FIRST-EVER Nigerian General Manager, Microsoft Corporation Nigeria, Mr. Gerald Ilukwe, has bowed out of the corporation, and has been appointed the pioneer Managing Director, Galaxy Backbone Plc.
This development came as Microsoft launched the Akwa-Ibom Digital Village (DV).
Galaxy Backbone Plc, is a company set up by the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) to drive the availability of infrastructure backbone in the country.
Mr. Ilukwe is to assume duties next month, September at Galaxy office located in Abuja.
His move is coming after a six year instinct in building Microsoft’s rapid growth in Nigeria since the inception in the country in 2000. Till date, Microsoft has office in Lagos and Abuja which were opened in 2000 and 2004 respectively.
Speaking on this development, Mr. Ilukwe said, that he was motivated about the new opportunity and proud of the legacy he was leaving.
“When I joined Microsoft as the general manager for Nigeria, I was forward to being part of a company that would be completely committed to Africa … not just in terms of growing the software economy but also in training, developing and building the capacity of people. Microsoft was and continues to be that company,” he said.
He also believes there are some challenges and opportunities in both areas moving forward but stressed it would be excellent to see the economic environment made even more conducive for multinationals like Microsoft to invest still further.
“I would also hope that the private sector supports the continued development of the region’s technology infrastructure, as well as its people,” Mr. Ilukwe said.
In his comments, the Regional General Manager, Microsoft for West, East and Central Africa (WECA), Mr. Thomas Hansen, corroborated Mr. Ilukwe, saying that Nigeria also held enormous potential for future growth.
“Projects such as the Computers for All Nigerians Initiative (CANI), as well as the Federal Government’s general commitment to technology development, spell good news for the entire local software economy here in Nigeria,” he said, just as he wished Mr. Ilukwe we on behalf of Microsoft in his new position.
“We look forward to appointing a general manager to build our citizenship, government partnership and software business still further,” Mr. Hansen said.
Meanwhile, Microsoft Nigeria in collaboration with the Foundation for Community Health Education, a non-governmental organisation, took a giant stride in supporting the nationwide roll-out of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) facilities as launched a Digital Village recently in Akwa-Ibom.
The Digital Village, donated to Obonganwan Skills Acquisition Centre and commissioned by President Olusegun Obasanjo, is a core component of Microsoft’s citizenship initiative in Africa. It aims at improving ICT penetration, skills development and economic empowerment of the people of the state.
Speaking at the commissioning, President Obasanjo extolled the initiative as a laudable project aimed at reducing social vices through purposeful engagement of the youths.
Mr. Ilukwe said, the initiative is part of Microsoft’s drive to give something back to the communities in which it operates.
“We are looking at introducing ICT know-how and access to the less-privileged to enable them compete effectively in the information society and knowledge economy. It is a demonstration that being poor does not mean being disconnected,” said Ilukwe.
The Digital Village, he said, is designed to serve multiple functions, including being a training centre and offering public access to the Internet, among other things. He expressed optimism that the village would be effectively and efficiently managed.
Programme Manager, Skills Acquisition Centre, Mr. Nsikibo Udofia, assured that the Digital Village will be efficiently and effectively managed. He also said that consultations are underway to bring instructors from the Department of Computer Science of the University of Uyo to train the students
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