" ITREALMS: August 2016

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

National ID: Danbatta approves data release to NIMC

As part of the efforts to harmonise the biomentric data captured by the Federal Government agencies, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Professor Umar Garba Danbatta, has approved the release of the commission’s data from the ongoing Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards registration exercise to the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC), reports ITRealms.

Revealing this while receiving the Director-General, NIMC, Engr. Aliyu A Aziz, who paid him a courtesy call in Abuja, Prof. Danbatta said the decision to release the data is in line with similar Federal Government’s instruction to transfer validated data to the sister agency.

ITRealms recalls that inter-agency and other stakeholders’ collaboration is a key component of the 8 Point Agenda the Professor of telecommunications engineering unveiled in February this year, with a view to moving the industry forward.

“I would like to pledge our commitment to this cooperation between the NIMC and the NCC to ensure that we have a secure, reliable database containing biometric information for all Nigerians, which will definitely augur well for the security of the country among other benefits,” he noted.

“So we are committed to this. We recognize the importance of this cooperation and I would like to stress the need to give it all the seriousness it deserves.

I am happy that there’s an MoU and there’s also a Federal Government’s directive, which would help in facilitating the data transfer,“ he added.

The EVC, however, called for the reinvigorating of the existing inter-agency committee handling the exercise in order to fast-track the peace-meal data transfer to NIMC.

In the same vein, the EVC directed the NCC to ensure that the data transferred to NIMC are fully backed up to avoid any hitches in future.

Responding to a question at the occasion, however, the NIMC boss who expressed a delight at the cooperation between the two agencies, said that the data transfer from NCC would also improve the ongoing National Identification Number (NIN) exercise of the commission.

He said NIMC would use the NCC’s data to assign NIM to Nigerians who were captured in the validated data received.

Nenye Dom/GEE
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Women empowerment, crucial to development - Bibeau

The Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau, has said that women’s empowerment is crucial for development, particularly in Senegal, reports ITRealms.

She made this known during her official visit to Senegal in West Africa on Tuesday, saying that empowering women would propel them to reply on their presence in all spheres of the society.

“I am determined to ensuring that Canada’s international aid resources go first and foremost toward giving women the means to contribute fully to the development of their communities,” she said.

Bibeau also said Canada would spend $112.6 million to fund four development projects and initiatives in Senegal.

Funding of $19.6 million over five years (2016 to 2021) will go to the International Development Research Centre to support the work being done by the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences, particularly in Senegal.

Minister Bibeau also announced funding for a series of other projects. For example, $70 million over five years (2015 to 2020) was allocated to the Government of Senegal to help it implement its Plan Sénégal Émergent [emerging Senegal plan], which will assist the country in achieving strong and inclusive growth. 

This support, she said, includes upward of $50 million in budgetary assistance to enable the Senegalese government to enhance its public financial management and governance of key sectors, such as agriculture and nutrition.

Canada will also provide $20 million in technical assistance to help various departments manage public funds and ensure service delivery to the Senegalese population.

During her trip to Senegal, the Minister toured development projects in Dakar and Thiès that are improving the access of women and youth to primary health care as well as to primary education.

Uj Dominic/GEE
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Pix: Canadian Minister of International Development and La Francophonie, Marie-Claude Bibeau

Why internet growth in Africa is slow - Study

A new study has revealed why the Internet growth on the African continent is slow, just as lack of local content is worsening the decline, reports ITRealms.

The study on “Promoting Content in Africa” led by the Internet Society examined Internet access and availability to get people online, was released at the ongoing African Peering and Interconnection Forum (AfPIF) holding in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

ITRealms gathered from the co-author of the report and Internet Society Fellow, Bastiaan Quast, that they looked critically at infrastructure, mostly in mobile networks, stressing that Internet adoption rates are slowing in many countries because users lack compelling reasons to connect.

In addition, Quast revealed, content and services are the main factors in making the Internet desirable, especially when the subject matter is relevant and in a language that users could easily understand.

Noting that lack of local content and services are affecting the number of new online users in Africa.

“In Sub-Saharan Africa in particular, local language content is key to bringing new users online, as many are not comfortable reading in English or French” part of the report read. 

The study also outlined the barriers to the development of local content and offers recommendations to improve local content availability and distribution.

In the Sub-Saharan countries, for instance, ITRealms reports that the majority of international and locally developed content are hosted outside the country, typically overseas. 

This, ITRealms reports, resulted in slow Internet speeds and higher access costs, just as in Rwanda for example, of all websites using the .RW domain names, only a small fraction were hosted in Rwanda.

“The majority of sites are hosted in Europe and the U.S.  Hosting content locally is key to making the Internet faster and more affordable for users,” ISOC said in the study.

As mobile financial services are becoming increasingly available in the African continent, monetizing mobile content is still a major challenge.

“Faster and better Internet access can help entrepreneurs create new local content including services and apps, but developers face barriers when it comes to payment mechanisms in order to monetize content,” Quast said.

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The Igbos: Why are they still Biafrans?

In his latest book entitled, We Are All Biafrans, Chido Onumah offers a very powerful discourse of Nigeria by imposing on the observable claims of marginalisation by every other group against the Nigerian State the metaphor of Biafranism. Every other group is selling that narrative about its own place in the Nigerian set up. In other words, they are doing what the Igbos took to a very high level in the late 1960s by declaring sovereignty, a move to which the Nigerian State responded by declaring a police action.

The rest is now history. ‘Biafran’ in that title is thus a loaded metaphor in the hands of the author, an unrepentant advocate of the renegotiation of Nigeria but not the secessionist which some readers imagine him to be, either because of the coincidence of his book with the renewed agitation for Biafra or from what the title of his book, particularly the word Biafra has come to denote in popular consciousness in Nigeria.

Of course, the agitation of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) makes it the second time the Igbo cultural identity would be associated with contesting the Nigerian State although some people argue that this time around, it is the Biafranism of the ‘Generation Text’. Members of ‘Generation Text’ have no idea of the horrors of the 1960s.

Whether the ‘Generation Text’ explanation of this phase of Igbo irredentism is true or not, it still makes the Igbos the most Biafranist group in Nigeria. That should throw up the why question. What might be there in the Igbo gene to account for the dialectics of Igboness in Nigeria: the unchallenged warriors of the Nigerian space in territorial terms but the quickest to get sucked into homeland insularity at the slightest provocation? How could so educated, so successful in business and so globally mobile and established an ethnic group misread the Nigerian text every now and then?

It is a question that would always be open to debate. Three major explanations remain most often the case. Taken in no particular order, there is the argument that Igbos are reacting to what they perceive as punishment for challenging the Nigerian State. There could be a different list now but around the late 1990s, those who were very educated in this would articulate the case of systematic marginalisation by saying, for example, that the Igbos are the exception in terms of a city which when shut down amounts to shutting down Nigeria. That is, they have no Lagos, Kano or Port-Harcourt which corresponds to the South-West/Yoruba, North/Hausa-Fulani and South-South.

Those who argue this agree that Onitsha is an emporium but would say that Onitsha does not have the strategic value of Kaduna or Oshogbo. There is no export free zone, airport, power plant, refinery or educational institution of stature in the east, it is pointed out. And they say that it was the anger over this that certain institutions such as the Institute of Management Technology, (IMT), Enugu and even Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, were built. With respect to citing of industries, there is a strong feeling that the now moribund Aluminum Smelter Company at Ikot Abasi was originally earmarked for somewhere in the East. And that it is the powers that be that removed it. And then the biggest of the sense of marginalisation: Igbos having five states. As far as this is concerned in the popular Igbo consciousness, population and landmass can go to hell.

As with perceptions, these claims do not have to be empirically verifiable to get an Igboman worked up and ready to swear marginalisation. In social life, what is perceived is what moves men to action. As such, very few are interested in linking claims of marginalisation to its plausible contexts. Of course, the war is an explanation. The historical tendency to ‘punish’ those who took up arms against the state cannot be dismissed but so also can it not be dismissed that the same Nigeria made room for an Igboman to become the Vice-President under a gentle president and a very organised party in terms of sharing of projects.

Recall that when the Yorubas complained in 1981 that nothing was going to them, Chief Adisa Akinloye, Richard Akinjide and other members of the regional caucus put them to task by calling a news conference and disclosing all the projects and appointments that had accrued to that region. So, what might have happened to the Igbos under NPN?

The second thesis says that the Igbos are stuck with a collective self-understanding whose non realisation makes them angry with Nigeria. No one is sure what that could be. Contributors point to the discourse of the Igbos as the Jews of Africa. The notion of ‘Zik of Africa’ is supposed to capture this dream of Igbos being the most industrious of the lot and, by implication, those who would be the most prosperous as a collectivity.

Theories are never correct or incorrect as such because theories could pull surprises in time and space. As such, we might still have to wait for a more serious study of this thesis as to whether to dismiss it or not. But one question that it would attract is how one ethnic group in any country in Africa could, in and of itself, break out of the iron curtain of under development enveloping the entire continent, a continent which is basically still the playground of the powerful?

Lastly, there is the argument that explains why Igbos are still Biafrans in the Igbos never having run an empire. In an empire, you are either the conquered or the conqueror. Whichever one it is requires knowledge of the management of power. That is, knowledge of how to ensure that the conquered remains in acceptance of their reality or, if you are the conquered, then the knowledge of how to organise resistance, negotiate accommodation on some issues and fight your way on others. Products of empires are, therefore, assumed to be more adept in such attributes. In other words, it is not required that an ethnic group must have run an empire before the colonialists came around but empire teaches a lot about the complexity of power, its negotiation and its consolidation.

Empire is about what the wise Africanist professor of power would call the layers of the onion. The ‘layers of the onion’ analysis tasks the power operator to look into each layer of the larger entity in contestation. It could reveal what the grand concepts can never reveal. The argument here is the Igbos who have always lived as republicans lack the patience of their empire minded co-operators on the Nigerian scene – the Yorubas, the Binis, the Kanuris, the Hausa Fulanis, the Jukunawas and what have you. Unlike their Others, Igbos have never come under the authority of any other groups until the colonial encounter.

In Achebe’s Umofia, every man was a sovereign. He needed the solidarity of the community, age grades and circle of friends but he was a self-referent player in each of those networks, not a non-person in their dynamics. In other words, the past might be weighing heavily on the present for the Igbos in Nigerian politics.

The point has been made about how theories are neither correct nor wrong as such because the theory that is discredited by the evidence of today could provide the most powerful explanation by the evidence of tomorrow. There is, therefore, nothing to quarrel about in respect of each of these three theories regarding current Igbo return to Biafranism. The claim of neglect might be easier for people to grasp although that could equally be the weakest explanation.

The real question would seem to be how it happened that no force, no tendency and no stream of consciousness in Igboland could enforce a binding narrative of the perceived situation of the Igbos and impose such on national politics? The Igbos are not too weak in the politics of discourse and by which it could have made its narrative to be heard globally. Why an IPOB strategy and the associated risk of deepening the perception that Igbos cannot be cured of the Biafran virus?

Perhaps, there is a generational challenge here. It is possible that the time has come for the Chido Onumahs to take up these issues at the level of the language game. This is not to overthrow the old guard but to enrich the struggle they have waged so far. It is a challenge that arises not for just our intellectual workers and activists of Igbo origin but everyone within the Onumah generational bracket because Nigeria itself is in a dangerous vacuum in terms of a discourse of the country that can move the average Nigerian.

Imagine an Arab Spring type revolt in Nigeria today. It would be nothing but pure anarchy because there is no referent narrative that would guide it and it could degenerate quickly into aimless bloodshed rather than a purposive exercise towards the realisation of the slogan, ‘Another Nigeria is Possible’.

*Contributed by Adagbo Onoja, a journalist, writes from Abuja. He can be reached through adagboonoja@gmail.com

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Pix: Map of Igbo land

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mark Zuckerberg in Nigeria, visits CCHub @Yaba

The chief executive officer of Facebook, Mr. Mark Zuckerberg commenced official visit to the commercial centre, Lagos in Nigeria on Tuesday with a stop-over at the Co-creation Hub in Yaba, reports ITRealms.

Zuckerberg’s presence in Nigeria, ITRealms gathered is on listen, learn and take ideas back to California on how Facebook could better support technology development and entrepreneurship across Africa.

Zuckerberg who is on his first-ever visit to Africa, met with some developers, partners, and explore Nollywood. He took the occasion to visit a 'Summer of Code Camp' at the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) in Yaba.

ITRealms recalls that CcHub was opened in 2011 and at the time didn't even have an office. Five years later they fill three floors and the roof of a building, even at CcHub, people could learn how to code, developers could get help launching their first products, and find mentors and funding.

In addition, ITRealms reprots that Mark then visit Andela, an engineering organization that is building the next generation of technical leaders in Africa, set up earlier this year, by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative which invested in Andela after being impressed by the company's innovative model of learning and its drive to connect the global technology ecosystem with the most talented developers in Africa.

Andela is a business that recruits the most talented technologists in Africa and shapes them into world-class developers through a four-year technical leadership program. In the two years since it was founded, Andela has accepted just over 200 engineers from a pool of more than 40,000 applicants. Andela developers spend six months mastering a technical stack and contributing to open source projects before being placed with global technology companies as full-time, distributed teammates, working out of Andela headquarters in Lagos and Nairobi.

Director, Andela Lagos, Seni Sulyman said they are excited and honored to welcome Mark Zuckerberg to Lagos, stressing his visit reinforces not only support of Andela’s mission, but belief that indeed the next generation of great technology leaders will come out of Lagos, Nigeria and cities across Africa.

Andela, Sulyman said, has created a platform for passionate, driven software developers and engineers to break into the global tech ecosystem, but the barriers to entry are still very high, emphasizing that Mark’s visit demonstrates to all Nigerian developers and entrepreneurs that they’ve caught the attention of the tech world, and they are capable of succeeding on a truly global level.

At the end of the day Zuckerberg stopped by an Express WiFi stand in Lagos owned by Rosemary Njoku. Facebook's Express WiFi lets entrepreneurs like Rosemary set up a hot spot to help their community access apps and services built by local developers.

Nenye Dom/GEE

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Pix: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is visiting Nigeria this week on his first trip to Africa

Beware! Text Neck Syndrome in Nigeria

The mobile smartphone-induced syndrome is on the widespread in Nigeria, REMMY NWEKE reports that the alarming aspect is that most subscribers, especially youngsters are ignorant of the potential Scoliosis.
NOWADAYS, waking up at 6am, Lebe Onukaogu, an undergraduate reaches out to his mobile phone to access the world of Information and Communications at his fingertips. From checking his electronic mails to social media platforms, mostly What’s App, Twitter, Facebook just to name a few from the over 1,000 social networking sites; and invariably to respond to some he felts passionately about, then the conversation continues for the day.

Of course, in doing the aforementioned, Lebe would either be standing at a corner of the house or sitting but most of the time whilst these checks lasted, he is slantly bent to have a better view of his readings, and keying-in of letters to ensure that those reflect his thoughts and personality.

Over time, the continuous exercise of this lifestyle resulted in Lebe recently developing pains on the backbone of his neck. At first, on visiting a nearby clinic, he was told could have been a fever or malaria. A laboratory test eventually could not show any of the above. 

The pains lingered for some more days and week went by, until he went to a general hospital, where after the initial examination, the medical director referred him to a specialist, a physiotherapist.

DigitalREALMS gathered that Physiotherapy is a science-based profession and takes a ‘whole person’ approach to health and wellbeing, which includes the patient’s general lifestyle, thus Physiotherapists help to restore movement and function when someone is affected by injury, illness or disability, according to the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy.

Nigeria’s 149,179,083 active subscribers:
Like Lebe Onukaogu, are you one of the Nigeria’s 149,179,083 active subscribers of the Global System for Mobile (GSM) communications, tendency is that you are one of those having text-neck pains among every five (10) subscribers, due to constant use of your cherished mobile phone.

Hear this, experts have it that most Nigerians may be suffering from this new-breed ailment from the use of a mobile phone, especially those who use mobile phone extensively in order to stay connected.

With the number of mobile subscribers in Nigeria increasing, it is alarming to note that most Nigerians are unaware about the ‘Text Neck’ disease which refers to the over-use syndrome or stress injury which occurs with persistently having one’s head hung forward and down looking at their mobile electronic devices for presumed extended duration than could have been necessary, according to the American chiropractor who coined the word, Dr. Dean L. Fishman.

Investigations by DigitalREALMS showed that most Nigerians are not aware of the Text-Neck syndrome, even as estimated one in every 10 Nigerian mobile subscriber may be suffering from text-neck disease unknown to them, as each of those interviewed acknowledged having neck-pains, but could not just attribute it to extensive usage until the syndrome was explained.

Respondents also alluded to the fact that they took it for granted as one of those pains but never associated with the supposed syndrome, yet several dosage of analgesics have not been helpful in relieving their miseries.

According to Statista.com forecast on Nigeria, DigitalREALMS reports that the number of smartphone users in Nigeria for 2016, is estimated to reach 15.5 million by December 31, which is expected to pave the way for an increase in social media and mobile devices access and by implication rise to text neck syndrome.

Top 3 apps keeping you fixed on smartphones:
In Nigeria, DigitalREALMS gathered that a range of reasons affect multiple mobile phones usage and ownership, according to recent findings by Co-Creation Hub (CcHUB) Mobile Experience Centre released new report on “How I Use My Phone” series, which aims at gathering and sharing data on the pattern of mobile phone usage of different user demographics in the country.

The survey revealed that students use their mobile phones mainly for social networking with Whatsapp, Blackberry Messenger and Facebook being the top 3 most used applications by 28.4 per cent, 19.4 per cent, 13.4 per cent respectively. Social networking is a major reason and accounts to 89.6 per cent why they subscribe to internet bundles regularly.

Is mobile phone destroying your spine?
Though efforts to speak to the leadership of the Nigeria Society of Physiotherapy led by Taiwo Oyewumi was not fruitful at the time of this report, but a renowned physiotherapist and chief executive of Lagos-based Ageless Physio Clinic, Dr. Oluyomi Aoko, articulated that mobile smartphones after-all may be destroying our spines due to wrong postures.

Modern mobile devices, he said, are changing the way people access information and entertainment, thus, their usage influences human posture and body mechanics in ergonomically dysfunctional ways that contribute to neck, upper back, shoulder, and arm pains. he also said, poor posture while sitting, standing, walking or in a static position could lead to eventual total collapse of the spine in some cases, mainly among youngsters, who recent study in the United States by Adweek.com, showed that 79 per cent of the population between the ages 18 and 44 have their mobile phones with them almost all the time, with only 2 hours of their waking day spent without their cell phones on hand.

Symptoms of text neck syndrome:
As said by Dr. Aoko, the symptoms come as neck pain ranging from a chronic, nagging pain to sharp, severe upper back muscle spasms; Shoulder pain and tightness, possibly resulting in painful shoulder muscle spasm; Pinched cervical nerve, turning to pain and possibly neurological symptoms that could radiate down one’s arm and into their hand; as well as increased curvature in youngsters which could result into scoliosis.

Scoliosis, as defined by experts at WebMD.com is a lateral curvature in the normally straight vertical line of the spine. When viewed from the side, the spine should show a mild roundness in the upper back and shows a degree of swayback - inward curvature in the lower back. When a person with a normal spine is viewed from the front or back, the spine appears to be straight. When a person with scoliosis is viewed from the front or back, the spine appears to be curved.

Therapy for text-neck:
Further, Dr. Aoko of Ageless Physio Clinic proffered some therapy to aid text-neck victims, advising, “Don’t bend your neck to look at a screen- this way you can maintain good posture, relieving your back and shoulders from the strain of being hunched over; Hold your mobile device at about eye level-holding the phone closer to eye level helps maintain a healthy posture and puts less strain on the neck; Practice exercises that strengthen your posture and be sure to stretch often between long periods of extended use of devices. 

You can rotate your shoulders with your arms by your sides to relieve tension. You can also tuck your chin down to your neck and then look up – this helps to relieve some of the tension in your neck built from the common forward-down position you adopt when looking at your device.

The fact is that though text neck is becoming a common syndrome among phone users globally, Nigerians are not exonerated which could vary from a slight twinge to severe pain across the neck spines down to your back, most people recover quickly from this mobile device induced-back pain, if well and quickly managed properly.

Furthermore, experts at Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) explained how therapies could help, beginning with tips on self-help, bearing in mind there is a lot individuals could do to help their healing process. This comprises continuing with your usual work and activities, as much as possible, could help resolve patient’s back pain in addition to some exercises that could reduce back pain and prevent from it returning. Hence, the right sort of exercise, as may be advised by a physiotherapist, could actually make a big difference.

Research, DigitalREALMS reports, has shown lower back pain may return if it is ignored, while experts insist that lifestyle changes, such as being more active and improving one’s posture, are important elements to remedying the text neck pains along other kinds of backache or pains prevalent in the society.

Additionally, the society concluded by outlining some top tips for back pain including text neck such as exercise and activity are known as the most important ways of helping oneself off the agony of back pains. Just as patients, are advised to keep moving and continue with activities such as walking or swimming; taking analgesics for pain-killers as prescribed by qualified medical practitioner or physiotherapist, could help one to keep moving comfortably; just as they advised against sitting for too long when driving or at work.

Gently stretching to prevent stiffness, the society said, could form part of the healing magic, while taking care when lifting, bending one’s hips and knees to use the power in their legs adequately goes a long way; whereas checking one’s posture when using computers, mobile devices for games or watching television, which tend to last for a duration beyond usual expectation is advocated.

CSP experts added that one needs to check the mattress on the bed to ensure it supports individuals properly; “Don’t smoke – it impairs your circulation, which affects how quickly the body could recover; strengthening of one’s trunk muscles may help to protect the back, emphasizing that car seat and office chair are adjusted correctly in support of one’s back,” while maintaining a healthy eating habit by way of good diet and exercise, as being overweight could be a cause of back pain notwithstanding text neck related activities.

Above all, beware, text neck syndrome is here in Nigeria and likely to stay as long as our addiction to smart mobile devices suffice.

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Special Report on ICANN56 Policy Forum

Special Report@ITRealms:

The 56th Public Meeting of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) ended recently in Helsinki, Finland with focus on policy development to spur the global multi-stakeholder body into the next level. DigitalSENSE Business News x-rays the meeting and reports.
 Letter from Istanbul:
THANK you very much for attending the ICANN56 Policy Forum!
We hope the innovative format fostered collaboration and substantive policy and advice development work. ICANN will continue to evaluate and improve the Policy Forum format in line with the recommendations of the community-led Meeting Strategy Working Group. Your feedback is important to us.

This Post-ICANN56 Policy Forum Report captures highlights from the week including summaries of the cross-community sessions and updates from our Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees. As you see from this infographic, it was a busy four days of robust debate, discussion, disagreement, and compromise.

ICANN congratulates and thanks Chuck Gomes and Keith Davidson, this year’s recipients of the Multistakeholder Ethos Award. This award honors members of the community who demonstrate dedication to ICANN’s multistakeholder model of Internet governance through many years of active participation and leadership.

Above all else, we aspire to support the core consensus-driven policy and advice development work of ICANN by enabling efficient and effective bottom-up participation and engagement in the multi stakeholder model. Again, we appreciate your contributions to a successful ICANN56 Policy Forum.

Best regards, from: David Olive, Senior Vice President, Policy Development Support, General Manager, ICANN Regional, Headquarters – Istanbul.

This forum report is divided into two, namely the Cross-Community sessions and Supporting Organisations cum Advisory Committees (SO/AC) updates.

In the Cross-Community sessions includes ICANN56 by the numbers, briefs on Next Generation Registration, Directory Services, Review of All Rights Protection, Mechanisms in All generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs), Charter for the CCWG on Auction Proceeds, New gTLD Subsequent Procedures, Draft Framework of Principles for Future CCWGs, Workload Scheduling and Management and ICANN56 Wrap-Up and ICANN57 Planning.

Whereas the Supporting organisations and Advisory Committees updates cover the Address Supporting Organization (ASO), Country Code Names Supporting Organization (CCNSO), Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), At-Large and At-Large Advisory Committee (ALAC), Governmental Advisory Committee (GAC), Root Server System Advisory Committee (RSSAC) and Security and Stability Advisory Committee (SSAC).

For the Senior Vice President, Policy Development Support and General Manager, ICANN Regional Headquarters in Istanbul, Mr. David Olive described ICANN56 Policy Forum as successful in a thank you letter to the community.

ICANN, he said hopes the innovative format fostered collaboration andsubstantive policy and advice development work. ICANN will continue to evaluate and improve the Policy Forum format in line with the recommendations of the community-led Meeting Strategy Working Group, adding stakeholders’ feedback is important.

Also, this Post-ICANN56 Policy Forum Report captures highlights fromthe week including summaries of the cross-community sessions and updates from our Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees.

As you see from this infographic, it was a busy four days of robust debate, discussion, disagreement, and compromise.

ICANN congratulates and thanks Chuck Gomes and Keith Davidson, this year’s recipients of the Multistakeholder Ethos Award. This award honors members of the community who demonstrate dedication to ICANN’s multistakeholder model of Internet governance through many years of active participation and leadership.

Above all else, Olive noted ICANN aspires to support the core consensus-driven policy and advice development work of ICANN by enabling efficient and effective bottom-up participation and engagement in the multistakeholder model. Again, we appreciate your contributions to a successful ICANN56 Policy Forum.

What Happened at ICANN56?
This cross-community session was led by Next Generation Registration Directory Services (RDS) Policy Development Process (PDP) working group chaired by Chuck Gomes, supported by vice chairs David Cake, Susan Kawaguchi, and Michele Neylon and by ICANN policy development support staff members Marika Konings and Lisa Phifer.

During this session, working group members drew from their own experiences to share examples and attendees joined in a lively conversation about possible requirements which they believe should be supported by next generation Registration Directory Service (RDS) to replace WHOIS. Inputs gathered during this cross-community session are essential to inform this policy development process working group’s phase 1 recommendations.

The discussion on this topic, including reflecting on the cross-community input received, continued during the PDP working group’s meeting the next day.

Next Steps
The working group will next confirm that the list of possible requirements—including those suggested during the cross-community session is sufficiently complete to serve as the foundation for deliberations. The working group will then continue through its work plan to Task 12. The working group will systematically consider each possible requirement individually with the goal of trying to reach as strong a consensus as possible on working group support for a possible requirement, including how it is worded. Due to interdependencies, working group deliberation will likely be interactive, especially on fundamental questions pertaining to purpose, data, and privacy. As part of this process, the working group is expected to review the input received from GNSO stakeholder groups and constituencies as well as ICANN Supporting Organizations and Advisory Committees.
Session Materials
Review the presentation, read the transcripts, or listen to the recordings of this cross-community session here. For the working group meeting materials please visit www.icann.org later.

Review of All Rights Protection Mechanisms in All gTLDs:

What Happened at ICANN56?
This cross-community session focused on the scope of the policy development process (PDP), particularly its current Phase One (of Two) where the Working Group is reviewing the rights protection mechanisms (RPM) that were developed for the new gTLD program of 2012. This topic had been selected so that the community’s input can be taken into account by the working group for the purpose of prioritizing the list of topics it will cover during the PDP. 

At its open meeting, the working group discussed the input that was provided during the cross-community session and continued its analysis of the first RPM –Review Public Meeting - it is reviewing—the Trademark Post-Delegation Dispute Resolution Procedure (PDDRP). The two sessions in combination and attendance by non-working group members and participants from other parts of the community made for a very useful discussion.

Next Steps

The working group will use the feedback it received to finalize and refine the non-exhaustive list of topics to be covered in its RPMs review. The working group aims to complete its work on the Trademark PDDRP by late August, and will proceed to review the remaining RPMs in sequence, culminating in a planned initial report on its Phase One work before the end of 2017.

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Open letter: From chant of change to cries of hunger by Anthony Cardinal Okogie

    Dear Mr. President,
Last year, when you assumed office, the chant of “Change”, your campaign slogan, ushered you into the Presidential Villa.
    Today, cries of “hunger” could be heard across the length and breadth of our vast country. Nigerians hunger, not only for food, but also for good leadership, for peace, security and justice.
This letter is to appeal to you to do something fast, and, if you are already doing something, to redouble your effort. May it not be written on the pages of history that Nigerians die of starvation under your watch. As President, you are chief servant of the nation. I therefore urge you to live up to the huge expectation of millions of Nigerians. A stitch in time saves nine.
The way forward
This is the second year of your administration. You and your party promised to lead the masses to the Promised Land. It is not an easy task to lead. But by campaigning for this office, you offered to take the enormous task of leadership upon yourself. Nigerians are waiting for you to fulfill the promises you made during the campaign. They voted you into office because of those promises. The introduction of town hall meetings is a commendable idea. But in practice, you, not just your ministers, must converse with Nigerians. You are the President. You must be accountable to them. The buck stops on your desk. Even if your administration has no magic wand at least give some words of encouragement.
 On this same score, please instruct your ministers, and insist that they be sincere and polite at those town meetings. Their sophistry will neither serve you nor Nigerians. Mr. President, if you want to leave a credible legacy come 2019, in all sincerity, please retool your administration. Change is desirable. But it must be a change for the better. Let this change be real. Change is not real when old things that we ought to discard refuse to pass away.
You will need to take a critical look at your cabinet, at the policies and programmes of your administration, and at those who help you to formulate and execute them. You will need to take a critical look at the manner of appointments you have been making. It is true that commonsense dictates that you appoint men and women you can trust. But if most of the people you trust are from one section of the country and practice the same religion, then you and all of us are living in insecurity.
The Nigerian economy has never been in a state as terrible as this. You as President are like pilot of an aircraft flying in turbulence. Turbulent times bring the best or the worst out of a pilot. We can no longer blame the turbulence on past administrations. You know quite well that some of the officials of your administration served in previous dispensations. Blame for what we have been experiencing is in fact bipartisan in character.
The entire political class needs to come together, irrespective of party differences, to acknowledge its collective guilt and to seek ways of saving the sinking ship that our country has become. This cannot be done if some officials of your administration demonise and alienate members of the opposition.
If a large portion of the blame for the present situation is to be laid on the doorsteps of the entire political class, the search for solution must involve everyone. That is why no one should be alienated. All hands must be on deck. This is the time to revitalise moribund industries, reinvigorate our agriculture, make our country tourist and investor friendly, and enable our young men and women to find fulfillment by contributing to the common good.
None of these lofty goals can be achieved without good education. On this particular issue, recent appointments you have made in the education sector raise a question: have you really appointed the best? Still on education, it is important that our universities be allowed to use their own criteria to admit students. It is a gross violation of the principles of federalism and academic freedom for the federal government to insist that only a federal parastatal can decide on who gains admission into our universities.
It is the role of the university senate, not of government bureaucrats, to decide on who gets admitted and who is awarded a certificate. The war on corruption Mr. President, your desire to wage a war on corruption is just and noble. But a just war must be waged with just means.
Those who have stolen the wealth of this country have broken the laws of our country. They must be treated according to the law and not outside the law, and the outcome of the judicial process must be respected by government. Even accused persons have rights. Where those rights are violated, we risk a descent to anarchy. It is our candid opinion that corruption is not found in only one party. No political party in Nigeria has a monopoly of looters. That is why we need an EFCC that is thoroughly independent of the presidency, and an Attorney General without party affiliation working in partnership with various independent accounting institutes. This will ensure that we come up with an objective list of those who plundered our treasury.
Mr. President, pardon me if I sound like a gratuitous counselor. I owe you the truth and nothing but the truth. In my life as a public figure and a religious leader, I have offered my counsel, for whatever its worth, to quite a number of Presidents in this country. I do this because I desire that you succeed. For the success of the leader is the success of the citizens. If there is no solution to Nigeria’s problem there may be endless war. You strike one town, you gain it, and you come again to regain it.
Remember that you cannot put a crown on your head. It is the people who put it on you. Otherwise one day, you will get tired of it. Please listen to the legitimate cries of your fellow citizens.
*Courtesy: Anthony Cardinal Okogie, emeritus Archbishop of Lagos ArchdioceseITREALMS ... everything news digitally!

Nigeria: Battling Corruption to a Standstill?

Over the years, it has been identified in countless studies that one of the core reasons Nigeria has failed to develop to its full potential is pervasive corruption.

Corruption, it is said, runs through the entire gamut of the country’s life such that many official enquiries and probes have exposed widespread monumental fraud, bribery, embezzlement, rent seeking and kickbacks across the public and private sectors.

It can’t be emphasised enough that funds which ought to have gone into building infrastructure and generally improving the lives of the people invariably end up in the pockets of some people. The result is that healthcare, education, food security, human security, job creation and other areas where funds are needed to make life meaningful to the people are severely neglected. Why? The monies budgeted for these sectors over the years are spirited away by a few heartless crooks.

Today, all over the country evidence of this willful theft and unconscionable looting of public funds can be seen in the appalling healthcare delivery system, deplorable facilities in educational institutions, avoidable food importation, massive youth unemployment, dreadful state and federal roads, as well as shockingly ill-equipped armed forces, police and other security outfits.  

Even the emergence of violent extremism in the North-east, militant agitations in the Niger Delta and the serial abysmal performance of Nigeria’s athletes in the Olympic Games cannot be attributed to anything other than corruption.

In the words of Eghosa Osagie, professor of comparative politics and Vice Chancellor of Igbinedion University, Okada, “It is easy to see how corruption breeds on the ownership of the state on the one hand, and the weak bonds and structures of accountability on the other.” According to him, corruption does not symbolize privatization of public office for private gain, embezzlement and other negative pecuniary transactions that deprive society of much needed resources only. It also includes the manipulation and subversion of institutions, rules regulations, procedures and laws which he said is mostly evident in the flawed electoral process.

Indeed the damage corruption inflicts on society is huge, costing the global economy some $2.6trn annually, according to John Kerry, US Secretary of States during his recent visit to Nigeria. From all indications, going by the manner corruption has torn through its fabric, Nigeria no doubt would be one of the countries contributing a large percentage to the global scam.

Mindful of the havoc it continues to wreak on nations, Kerry describes corruption as not just a disgrace and a crime, but also dangerous. He praised President Muhammadu Buhari for confronting the monster frontally and pledged continual support in that regard. From the way the war is being conducted, he surmised that Nigeria could in fact be a model to other nations.

And truly since assuming office May 29, 2015, Buhari has lived up to his campaign promise of tackling corruption headlong and providing a fresh template for instilling transparency and accountability. On the matter of corruption, credit goes to him for he indeed hit the ground running. Seeing the way the screw has been turned on treasury looters and the big thieves in the society, all those harbouring the belief that there are ‘untouchables’ who would never be called to give account are now beginning to have a rethink.

The message is now out there that under this administration, it would no longer be ‘business as usual.’ But the fight should also not be conducted in a manner that leaves the impression that Buhari as the general of this war has no army behind him. It cannot be denied that at the federal level the battle is raging, but it has to percolate to the state and local government levels for it to register the desired impact. Governors, especially those of the ruling party, must take a cue from Buhari in the quest for zero tolerance for corruption.

But by far the greatest army in this all-important assignment is the now rejuvenated Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The institution has so far demonstrated not just the courage, but also the will and the focus to ensure that corruption is reduced to the barest minimum in the country.

The Acting Chairman of EFCC, Ibrahim Magu, has not betrayed the image of him that was awash in the media when his name was announced as the new anti-corruption czar, in November last year. Magu was said to be the squirrel teeth that cracked many cases leading to the conviction of some treasury looters during the tenure of the first chairman of that agency, Mallam Nuhu Ribau. He was described as more ruthless in the anti-graft war front than even his famed former boss, Nuhu Ribadu. The man is proving to us that all that was true, and even more!

Going by the accolades and international respect his work has earned Nigeria from all over the world, Magu is indeed a patriot that should be encouraged.

Rising up to the rots of corruption and challenging the powerful cabals in the temple of graft is no mean task. It is not for the lily-livered nor is it for one with moral deficit.

Under Magu’s stewardship, and with the full support of President Buhari, EFCC has regained its biting teeth by tackling cases of monumental fraud. Several billions of naira have been recovered from looters and many of them have been dragged to courts.

Considering all these, by the time Magu’s appointment is confirmed by the Senate, it is expected that the anti-corruption war would be more invigorated and the EFCC more emboldened in its quest to rein in the monster of corruption and the merciless parasites that have been sucking on our collective patrimony.     

*Contributed by Godwin Onyeacholem is a journalist. He can be reached on gonyeacholem@gmail.com

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Pix: EFCC chairman, Mr. Magu.

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