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ICT4D Week 2018

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Uwaje: IT Strategist


By Remmy Nweke

Listening to Mr. Chris Uwaje at any Information Technology (IT) function, reminds one of St. John the Evangelist given his poetic and pragmatic proposals for emancipation of knowledge society based on local software development, diffusion and deployment in the country.

Uwaje who is a fellow of the Nigeria Computer Society (FNCS) and Institute of Analysts and Programmers (FIAP) is the helmsman at the Connect Technologies Limited, a local software engine-room known for developing Banker Enterprise, Enterprise Knowledge intelligence groupware and Enterprise Stock Master applications.

Having graduated from the University of Hamburg and British Institute of Engineering Technology specializing on Informatics, he proceeded to the Control Data Institute in Frankfurt, Germany for post-graduate qualifications; Uwaje has had over three decades on the job experience as a computer scientist, spreading the IT gospel across continents of Africa, Europe and America.

As a principal consultant and chief executive at Connect Technologies, Uwaje spends most of his time conceptualizing science and technology based projects, as well as designing the implementation, management and technological backup.

A firm believer in software revolution, especially locally designed applications, Uwaje is an advocate of Nigerian software taking the nation to the next level as the world continues to go digital. Hence he uses his software engineering antics to research, design for development, which he calls involvement in (RD & D).

An inspiration to many student software programmers, described in his words as ‘Code students,’ Uwaje currently serves as the coordinating chairman, Council for West Africa Information Technology Professionals (CWAITP).

He was two-term President, Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN) between 1999 and 2003; where he transformed ITAN into national and international acceptance in the scheme of IT professional groupings, especially with his input in the National IT Policy, which translated into the National IT Development Agency (NITDA) core agenda for implementation.

His influence as the first vice president, Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) saw him representing the president almost at every occasion within the industry. It was not surprising that he was not found wanting in the inter-ministerial committee on software development, and Presidential committee on Credit Development System.

Fellow of the Institute of Certified Professional, and a member, Institute of Management Specialist, both based in the United Kingdom, and also a member, Computer Professional (Registration Council) of Nigeria (CPN) and former president, Rotary International District 9110, Nigeria.

As the former co-chair of the National Software Development Initiative (NSDI), Chris Uwaje consults for the federal government on a number of projects, including that of the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology (FMST) cum NITDA, the National Office for Technology Acquisition (NOTAP), as well as Akwa Ibom State.

His input was not missing at the National Committee for the Acquisition of Computer and Electronic Technology (NACACET) and at the National Committee for Nigerian Solution on the Millennium Bug (Y2K), where he served as members.

With numerous industry papers to his credit, Uwaje is the designer cum promoter of the http://www.nigerianitexpert.com/, a web portable and also conceptual designer of http://www.nigeriaitworld.org/ homepage.

His managerial prowess came to the fore in 2002 when he presided over the organizing committee of the first-ever Nigerian global IT summit held in Lagos and the second leg which took place in the United States (US), a year later. He was also the chairman of “On-to-Silicon Valley with Nigerian IT delegates” to San Francisco, California in 2003.

In 2005, he authored “Globalisation of Software Development – Opportunities for Nigeria,” and serialized articles on Open Source Rain Clouds, which began in 2004. Uwaje has more than a hundred publications, including “Its Time to listen to Emeagwali and One Million Nigerians” parts 1-5; “Brain Drain Revisited”, and “Our Society Must Change”, in addition to “The Senate and Challenges of IT Legislation; Preparing for the Knowledge Economy, Imperatives of E-Commerce for Corporate Enterprise; IT and Education in Nigeria; Electronic Data Interchange – Focus on Inter-Vendor Relationship in the Computer Industry”.

The immediate past president, ITAN, once predicted in 2005, that the new vision of NITDA, under Prof. Cleopas Angaye, is capable of growing the IT industry into a $10 billion global enterprise in the next eight years.

He also projected that for this vision to be achieved, NITDA needs about $6 billion over the next eight years “to grow the IT industry into a $10 billion global enterprise” to lay the appropriate “formidable IT foundation”.

He was not short of words soon after it was announced that Nigeria has been granted $18 billion debt relief as he insisted on the investment of 50 per cent debt relief gains on IT, arguing that it should be channeled into improving the power/energy infrastructure and Information Technology (IT) in the country.

The Connect Technologies boss is proud of local software that recently, he gave a demonstration of his firm’s electronic government (e-govt) application known as ‘Enterprise e-Governance Operations Solution’ (EGOS), at the Presidency getting them excited on the performance of the solution, at a session witnessed by Presidential advisers, ministers, permanent secretaries and directors general, at the Banquet Hall of Aso Villa, Abuja.

He believes the presentation was in line with the federal government’s e-strategies initiative through the Public, Private Partnership (PPP) window, which he noted, is the dream of the indigenous software developers.

On the importance of the local software solution, like EGOS, the chief architect thinks that it is a core engine for government-to-government (G2G) application based on software that is 100 per cent indigenous effort, resulting from over 26 months of research, design and development cycle.

State and local governments, to him, will reap significant administrative savings and will be able to improve programme delivery because the data necessary to measure performance will be more accurate and timely.

His desire for the sector could be summed up in this poetic assertion, “And for those who don't know, … "there is a light in the tunnel of Nigerian knowledge-gap. The wise will search for this link and drink from its wealth of exclusive knowledge in the Information Technology Domain."

N/B: This was also published in Daily Champion of Tuesday, March 7, 2006 as ICON.

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