" ITREALMS: December 2017

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Ijakadi goes into national festival calendar

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has said the local wrestling contest in Offa, Kwara State, called 'Ijakadi Festival', will now be included in the National Festival Calendar, reports ITRealms.

The Minister, who made this known at the 2017 'Ijakadi Festival' in Offa on Saturday, said the people in charge of the festival will also be trained under a (training) programme for festival managers, being jointly implemented by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and the British Council.

"It is my pleasure to say that my ministry is going to put this particular festival on our own calendar. We have an MoU with the British Council through which, every year, we train festival managers all over the country. I want to assure you that in 2018, they (Ijakadi festival managers) will benefit from this training," he said.

Alhaji Mohammed assured the organizers that the Federal Government will leverage the power of Information and technology to promote the festival, with a view to attracting domestic and international tourists, thus improving the economy of the state.

He congratulated the organizers of the festival for reviving it in 2012, after over three decades, and said the decision to raise its visibility could not have been timelier, considering the determination of the Buhari Administration to make the Creative Industry a pillar of the economy, under its economic diversification policy.

"What we have come here to celebrate is a history that goes back to the 14th century, and I want to seize this opportunity to congratulate Kabiyesi, the Olofa of Offa, that after almost a hiatus of 30 years, when there was no festival, the festival was reborn in 2012 and every year it's getting bigger and bigger," the Minister said

He said the festival was significant because it is not just about the history of the people of Offa, but a celebration of their virtues of “equity, justice and wisdom”, as well as strength and determination.

Highlights of the Ijakadi Festival include traditional dances, parade by districts, wrestling bouts and horse racing.

Other dignitaries at this year's festival included the Minister of Communication, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, and the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Muhammed-Gbadamosi, and the President of the Offa Descendants Union, Alhaji Najeemdeen Usman Yasin;

Uj. N. Dominic/ED, Ops

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Pix: President of Offa Descendants Union, Alhaji Najeemdeen Usman Yasin; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Olofa of Offa, HRM Oba Mufutau Okikiola Muhammed-Gbadamosi, at the 2017 Ijakadi Offa Festival in Offa, Kwara State, on Saturday

Buhari names Senator Ayo Arise, chairman, Sheda Science & Tech

The founder of Cards Technology (Nigeria) Limited, Senator Sylvester Ayodele Arise has been appointed the chairman of the Sheda Science and Technology Complex (SSTC), Abuja by President Muhammadu Buhari, reports ITRealms.

The appointment of Senator Arise, ITRealms gathered, came at the weekend alongside the controversial naming of some dead persons on the boards of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government.

ITRealms reports that at least, one of the prominent appointees out of the 1,467 named by presidency was that of the chairman of the Nigerian Press Council (NPC), given to late Senator Francis Okposo, who reportedly died on December 26, 2016; with his appointment coming over a year after his demise.

However, Senator Arise, who was also the founder of Fortune Games Limited for SMS Lottery was greeted with mixed feelings as the only known figure within the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector in the country to make the list as chairman of an agency in the current dispensation.

Arise who was a Nigerian senator under the flag of the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in Ekiti State is to head the 10-man member of the board of SSTC.

Others include Dr. Wasiu Olatubosun, Engr. Kevin Njideaka, Rotimi Erogbogbo, Engr. Bala Abdullahi N., Shuaibu Sidi Bukkuyum, Mohammed D. US, Kolawole Yusuf, Inuwa Mai Mangoro and Gale Idriss.

ITRealms recalls that Senator Arise, whose Card Technologies built the first Third Party Processing Facility in sub-sahara Africa for MasterCard International, became a member of the Nigerian Senate in 2007 but was annulled by Election Tribunal two years later in 2009; to Action Congress candidate, Mr. Olubunmi Adetunmbi, non-compliance with the Electoral Act 2006.

Whilst elected to the National Senate for the Ekiti North constituency, Senator Arise was appointed as the Chairman Senate Committee on Privatization and member of other committees including Local and Foreign Debts, Water, Banking, Insurance & Other Financial Institutions.

Born on 5 October 1956 to a former judge father, Ayo Arise as he is fondly known was Assistant General Secretary of the Students Union at Ibadan Polytechnic (1976–1977); He obtained an M.Sc Urban & Regional Planning from Alabama A&M University, Normal, Alabama USA in 1984 and is an A+ Certified Computer Engineer, Microsoft Certified Professional.

He taught mathematics and worked as a town planner before venturing into business in 1981 via the celebrated buying and selling of video players and tapes in Nigeria, sequel to establishing a Computer Training Institute in the United States and by the year 2000, Senator Arise launched Cards Technology Limited.

This, ITRealms further gathered, paved the way for the issuance of MasterCard by banks in Nigeria to their customers, thus opening up the opportunity for Nigerians to ecommerce as its known today.
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Why Presidency named dead persons on MDA boards

The Presidency has adduced some reasons on why it named some dead persons on the boards of Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) of the Federal Government released Friday, reports ITRealms.

The Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari, Mr. Garba Shehu accepted there were some names of dead persons on the list of the over 1000 newly appointed chairmen and members of board of government parastatals and agencies.

ITRealms gathered the list was released on Friday by the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

Shehu also revealed the list was prepared at the early stages of President Muhammadu Buhari , but was inadvertently delayed due to President illness which took him away for about six months on medical vacation.

This, Presidency said, was subsequently released by the newly appointed SGF, Mr. Boss Mustapha who replaced Babachir Lawal, “without any alteration.”

The President, Shehu disclosed had requested for the submission of 50 names each by the state chapters of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in 2015 which were later complied by the National Secretariat of the party.

“However, complaint arose from some governors who felt they were not carried along in the process. To answer this, the president constituted a committee under the vice president to review and reflect the interest of the governors,” he said.

Shehu further said that action on the report submitted to the President by the committee headed by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo was delayed because of President Buhari’s illness and subsequent medical vacation abroad.

“The president’s trips for medical attention slowed down completion of the process,” he declared, stressing that the president only decided to revisit the matter recently and directed the new SGF to release the list of some 1467 persons including chairmen and members of boards of some federal agencies.

“The current SGF was only directed to complete that process by releasing the list which he apparently did without altering it,” Shehu insisted.

He said that the appearance of dead person’s names on the list was a mistake which would be corrected.

The President had approved the constitution of the Governing Boards of Agencies and Parastatals, under some Ministries, as well as the appointment of eminently qualified Nigerians to fill the Board positions.

One of the prominent appointments out of the 1,467 named by presidency was that of the chairman of the Nigerian Press Council (NPC), given to late Senator Francis Okposo, who reportedly died on December 26, 2016.

The appointment took immediate effect.

Uboshe Uboshe/GEE

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New Year Message: Prioritise Nigerians welfare, Archbishop Martins tells Buhari

The Catholic Archbishop of Lagos, His Grace, Most Rev Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins has urged the President Muhammadu Buhari’s led Federal Government to prioritise Nigerians welfare in the new year, reports ITRealms.

Archbishop Martins made this call in his 2018 new year message made available to ITRealms in Lagos, saying that welfare of every Nigerian citizen should be the topmost priority of the Federal and State governments in this coming year.

He also said that since it was the duty and responsibility of governments at all levels to provide for the welfare of its citizens, any government that is incapable of enhancing the quality of lives of the masses of its people lacks true legitimacy and does not deserve the support and confidence of the electorate.

Obviously irked by the low quality of lives that characterised most of the year 2017 and which led to untold hardships and alarming illegal migration of able-bodied Nigerians to Libya and European countries, the Prelate tasked the Federal and State governments to wake up to the reality that the electorate-the citizens of this country to whom they campaigned and who voted them into power- deserve better quality of lives in the year 2018 and beyond.

In his New Year message made public through the Director, Social Communications, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos, Msgr. Gabriel Osu, Archbishop Martins also cautioned Nigerian politicians to desist from toying with the destiny of Nigerians, especially now that the year 2019 was in the horizon, warning once more that unless concerted effort was made to restructure the country towards the path of true federation, there may no longer be a nation called Nigeria in the near future.

“As Nigerians, we have every cause to thank God for seeing us through the difficult year 2017. We went through very challenging situations both economically and politically, yet it has pleased the Almighty God to continue to keep us as one and indivisible entity. But we must tell ourselves the gospel truth; the year 2017 was not a very happy one for most Nigerians. Many State governments failed in their responsibilities to their citizens; workers salaries were not paid; unemployment and insecurity were at an all-time high. The Federal Government too did not perform better. It is yet to deliver on many of its electoral promises, including restructuring of the country. In this New Year, we want to urge the leadership at all levels to wake up and be alive to their responsibilities. The electorate too should be more discerning. We cannot continue to tally in this wilderness of uncertainty that nudge us on the face day and night.”

Archbishop Martins scored the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, and its subsidiaries very low for failing to provide adequate petroleum products during the festive period, thus adding to the sufferings of the already impoverished citizens of the country.

He wants the Federal Government to approach the problem confronting the petroleum sector holistically by considering building new refineries rather than constantly importing refined products, even though the country is a major producer of oil.

“So much money has been put into Turn-Around-Maintenance (TAM) over the years without anything to show for it. Licences have been given to private entrepreneurs over the years but we have not seen that making any impact on the lives of Nigerians. Government needs to ensure that the bottle-necks to the success of those initiatives are removed and if there are people not making it work, government should have the moral courage to remove them also. The sort of public show of shame that we witnessed recently between the Minister of State for Petroleum and the NNPC GMD leaves more to desired especially in a sector of the economy that is so crucial as the Petroleum sector. Such energies should be spent on working together to ensure that Nigerians enjoy the benefits of the resources with which God has blessed the nation,” he said.

While urging all Nigerians to remain steadfast in prayers for the continuous peace and unity of the country, Archbishop Martins also called on the political class to exhibit more transparency, accountability, and selflessness in this New Year, stressing that the present hardship being experienced across the country makes it incumbent on them to re-appraise the huge cost of governance at all levels and  the necessary adjustments for the good of all.
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Osun workers suspend strike

The Osun State workers have suspend their industrial action embarked upon last Wednesday, reports ITRealms.

The suspension, ITRealms gathered, came after the Labour Unions and the State government entered into MemorĂ¡ndum of Understanding (MOU) based on mutual agreement on the demands of workers.

Confirming this development, the chairman, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), comrade Jacob Adekomi said that the government has approved the full payment of December salary to workers and pensioners.

He also said that payment of full salaries and pension will hopefully commence between January and 2nd quarter of 2018.

Speaking on behalf of the government, the chief of staff to the governor, Alhaji Gboyega Oyetola, lauded  the workers for their sacrifices, understanding and perseverance.

Gbemi Ayandokun Omotoso/GEE

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Pix: Gov. Aregbesola of Osun State.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Catholics warm up for 2018 World Day of Peace

Catholic faithful across the world are now warming up for the 2018 World Day of Peace as declared by Pope Francis to hold on New Year Day, Monday, January 1, this year, reports ITRealms.

With the theme ‘Migrants and Refugees: Men and Women in search of Peace’ the Pontiff noted that the World Peace Day is set aside annually by the Holy See to spread the gospel of peaceful co-existence amongst peoples of the world.

ITRealms gathered that in the Archdiocese of Lagos, the event would kick off with a Holy Mass at the Holy Cross Cathedral with the Archbishop of Lagos, Most Rev Dr. Alfred Adewale Martins as the Chief Celebrant, to be assisted by the Director of Social Communicators, Msgr. Gabriel Osu by 10.am.

Also, ITRealms reports that the occasion would be graced some members of Catholic Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria (CAMPAN), Papal Knights/Medalists, top government functionaries and members of the diplomatic corps. The occasion will also afford an opportunity for the reading of the Pope’s New Year message, while the Archbishop of Lagos will also brief the media on his State of the Nation address.

All Catholics and media practitioners are enjoined to be part of this celebration of peace to usher in the New Year.

Uj. N. Dominic/GEE

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Pix: Pope Francis

Friday, December 29, 2017

ACSIS membership grows to over 500 in 40 countries

The African Civil Society on the Information Society (ACSIS) has revealed that its membership has continued to gain momentum from over 170 to over 500 within the last one year, reports ITRealms.

Disclosing this in an end of year message, ACSIS president, Dr. Cisse Kane told ITRealms that 2017 was a pivotal year in the development of the pan-African organization with several acts of recognition and strategic positioning that will promote ACSIS participation in the reflection and actions for sustainable Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in Africa.

Some of this achievements, he outlined to include “Obtaining consultative status at the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC), accreditation to the Economic and Social Council of the African Union (ECOSOC-AU).”

He also listed the acceptance of ACSIS to E-trade For All Initiative facilitated by (UNCTAD).

Today, he said, ACSIS is present in over 40 countries in Africa and in the Diaspora comprising France, Switzerland, United States of America (USA), Canada, the Netherlands, and Germany to name a few.

In addition, he revealed ACSIS now has over 500 member organizations, just as national ACSIS coordinations are being set up and “we regularly welcome new memberships and partnerships.”

Kane further commended the ACSIS executive board members and all members of ACSIS network, who have participated both physically and remotely and often at their own expense in numerous local, national and international meetings to promote sustainable ICTs in Africa.

“To raise the voice of our continent, by sharing with us valuable information, press articles on developments, activities of member organizations, etc. All this contributed greatly to making our network vibrant,” he said.

Nonye Dom/GEE

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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Okereafor backs call for ICT General of the Federation, seeks domestication

Seasoned Information and Communication Technology (ICT) professional, Dr. Kenneth Okereafor has drummed support on the call for an ICT General of the Federation, reports ITRealms.

Reacting to the recent call by former President of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria, Chief Chris Uwaje, who made the call in Lagos, had declared that "Weaponization of cyberspace makes ‘Office of ICT General’ inevitableDr. Okereafor said, he concurred with Uwaje also known in the industry as the Oracle, but sought for domestication of definition, so as to add more value to nation building.

As said by him, the last two decades has seen fantastic progress in the information technology penetration rate, both in government and private sector computing.

“Perhaps the best way to put it is that we have reached a point of no return. This should be a cheering piece of news,” he said.

Okereafor, who is a telecommunication engineer, noted however, that given the rapidly-growing sophistication of contemporary cyberattack tools and techniques, “the Nigerian digital domain is ripe for the ‘National Digital Defence’.

According to Okereafor, a certified network security specialist, the domesticated definition, scope and components of this nomenclature will open up “a new vista of IT roles including the ICT-General proposed by Chris Uwaje.”

He posited that the responsibilities attached to the new roles whilst complimenting existing digital institutions will facilitate an accelerated domestic development of globally-trending ICT concepts and innovations such as “IPv6, green computing, digital forensics, advanced persistent threats, Internet of Things, telepresence for eGovernment, micro-IP chips, etcetera etcetera.”

Okereafor, who enjoys membership of the Computer Professional Registration Council of Nigeria (CPN), predicts that in the long run, the avalanche effect will instigate a reinvigorated private sector driven digital era.

Chuks Egbune/GEE

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