Wednesday, August 24, 2005

ANIEBONAM: ICT bridge builder


HE is an authority in Information Technology (IT). And with his knowledge in the field, he is at the fore-front of ensuring that Nigeria becomes a leading IT nation.

For him, the task of making Nigeria a global force is one that must be done.
No doubt, Prof. Emmanuel Chukwunonso Aniebonam is one of the few gifts of Nigeria to the IT world.

Currently, he has been mobilizing Nigerians in the diaspora via the Nigerian Information Technology Professionals in the Americas (NITPA), of which, he is the president, with a view to bridging the digital divide between Nigeria and the rest of the world.

It was through NITPA that he intervened in 2004, following the crisis surrounding the controversial hosting of the nation’s country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), dot ng, by deploying internet technology, to bring to a round table, the warring parties.

He spearheaded the first Global IT Roundtable held in Lagos in 2003 and a second leg which was held in the last quarter of the year in the United States of America in collaboration with the Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), hence, industry watchers were not surprised when he was honoured with the NCS’ ‘Brain Gain Ambassador’ award in 2003, in recognition of his contributions to IT in the country.

On January 13, 2005, he brokered a deal between University of Nigeria (UNN) and AfriHub for the establishment of ICT parks at its two campuses in Enugu and Nsukka.

The parks were established by AfriHub Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of AfriHub LLC, a US-based company jointly owned by SkyTerra Communications, Zinox Technologies Ltd and Rainbownet Ltd.

This heralded the commencement of the proposed 40 ICT parks to be established in Nigeria by AfriHub before the end of 2006.

Prof. Aniebonam, had informed that the UNN launch would be followed by another launch of ICT Parks in the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO); Federal Polytechnic, Nekede, and the Nnamdi Azikiwe University (NAU), Awka, to complete the South East rollout of AfriHub ICT parks.

Manny, as he is called by friends, also disclosed that the ICT Park train will soon move to the South West where four additional centres have been slated for launch before the end of this year.

Later, the train would head to the North East, and North Central regions where over eighth centres would be opened.

Each park has state-of-the-art cyber centre with more than 200 Personal Computers (PCs), high speed internet access, a multi-line call centre for high quality domestic and international telephony, and campus-wide wireless extension for future growth.

Every park would also have computer and multimedia equipped classrooms for a US instructor-led technical training.

Manny is currently serving as the Executive Vice President, AfriHub Limited Liability Company (LLC) based in Fairfax, Virginia, USA, after glowing years at the George Washington University’s (GWU) Faculty of Computer Information Systems’ Management Science Department, as an assistant professor since August 2001.

He had held the same post at Howard University School of Business, Computing Information Systems and Analysis, Washington DC, between August 1997 and July 2001.
Manny completed his Ph.D in 1997 at The George Washington University School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. Prior to joining the academia, he had sixteen years working experience in Fortune 100 companies as Information Systems Developer, Database Administrator, IT Consultant and Project Manager, with expert knowledge of information systems development, deployment and support.

His involvement with the IT industry made him a dynamic contributor in quest for using scholastic research findings for the development of database applications in Management Information Systems (MIS).

Prof. Aniebonam’s research interests include performance issues in distributed databases over Wide Area Networks (WAN), application of Information Systems methods to higher education, and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) policy intervention towards global digital divide.

A long-time member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE’s), Computer Society, as well as a recipient of Softworks’ Inc ‘Service Award for Professional Excellence’; Mobil Oil Corporation’s Award for Technical Excellence, and a 2001 Department of Defence (DoD) Eagle Award for development of application software used by the U.S Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory (AFDIL), Prof. Aniebonam’s works in other areas of interest are published in diverse Information Technology journals.

His contributions to academia cut across different areas through engagement on digital divide issues in collaboration with major global NGO’s, such as the United Nations (UN), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), International Development Research Centre (IDRC) and Teachers Without Boarders; Conference Committee services. He is also a contributor and paper reviewer for Information Society (IS) publications.

His pre-doctoral engagement in IT industry include working as project consultant for a major Year 2000 conversion responsible for identifying, correcting, and testing of over 1500 programmes in a Federal Government agency to ensure that the MIS/DSS are Y2K compliant, among others.

Having specialized in Accounting/Information Systems in his first degree from the State University of New York, in 1981, he got a Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Computer Science from the same university.

He crowned it with a Doctor of Science in Computing Information Systems at The George Washington University, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Washington DC, in 1997.

His research interests encompasses curriculum development, programme content review and analysis, distance learning tools development, application and measurements, digital divide intervention strategies in diverse environment and groups, global software management practices, database management in distributed client/server environments.

His published materials include "Global software project management: Lessons from the past"; "Exploring the relationship between global practices and local interests: Case of IT-based reorganization within the Nigerian banking industry", "Effective use of distance learning towards bridging the digital divide"; "Towards information technology support for special users in developing countries: Bridging the digital gap for the disabled", among others.

So far, he has developed six teaching courses namely: Systems Analysis and Design – Senior level course on systems design & implementation, Software project management – senior Level course on Software Project planning, control and resource management, database management – senior level course on logical and physical database design, comparative operating systems – graduate level class on OS Design, functions and performance, Management Information Systems – (MIS) concepts, application and development, and Introduction to Computer Concepts and Applications – basic course on computer concepts.

As a teacher, he has carved a niche for himself by successfully introducing new and industry IT tools in the classroom, including application of modern software tools (ORACLE, SQL/SERVER, HTML, SQL and XML), at Howard University – 1999 to 2000. He also applied software industry standard tools at the GW SBPM MIST classes by utilizing Microsoft software acquired through grant, for teaching excellence (Office 2000, Vision 2000, Visual Basic, InterDev, J++, C++, etc).

He belongs to the following professional associations: United Nations Digital Divide Network (UNDDN), 2001 till date; Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), since 1990; Association of Computing Machinery (ACM), 1983 till date and Association of Information Systems since 1999.

Prof. Aniebonam served as board member, Baltimore/Washington DB2 Users Group, 1994 – 1999, Mobil Oil Corporation, "Lube Systems TQM Award", 1994, and was cited in Who’s Who in American Universities and Colleges, 1981.

Other professional and academic awards bagged by the 48-year-old IT guru, include the Howard University School of Business Teacher of the Year, (for three consecutive years, from 1999 to 2001); Howard University School of Business’ 2000 Computer Information Systems Most Valuable Professor; Who’s Who Among American Teachers (2000); Excellence in Academic Service Award, Regents College, (June 2000); Howard University School of Business’ Computer Information Systems Most Valuable Instructor for 1999; and Technical Competency Award at Softworks Inc. (1996).

*This piece written by REMMY NWEKE, Senior Reporter, was published as ICON on page 2, Daily Champion, Wednesday, August 24, 2005

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