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Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Nigeria needs chief information officer – Fabolude

Nigerian Information Technology (IT) enthusiast, Mr. Oladejo Fabolude has counseled the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan over his reported interest to use social media and precisely Facebook, for electoral reform among the youths in the country.

Fabolude, who spoke in Lagos, applauded President Jonathan for this decision, but warned that it could only be a successful step when complimented with the appointment of a chief information officer (CIO).

Whoever assumes this position, Fabolude said, would be occupying a very crucial position in the administration of President Jonathan, stressing that when he initially heard about the media reports that the President was going to use Facebook to communicate with the people, he was excited, but considering the huge responsibility in managing the new technologies, Fabolude insisted, there is need for CIO.

“Then it was the announcement about a plan to spend a significant amount of money making internet infrastructure available to schools across the country. Now I hear the government is also going to be using Youtube. It seems someone in Abuja woke up and discovered all these tools of the 21st Century,” he asserted.

According to him, all this sudden interest in modern information technology is a good thing and should be applauded.

“As long as the government’s interest is awoken, let me use the opportunity to make a suggestion. The Federal Republic of Nigeria needs a Chief Information Officer, a Federal CIO,” he declared.

As said by him, functional and profitable IT tools, for instance aids workers in doing their jobs and provision of the technology, helps to develop and implement technology policy and strategy which are the responsibilities of an IT department headed by an IT Manager otherwise known as a Chief Information Officer.

“This IT department doesn’t do technology for technology’s sake, but its function is to provide technology to achieve the organisation’s goal,” he advised.

Fabolude argued that Nigeria as a country needs a practical IT department, although the Ministries of Information and Science and Technology exist, he noted that their portfolios are too broad for this. “While it is possible for someone in either of these organisations to fulfill this role, I believe this is a role that belongs to the Presidency, pretty much the same way the Department of Petroleum Resources is in the Presidency,” he said.

He cited an instance with President Barrak Obama, who said that his Chief Information Officer, Vivek Kundra Kundra “will play a key role in making sure our government is running in the most secure, open, and efficient way possible.”

Hence, he said, Kundra made it a priority to focus on some key areas, namely to ensure openness and transparency, lowering the cost of government, cyber-security, participatory democracy, and innovation.

As said by him, one of Mr. Kundra’s first projects was the launch of Data.gov, a site for providing access to raw government data, followed by the launch in June 2009 the Federal IT Dashboard, which gives an assessment in terms of cost, schedule and CIO ranking of many large governments IT projects.

“Nigeria’s CIO should have a similar job, specifically,” he said, suggesting in addition that the CIO should be responsible for developing an information technology platform to be used by all tiers of government in running their operations.

This platform, he said, would specify a standard set of procedures for collecting, creating and storing government information, a set of tools for accessing and transforming that information for actionable intelligence, and security policies to ensure the integrity and availability of that information.

“The CIO would define a set of standards that would use information technology to enable government operate more efficiently reducing bureaucracy, wastage, duplication of effort, cost of running the nation and time to get things done,” he said.

Pointing out that these standards would also have made provision for the prevention and detection of fraud and corrupt practices.

He stressed that the job would involve developing a simple mechanism to enable the people of Nigeria engage their governments in any form, shape or fashion using telephony and internet technologies.

“Similarly, this mechanism would enable the government to aggregate information about what is happening in the lives of ordinary Nigerians in order to formulate policy and proper deployment of resources,” he opined.

Additionally, he said, the CIO would serve was a resource to the various ministries and parastatals in the execution of IT projects. Indeed the law establishing the office will require that all projects that have an IT component over a certain amount of Naira value be included in the CIO’s office as part of the project.

The CIO, Fabolude said, would also guide the Senate and the House on the formulation of laws that regulate and promote information technology, ecommerce and internet privacy and that enable law enforcement agencies battle cybercrime.

Nigeria, he maintained, is long overdue to take IT seriously as a tool for running of the government. “While various government agencies have a variety of initiatives, internal and citizen-facing, there is need to be a top-down unified approach to incorporating IT into the fabric of our nation,” he said, stressing that a federal CIO, who does the job well, will be a potent force in bringing the Nigerian nation into the league of nations making their people’s lives better by using modern technology.


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1 comment:

Unknown said...

yeah... dis is a very good idea... Nigeria needs to move the ICT ladder... we need a CIO... and I hope they will chooses a very vast, knowledgeable, technological savvy, up to date and experienced person whose decisions will be respected...