cover of the week:
Professionals in the country under the aegis of the Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN) have said that the nation needs an IT adviser at the Presidency.
This is coming as the Executive Governor, Yobe State, Senator Mamman Ali has confirmed his readiness to relaunch ITAN’s Old Students Computer-In-Schools Initiative (OS-CISI) at this year’s edition of the Enhancing Information Technology Penetration in Nigeria (EITPIN-08) in Lagos, tomorrow.
ITAN made this call through its national president, Dr. Jimson Olufuye who said that the appointment of a special adviser to Mr. President on IT matters would go a long way in aligning the nation’s Information and Communication Technology and core IT industry particularly with the global trends.
“This would allow the President to be better advised on developments in the sector and on what policy and programmes that the government should prosecute,” Dr. Olufuye said in a press statement made available to Champion Infotel.
ITAN also expressed gratitude to some state governors for the foresight in appointing special advisers on IT at that level, describing it as a step in the right direction.
“This is a step in the right direction. We call on the states that do not currently have advisers on IT to do so,” the group said.
ITAN also added voice to the Local Content Bill currently before the National Assembly, suggesting that the scope of the proposed bill should be structured to accommodate IT in addition to the initial eight focal sectors.
Equally, ITAN called on the National Assembly to establish IT Committees in the House and Senate as it had in other sectors like in Communications.
“This we believe would allow the National Assembly to be well prepared to play its oversight role with respect to IT development, policy making and the enactment of relevant laws to regulate the sector,” Olufuye said.
Emphasising that State’s Assemblies should follow suit with their IT Committees established without delay for articulated and well co-ordinated IT development at various levels.
“The establishment of IT Ministries in states at the executive level is a necessity in this regard,” he said.
ITAN further expressed satisfaction over what it called ‘steady progress’ in IT sector, noting that a proactive and conducive policy environment will provide professionals and IT corporate citizens the opportunities, support and incentive to excel in the sector.
Additionally, ITAN urged the National IT Development Agency (NITDA) to urgently conclude its IT policy review initiative before its elements become obsolete on the drawing board.
Meanwhile, Governor Mamman Ali of Yobe State, is set to relaunch ITAN’s OS-CISI at EITPIN-08 holding at UNILAG in Lagos, tomorrow.
Confirming this, Dr. Olufuye said this has become necessary to ensure that schools have access to educational computers, as first step towards the deepening of IT at grassroots.
ITAN, therefore decided to use EITPIN-08 scheduled to hold at the Centre for Information and Technology Systems (CITS), University of Lagos (UNILAG), Akoka, Yaba, Lagos on Thursday, next week to resuscitate the initiative.
“We at ITAN have decided to resuscitate our earlier initiative, the Computer In School Initiative now christened Old Students Computer In School Initiative (OS CISI),” he said.
He added that the objective of the initiative is to facilitate deployment of computers to old students primary and secondary schools as its first level of implementation.
The second level, he said, would require the deployment of computers to old students-nominated schools apart from their alma mata.
“The first and second levels deployments can actually run pari-passu,” he asserted, adding that the third level would be deployment of PCs to third party nominated schools across the six geo-political regions of the country.
He explained that the computers involved could be fairly used but not below Pentium III 128 Megabyte Random Access Memory (MB RAM), or brand new systems that could be as may be recommended by the sponsor of the school.
Dr. Olufuye emphasised that based on strategic partnership with Microsoft and local software developers through Cognitive Software, ITAN plans to power each system with Microsoft Windows XP, MS Office 2003 Suite, MS Student Encarta 2005, MS Educational software, and Cognitive educational packages at the first instance.
“An option with Linux has an alternate standard platform which is still on the table,” he said.
He pointed out that a minimum of five computers would be star-networked with a fairly used or brand new laserjet/deskjet printer, even as the equipment would be made Internet ready but not connected to the Internet.
“It is hoped that the Galaxy Backbone Internet Infrastructure will extend to benefiting schools as soon as it is deployed. At least one 5kva stabilizer and 5 650va UPS’ shall also be part of the package,” he said.