying strategies capable of protecting Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) with result-oriented and sustainable implementation process. Software-Nigeria is the key and the secure Roadmap to our future and Indigenous skill-sets must be called to national duty. 

Empowering the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) therefore becomes an urgent imperative to provide and deliver the required solutions. The reason is not far-fetched, the task is a very sensitive initiative which represents and is indeed, the knowledge laboratory for national survivability. India is a good example of this process.

For so long, our Information and Data attributes seems to have been sentenced by ignorance to the death-roll of our nation building agenda and development mission. This artificially conceived anti-Code mindset (the Nigerian factor?) has indeed subverted and corrupted the conscious layers of our intellectual and merit-mechanisms. Furthermore, it has aided and abetted the migration of our patriotic ability, from a community of “what-you-know” to a society of “who-you know” and where you come from!  A robust national database can be designed and built by IT professionals to resolve the crisis of Nigeria’s under-development.

Above all, it has created a society that is entangled in techno-phobia and estranged by technology. A society that abhors critical information process; shuns, hunts and crucifies rigorous database generation and myopically subdues professional IT knowledge acquisition project implementation processes as insignificant or unnecessary for national intelligence and people development. 

The consequence is that what we now have is a capital merchandising environment – otherwise known as ‘Okada economy’! This has led us to pursue and glorify 4-megawatts of power generation, when indeed we require a minimum of 50-megawatts to jump-start a globally meaningful and competitive vision as the single largest concentration of people of African descent under the universe. It is all about Software. It is about Database! Information Technology professionals can significantly contribute to the national mission of providing constant power generation and distribution for Nigeria.

The reality today translates to the fact that it should be abundantly clear to us, that the era and long-addicted habit of physically and blindly chasing the containers and cargo packages at all our import terminals and air/land boarders and throwing away the content of the manifest documents that represent the knowledge-base and real world inside the containers, must be over by now. 

The fact that ‘Kid Google’ utilizes over 2.3million Megawatts to run its global knowledge business compared to Nigeria’s dream for generating 10,000 Megawatts by 2020, or a reality that Microsoft has earned more money in 25years of its operation – than what General Motors has netted in 100years, should be a wakeup call to Nigeria! Waking up here implies that Code Dreamers, Design-Thinking Innovators and IT Professionals in Nigeria must be accorded their rightful place in the task if Nation building and sustainable development and national security.

The life we live today is made-up of and wrapped in Codes. Information Technology (IT) is undoubtedly the world's fastest growing body of knowledge for sustainable development and national survivability. At the centre of these very complex processes is Software Infrastructure. On a thumb rule, Nigeria needs to case a serious look into Code development and aim to spin out 500,000 Code Warriors within the next 36 months. Life is a Code. No Code, No life!  

*Contributed by Chris Uwaje

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Ikeja Rotary donates sanitation materials to community

The Rotary Club of Ikeja has made a donation of sanitation materials to the Ipodo Community Market, reports ITRealms.

This community development gesture, according to the President Rotarian Adeniyi Adelaja is in further demonstration of the Club’s support for, and commitment to the current Clean Lagos initiative of the State government.

Presenting the materials which included large plastic waste bins, shovels, and brooms, a Past District Governor of Rotary International [District 9110], who is also a Past President of the Club, Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi expressed deep satisfaction that the Club had continued to sustain the tradition of promoting healthy environment. He commended the Club members, while also urging the beneficiaries to deploy the gifts to good use as intended by the Rotary Club.

Earlier, a Past President of the Club, Rotarian Tosin Kadiri had stated that Rotary was among so many other things concerned about the environment, and was always carrying out activities to ensure and promote clean environment in order to reduce the incidences of diseases that are consequences of unhealthy or badly kept environment.

Members of the Ipodo Community Market were on hand to receive the items, and they were full of praises for the Club’s continued support. The leader of the market, Alhaja Abiodun Bintu also expressed the community’s appreciation for the Club’s unwavering commitment and support to the community.

Mr Olasupo Sode represented the Lagos State Commissioner for Environment while Honourable Mayungbe represented the Chairman of Ikeja Local Government.       

Ayo Midele/GEE

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Pix: L-R: Mr Olasupo Sode who represented Lagos State Commissioner for Environment, Mr. Mayungbe who also represented the Chairman of Ikeja Local Government, Alhaja Abiodun Bintu, Leader of Ipodo market, Past District Governor of Rotary International [District 9110], and Past President of the club, Prince Julius Adelusi Adeluyi and Rotarian past President Oliver Johnson during the presentation of the sanitation materials.

HDP holds national convention today

All is now set for the national convention of the Hope Democratic Party (HDP) today in Abuja, ITRealms reports.
The national chairman of the party, Chief Ambrose Owuru confirmed this to ITRealms in a public statement, saying that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has accepted the Wednesday, March 21, 2018 as the convention date.
Owuru also said that the meeting would be used to prepare the party and strategize for the forthcoming 2019 elections, as well as elect its national officers.
"The venue of the convention is Hope Dove, Life Camp, Abuja," he declared.
Hope Democratic Party (HDP) was registered on November 10, 2006, later de-registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission in 2011, but was later reinstated by a federal high court judgment in 2015. 
HDP participated in the last 2015 general elections and was one of the 14 political parties that fielded presidential candidates in the last presidential election.
In 2015, Hope Democratic Party (HDP) developed five plan revolution blueprints for its envisioned new Nigeria. The 5 plan revolution blueprints are Agricultural and Industrial Revolution, Health and Educational Revolution, Economic and Political Revolution, Infrastructure and Leadership Revolution and Cultural and Security Revolution.
Owuru, who was also the party’s presidential candidate in the last election, further explained that the party’s five plan revolution blueprints, include “The execution of this well articulated welfarist programme is articulated to reverse in positive light the current or prevalent overtly negatively adopted capitalist tendencies that has over time bred corruption in Nigeria and which also has over time grown into a cankerworm permeating all spheres of the life of our people in the country thereby stalling any sustainable developmental projects such as funds for world class infrastructural development, good roads, steady jobs and general welfare of Nigeria citizenry are channeled to private accounts breeding social injustice in the land, mass poverty and disparities between the poor and the rich and which in turn breeds social misfit and ready hands for crime, terrorist recruitment leading to insecurity in the country.”
Ayo Midele/GEE
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Tuesday, March 20, 2018

NiRA calls for .ng awards nomination

Industry-led stakeholder organization, the Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) has open calls for the .ng awards nomination, reports ITRealms.

NiRA, ITRealms gathered, seeks with this call to recognize and acknowledge those who are contributing to the growth of the .ng domain name registration and promotion of the Domain Name System (DNS) industry.

A press statement made available to ITRealms, NIRA also said it’s using the .ng Awards to celebrate the achievements and innovation of Nigerian Internet initiatives.

The 2018 .ng awards, NIRA official informed ITRealms, serve to promote and commend the excellent achievements of members, stakeholders and the general public, who contribute towards building a sustainable economy using technology, uplift the image of .ng locally and internationally and stimulating the development of local content on the Internet space.

“NiRA is pleased to inform the general public that the 2018 .ng Awards is scheduled to hold at 6:00pm on Friday, 27th April, 2018 in Lagos. The 2018 .ng Awards is the third edition of the .ng Awards and as usual will be based on merit,” part of the statement read.

While the nomination for the .ng awards by the general public will commence on Friday, 16th March, 2018 and close at midnight on Friday 30th March, 2018.

Members of the public who wish to participate in nominating any organization or individual are to note the nomination criteria.

Voting for the shortlisted nominees, ITRealms further gathered, would commence on Friday, 6th April, 2018 and end by midnight on Saturday, 21st April, 2018.

NIRA, therefore, encouraged active participation of all in nominating and voting for your preferred organizations and business in the different award categories.

Sheriff Sheriff/GEE

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USPF: Nigeria lacks transparency around universal service, access funds

Nigeria has been accused of lacking in transparency around the Universal Service and Access Fund, around how these funds are dispersed remains a secret, says the latest research by the United Nations Women, alleging that estimated US$408m is sitting unspent across Africa, reports ITRealms.

The Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF) in Nigeria is resident in Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) with an Executive Secretary as its chief executive officer.

Nigeria, ITRealms gathered, is one of only four African countries required to spend its Universal Service and Access Funds (USAF) by the end of the fiscal year.
“However, there is a lack of transparency around how these funds are dispersed,” part of the report read.

Although Nigeria is touted to have 47 per cent of the population online, according to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU, 2015) while some
36 per cent of women are online, as said by Web Foundation, 2015.

The new research from the Web Foundation, the Alliance for Affordable Internet and UN Women, made available to ITRealms at the 62nd UN Commission on the Status of Women, calls on governments to invest at least 50 per cent of funds collected for expanding connectivity in projects targeting women’s internet access and use.  

With an estimated US$408 million collected to expand internet access throughout Africa sitting dormant in public coffers, the report finds that many African governments are failing to take action to connect women and other offline populations — despite the existence of funds earmarked for this purpose.

The research warned that failure to utilise these funds which is enough to bring 6 million women online, or to provide digital skills training to 16 million women and girls — to expand connectivity to all risks widening global inequality and undermining global development.

Though nearly half the world is online today, close to four billion people remain unconnected. Just 22 per cent of the population in Africa is online, and the continent has the widest gap in internet use between men and women (25 per cent). Universal Service and Access Funds (USAFs) are communal public funds dedicated to expanding internet connectivity and access opportunities for these populations and other underserved communities who are least likely to be connected through market forces alone.

The research entitled, Universal Service and Access Funds: An Untapped Resource to Close the Gender Digital Divide, examines the existence and use of USAFs across Africa, and the extent to which these funds are being put to use to improve internet access and use among women.

Further, the research findings include that a majority of African countries have a USAF in place that is collecting funds, amongst 37 African countries, which amounts to almost 70 per cent have a USAF set up, and 62 per cent of these funds are considered ‘active’.
But, most governments are failing to spend the USAF funds collected. In 2016, USAFs across Africa disbursed just 54% of funds collected. Across all 37 USAFs in Africa, unspent funds total an estimated US$408 million — enough to bring 6 million women online, or to provide digital skills training to 16 million women and girls.

“Few countries are focused on improving women’s internet access and use — despite the worsening digital gender gap. Just three of the 37 countries with USAFs have universal access policies guiding the USAF that explicitly aim to connect women and girls through the fund.

“Most USAF managers do not yet appreciate the importance of investing in solutions to reduce the gender digital divide. Many assume that investment in any internet access solution will equally benefit both men and women, which is unfortunately not the case. 

“Information about USAF financing, programming, and disbursement is hard to find. Just 23 countries openly publish details on their USAF activities; even when they do publish these details, they can be hard to find and hard to understand, leaving citizens little power to hold the USAF to account.”

“Analysis in the report shows that in order to reduce the growing global gender gap in internet use — a gap which is widest in Africa — USAFs should boost investments in programmes that aim specifically to tackle obstacles to internet use and access faced by women.

Commenting on the report’s findings, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Executive Director of UN Women, said that the Universal Service and Access Funds offer an incredible and vastly underutilised opportunity for making real progress; an opportunity that cannot missed.

“Every day that these funds remain unused is another day women and girls are sidelined in the digital revolution. We call on governments to take immediate action to put these funds toward their intended purpose, and to work to make the digital divide history — starting with women and girls,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

The Executive Director, Alliance for Affordable Internet and Head of Digital Inclusion Programmes at the Web Foundation, Sonia Jorge, said that they cannot reduce global inequality without closing the digital divide and online gender gap.

“We must act now to stop  the online world from entrenching offline inequalities. We call on governments to make effective and timely use of available funds, and to invest at least 50% of them in projects aimed at bringing more women online,” she said

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Uber suspends self-driven car test after fatality

An Uber self-driven car reportedly hit and killed a woman crossing the street in Arizona, reports ITRealms.

According to the Arizona police on Monday, who marked the first fatality caused by an autonomous vehicle and a potential blow to the technology expected to transform transportation.

Reuters reports that the ride services company, Uber said it was suspending North American tests of its self-driving vehicles, which are currently going on in Arizona, Pittsburgh and Toronto.

The so-called robot cars, when fully developed by companies including Uber, Alphabet Inc and General Motors Co, are expected to drastically cut down on motor vehicle fatalities and create billion-dollar businesses. But Monday's accident underscored the possible challenges ahead for the promising technology as the cars confront real-world situations involving real people.

U.S. lawmakers have been debating legislation that would speed introduction of self-driving cars.

"This tragic accident underscores why we need to be exceptionally cautious when testing and deploying autonomous vehicle technologies on public roads," said Democratic Senator Edward Markey, a member of the transportation committee, in a statement.

Elaine Herzberg, 49, was walking her bicycle outside the crosswalk on a four-lane road in the Phoenix suburb of Tempe about 10 p.m. MST Sunday (0400 GMT Monday) when she was struck by the Uber vehicle traveling at about 40 miles per hour (65 km per hour), police said. The car was in autonomous mode with an operator behind the wheel.

Burned-out flares lie at the location where a pedestrian was struck and killed by an Uber self-driving sport utility vehicle in Tempe, Ariz. on Monday, March 19, 2018.

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Midem 2018: Yemi Alade to speak @African Forum in Cannes

Nigerian Afropop megastar, Yemi Alade, has been confirmed as a speaker at the Midem's African Forum 2018 slated for June in Cannes, reports ITRealms.

This is coming as Midem, the global music community, launched its High-Potential Markets Programme designed to assist music professionals from around the world by encouraging business development and the discovery of new talent.

The new initiative, ITRealms gathered, aims at fostering bilateral exchanges between international and national music executives and sectors in order to facilitate the structuring and professionalization of the high-potential markets.

In 2018, the new Programme will focus on the African music industry with a four-day ‘African Forum’ during Midem (June 5-8 in Cannes). The forum will be preceded by a series of industry meetings across four African countries, to support the structuring of the African music industry, stimulate discussions between African and international music stakeholders, develop sustainable business models for African labels and artists in order to boost African music on a local and international scale.

“Africa has incredible wealth in terms of musical talent and diversity of musical styles but the continent currently represents just 2% of the world music market, ” comments Alexandre Deniot, Director of Midem. “As the home of the global music community, Midem is committed to supporting the development of the international music sector and that includes providing African artists and music companies with a platform to reach more fans and generate new revenues. We look forward to welcoming them to Midem in 2018 and beyond.”

The African Forum is organised by Midem in association with TRACE, the leading pan-African music media network.

“By partnering with Midem on the African Forum, we bring together Midem’s power as an international music business acceleration platform, with our expertise in afro urban music, along with our local knowledge and excellent relationship with our subscribers in Africa, at the service of promoting African talent and providing creative solutions to improve its local and international development,” notes Olivier Laouchez, CEO, Trace.

The African Forum, running throughout Midem, will host high-level discussions involving African and international music industry leaders, politicians and official institutions. In addition, it will provide a platform to promote African musical creativity, a Midem Night dedicated to African music and opportunities to share knowledge and professional training.

“It is such an exciting time to be an artist and especially in Africa, where there are so many talented and creative musicians who are breaking boundaries and whose music travels throughout the world, ” says Yemi Alade, Nigerian Afropop megastar, whose single ‘Johnny’ has set a new record for over 85 million views on YouTube, making it the most-watched video from a African artist.“However there are still many challenges and, to take it to the next level, we need to come together and work on strengthening and structuring of our music business in Africa. I’m very pleased to be part of the Midem African Forum and hope that sharing my experience as an artist will highlight the immense opportunities for African artists, not only in the continent, but globally,” adds the multi-award winning artist and fashion designer.

Alongside the African Forum in June, Midem is organising local meetings in the Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Africa and Republic of the Congo. 
Taking place from April 4 to April 12, this series of one-day events will bring together African and international music professionals for meetings, conference debates, workshops and live showcases. Attendees will include labels, mobile operators, rights collection companies, streaming platforms, music publishers, artists, media, politicians, influencers and professional associations and institutions.

According to mobile telephony data, Sub-Saharan Africa currently accounts for one tenth of the world’s mobile telephone subscriber base and the market is growing faster than any other region in the world. Estimates are the Sub-Saharan smartphone users will number 498 million in 2020 compared to 300 million in 2016.*

“The convergence of the massive take-up of mobile telephony in many African countries, combined with the growth a young generation that is passionate about music, offers huge potential to structure and develop the African music scene both at home and internationally. Artists have a unique opportunity to reach new fans who are listening to music on mobile devices, while work needs to continue to protect those artists’ rights and generate a fair share of revenues. The High-Potential Markets Programme is a long-term initiative to support the growth and international reach of national and regional music ecosystems. We hope that the African Forum will help grow Africa’s share of the world music market and provide the global platform that African music deserves,” adds Midem’s Alexandre Deniot.

Uj. N. Dominic/ED, Ops

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Facebook data controversy: Cambridge Analytica used in Nigeria election – Whistleblower

The Cambridge Analytica whistleblower over the use of Facebook generated data, Christopher Wylie has revealed that Nigeria may have benefited from their services during the 2015 general elections, reports ITRealms.

Speaking to Hola Gorani Tonight on Cable News Network (CNN) monitored in Lagos by ITRealms on Monday night, Wylie said the Facebook data collected from unsuspecting users have been used to influence elections in various countries of the world including Nigeria and United States of America.

ITRealms gathered that following Wylie exposure of Facebook role in the data controversy rocking both United Kingdom and America, his Facebook account has been suspended.

"Suspended by Facebook. For blowing the whistle. On something they have known privately for two years," Wylie tweeted on Sunday. Just as his account on Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, had also been suspended.

Facebook equally said it would be conducting its review without Wylie's help.

Responding to why suspending Wylie’s accounts, a lawyer at Facebook, Paul Grewal, said, "Mr. Wylie has refused to cooperate with us until we lift the suspension on his account,

He told CNN on Sunday that "Given he said he 'exploited Facebook to harvest millions of people's profiles,' we cannot do this (lift suspension) at this time."

ITRealms recalls that this has been the latest twist in a complicated story that has played out over the last few days via statements from Facebook (FB), an investigative report by The New York Times and London's The Observer, and revelations from the people involved.

Wylie was a data analyst for Cambridge Analytica, the controversial data firm that worked for President Donald Trump's campaign. He shared evidence of the company's activities with the two newspapers, as well as reportedly with cybercrime investigators in the United Kingdom. Over the weekend, he also spoke on British television about how the company was reportedly able to harvest data from 50 million Facebook profiles.

Wylie told UK’s Channel 4 at the weekend, that getting those data "allowed us to move into the hearts and minds of American voters in a way that had never been done before."

In addition, Facebook also suspended Cambridge Analytica from its platform on last Friday, saying in a blog post that the company had learned in 2015 that user data was shared with a political data group in violation of Facebook's terms. Facebook said they received certifications at the time that all copies of the data had been destroyed.

In a statement, Cambridge Analytica maintained "that all Facebook data and their derivatives" was deleted. It also says it did not use any of that data in its work for Trump's campaign.

According to the CNN, the revelations prompted renewed scrutiny of how Facebook was used to reach and influence voters ahead of the 2016 US presidential election.

Under fire from politicians in the United States and the United Kingdom, Facebook said on Sunday afternoon it was conducting an internal and external review to determine if Facebook data provided to Cambridge Analytica still existed.

The New York Times reported that Cambridge Analytica still possesses most or all of the data, according to interviews with a half-dozen former employees and contractors.
Facebook acknowledged in the blog post it has "received reports that, contrary to the certifications we were given, not all data was deleted."

The UK's Information Commissioner's Office said in a new statement on Monday that it was investigating the use of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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AFRICMIL, Akin Fadeyi Foundation partner to tackle corruption

The African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) is partnering the Akin Fadeyi Foundation (AFF) on a major collaboration aimed at fostering a strong alliance in furtherance of both organization’s common objective to combat corruption in Nigeria, reports ITRealms.
AFRICMIL’s project against graft is themed Corruption Anonymous (CORA) while Akin Fadeyi Foundation took the nation by storm when it launched Corruption Not In My Country, a series of audio-visual TV commercials against corruption at the micro level. It enjoyed the endorsement of international development partners like the European Union, UNDP and UNODC.
Coordinator of AFRICMIL, Chido Onumah, said his organization was “excited to collaborate with Akin Fadeyi Foundation to combat corruption through its creative anti-corruption tools which resonate with Nigerians and are in tune with our objectives to promote active citizens’ involvement in exploring the whistle-blowing opportunity.”
According to Onumah, the CORA project seeks to promote whistleblowing among Nigerians, maintain the integrity of the process and ensure protection for whistleblowers. He said CORA would continue to work with like-minded organizations like Akin Fadeyi Foundation committed to recreating a new and better Nigerian society whose ideals, vision and aspirations are etched on transparency and integrity.
“In working together, we shall explore further opportunities for creative, impactful and far-reaching messages to our target audiences and the public. This partnership will also enable us to strengthen the capacity of citizens to engage their leaders in public dialogue against corruption and demand for accountable governance,” Onumah noted.
The Executive Director, Akin Fadeyi Foundation, Mr. Akin Fadeyi said, “This is an encouraging development as we join forces with key stakeholders in the ever-challenging anti-corruption war. This new partnership with Corruption Anonymous (CORA) is a boost to our efforts at creating robust public dialogue against corruption, particularly as we seek to empower citizens to shun corruption and demand accountability from government institutions. At Akin Fadeyi Foundation, we are committed to a Nigeria where integrity and transparency will define our ways of life. We are very eager to stem the destructive tide of corruption as an acceptable norm.”
Corruption Anonymous (CORA) is a project of the African Centre for Media and Information Literacy (AFRICMIL) that seeks to build public confidence and support for the whistleblowing policy of the Nigerian government as well as reinforce protection for whistle-blowers.
Akin Fadeyi Foundation has been unrelenting in raising citizens voice-action for more transparent institutions and general value reorientation through its grassroots Pan-Nigeria campaign against retail corruption tagged: CORRUPTION, NOT IN MY COUNTRY. Apart from TV broadcast, it has engaged with communities and taken the messages to schools to strengthen the capacity of young people as very critical vulnerable sectors of the society. 
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Monday, March 19, 2018

Digital economy needs strong 5G foundation - Ekholm

The President and chief executive officer at Ericsson, Mr. Börje Ekholm has adduced some reasons why digital economy needs strong fifth-generation (5G) foundation, reports ITRealms.

Speaking at the just concluded 2018 Mobile World Congress in a keynote fireside chat with Karen Tso, co-anchor of Squawk Box Europe on CNBC, Ekholm reiterated that 5G has moved from buzzword to a commercial reality, highlighting the company’s 38 Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and several commercial contracts with service providers.

This, he said, avails 5G to position service providers at the center of the digital ecosystem.

“We see 5G as a way to show the value of the network. A lot of technology depends on a strong mobile infrastructure,” he said, stressing that while increased speed will be important with 5G, lower latency and longer battery life could be even more so.

5G, he said, has been designed to be the industrial internet, with remote control of machinery and maintenance with augmented reality as two prime examples.

“At the same time, the consumer will see this too, for instance, in health care and autonomous vehicles where low latency will be a critical factor,” Ekholm said.

On the need for the right regulatory regime, he also said deregulation in Europe and easier site permitting processes, will allow for the rapid build out of sites necessary for 5G.

“It’s important for governments to see networks as critical natural resources. 100 years ago, we built out railways and roads. The future roads are digital highways,” he declared and looking ahead to the future on several levels – commercially, in terms of new devices and in how 5G will dramatically change lives.

“5G will be a commercial reality for a couple reasons,” he said. “The first is data traffic.  We need 5G to bring cost per gigabyte down.  We also see that early movers in new technology gain a benefit.  We saw that with early movers in 4G – they get higher average revenue per user and higher market share.”

Ericsson predicts there will be a billion 5G devices on the market by 2023, and they could likely shift how we interact with our connected devices.

“We’ll see more wearables. And fragmentation on the device side will be larger. Today the smartphone is the center of ecosystem.  That could look different in a 5G world.”
But it’s also about opening up possibilities.

“Think about the smartphone. Did we think that we would use it to stream video and music, order food and order a cab?  No. The new use cases will come as the technology matures,” Ekholm said.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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Corporate guru, Ijogun emerges Konga chairman


Konga, Nigeria’s leading electronic commerce (e-commerce) giant, has appointed a frontline corporate guru, Olusiji Ijogun as its chairman, with effective from Sunday, April 1st, 2018, reports ITRealms.

Konga, ITRealms gathered, has dominated the news recently after its recent acquisition by the Zinox Group, Nigeria’s foremost technology conglomerate, in a move that several industry watchers believe will position the company on a stronger footing and raise the profile of e-commerce in Nigeria.

A seasoned and widely experienced technocrat, Ijogun boasts over three decades of top-notch performance in finance and management which he has brought to bear on the fortunes of a number of thriving businesses across various sectors.

His sterling career has seen him hold several top positions including Senior Group Manager, Unilever Audit, Divisional Managing Director, UAC Foods, Group Finance Director, UAC of Nigeria Plc and Commercial Director, Lever Egypt. He was appointed to the Board of Honeywell Group where he positioned the Group in the foods sector of the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) segment.

Mr. Ijogun holds a B.Sc (Hons.) degree from the Faculty of Business Administration, University of Lagos. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Cost and Management Accountants UK and Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria. He currently serves as the Chairman of Ackmen Nigeria Limited and CEO of Innodel Consulting.

His wealth of experience across several brands and sectors is expected to come in handy in positioning Konga on a path of sound corporate governance and a greater share of the e-commerce market in Nigeria and beyond.

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Berth of Ausso Leadership Academy: A welcome path

At the beginning of this year, one thing that took industry watchers by storm was the berthing of the Ausso Leadership Academy (ALA) with a promise from the entrepreneurial elite of Nigeria to harness their experiences under this umbrella in support of the entrepreneurial ecosystem with personalized mentorship to maximize jobs created by entrepreneurs by ensuring shared prosperity; inspired by the unprecedented success in entrepreneurship at Silicon Valley, which underpins a strong mentorship culture.

ITRealms sees this as a commendable initiative by the founder, Computer Warehouse Group (CWG), Mr. Austin Okere who is the brain behind this academy, even as ALA aims at impacting at least 200 Entrepreneurs each year in cohorts of 40 per Masterclass, with the first Masterclass coming on stream as early as April and for which registration has commenced. Expectation is that the entrepreneurs will achieve double-digit growth in their revenue a year after impact and would have imbibed a code of governance and a culture of succession and legacy, anchored with the partnership of duo of Messrs Mario Marconi and Martin Emordi of the African Wealth Partners.

Accordingly, ALA’s vision as gathered by ITRealms transcends innovative mindset, experiential learning, institutionalization and scaling, co-inspiring networking, instilling ethical conduct, exposure to capital opportunities and personalized mentoring, rounded up with the purpose of mentoring entrepreneurs to institutionalize and scale their businesses geometrically.

As noted by Okere, Nigeria is at a point when the ecosystem is visibly maturing and entrepreneurial opportunities are vastly increasing, hence, ALA’s goal is to drive economic development through high-impact entrepreneurs, who will become a strong economic force that can take advantage of the opportunities to transform the country; “One of the cardinal principles of the Ausso Leadership Academy is to instill the mentality of building a solid structure for the business with more emphasis on Institutionalization than the concept of an All-Knowing Strongman; an erroneous concept which has led to the demise of many enterprises after the departure of the founder.”

For the records, Austin Okere was also the founder of CWG Plc, the acclaimed largest security in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector at the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Okere had subsequently honed his craft in Entrepreneurial Executive Education, becoming an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Columbia Business School, New York and being appointed into the Advisory Board of the Global Business School Network (GBSN) in Washington DC.

On the inspiration for the setting up the academy, Okere explained that being a serial entrepreneur, it was intuitive for him to conceive the idea of the Ausso Leadership Academy and the unique differentiation it offers. Asserting that “the first inspiration was what I would have advised my younger self and the second inspiration was to be the Mentor I wish I had.”
In addition, Okere noted that the huge gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem is due to the lack of a personalized mentorship programme to complement what professors teach entrepreneurs at business schools. 

Entrepreneurs are best mentored by other entrepreneurs who understand the trailblazing journey and how to spot opportunities from challenges and create new businesses for themselves and others. Therefore, the need for resourcefulness and an innovative mindset to reinvent oneself when disruption knocks on the door is a key skill which entrepreneurs need to imbibe. ALA, thus, tends to provide the medium for veteran entrepreneurs to pass on this experiential skill, emphasizing what has worked in their own journeys, and the pitfalls to avoid.

The Champions of Entrepreneurship are role models who reinvest their knowledge, credibility and time in the next generation of entrepreneurs, thus multiplying their network and influence. Among the Champions who will be sharing their experiences are Ibukun Awosika, Aigboje Aig-Imokhuede, Tony Elumelu, John Momoh, Frank Aigbogun, Austin Avuru, Dotun Suleiman, Ndidi Nwuneli, Ernest Ndukwe, Mitchel Elegbe, Charles Anudu, Seyi Bickerseth and Deji Alli to mention a few.

The faculty on the other hand, is made up of seasoned practitioners who have also honed their skills working with entrepreneurs in various capacities, including Austin Okere, Chris Stephenson, Opeyemi Agbaje and Rasheed Olaoluwa. On why he accepted, for instance, to be a faculty at ALA, Chris said “Austin is one of Africa’s leading Tech Entrepreneurs, and I’ve been working with him since 2010. I want to get behind his exciting new venture and continue our partnership.” 

And recommended the academy to prospective participants because entrepreneurs need a clear vision and operational plan with which to inspire colleagues, investors and other stakeholders; believing the academy will bring participants up to wear their thinking caps, approaches, tips and tricks that the faculty themselves all learnt the hard way. More importantly, he said, it will provide them with the framework, network and above all confidence for success, whatever their venture.

In his response, Opeyemi Agbaje, promises to bring into the programme efforts at tackling corruption which must be recognized with its socio-economic linkages, especially poverty and unemployment, thereby, throwing up an effective and sustainable anti-corruption strategy to be anchored in the context of an ambitious economic reform programme that creates employment in large numbers to foster inclusive economic growth. This is what I believe the Ausso Leadership Academy brings to the table and why I want to contribute my quota.”

Rasheed Olawoluwa, on the other hand, says “Entrepreneurial Leadership is incomplete without a Vision and a strong ability to Influence People to get Results. This is what we aim to impart at the Ausso Leadership Academy,” based on the fact that Ausso Leadership Academy recognizes that capital is essential to scaling small businesses entered into partnerships with investors including the African Wealth Partners AG of Switzerland to offer opportunities for capital to entrepreneurs who successfully articulate their growth plans.

It is clear that Ausso Leadership Academy as conceptualized with partnership of the African Wealth Partners; has come to stay, especially at this time of rise in unemployment to cushion some effects at this recession period, despite claims that Nigeria has exited; thus it deserves every support to make this dream a success, thereby reducing the challenges even those who may have been affected with the recession and wish to delve into entrepreneurship may face, thereby a great boost to economic emancipation of the people of Nigeria., more so for 21st century competitiveness.

Like Martin Emodi, the founding partner of the Africa Wealth Partners, succinctly said, “We were seriously impressed by the practical leadership development programme Mr. Okere is putting together for Nigerian entrepreneurs. It is so important to give the entrepreneurs the tools and support to take their businesses to the next level. This will be good business for all involved but most importantly for the country and its development.”

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ICT4D Week 2018