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SS-ICT4D Week 2018

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Life is a code

Our life is a spider-web of Codes. Where is Software Nigeria? For all those countries – especially in Africa/Nigeria who are not aware or blatantly refused to acknowledge the power of Information Technology (especially the Software of Things)  and are therefore significantly lagging behind the concept, challenges, complexities timely application and fatal consequences of the neglect of Information Technology development, the compelling and innovative truth is that “Life is a Code”. Indeed, our entire life and the whole humanity is a crystal ball of code rapped in the mastery of software and related IT Ecosystem. Only those who embrace and religiously master it will effectively manage sustainable development and prosper. And those who are currently blind, deaf and dumb to the amazing world of Code……..will perish. Did I say perish? Nay such nations will depart this life and be forever forgotten.

As the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) prepares to celebrate her 20th anniversary, there is need to further explore the state of Software-Nigeria. Simply defined, a code is a system of imagination and interpretation of life patterns at all levels, by replacing the words in a message with other words or symbols, so that it conjures complexity and nobody can understand it unless he/she possesses the system knowhow. Intricate secret codes are used in various forms eg: when the names of trees stood for letters. A code is also any system of signs or symbols such as our finger-prints and the genetic Codes used by living cells to translate encoded information (DNA) with magical meanings.

A typical example is the Enigma Machine. The Enigma machines were a series of electro-mechanical rotor cipher machines developed and used in the early-to mid-20th century to protect commercial, diplomatic and military communications. Thanks to Alan Turing who cracked the Code and averted a major world catastrophe during the Second World War. Indeed, Turing’s skill and work during the Second World War were so decisive that Winston Churchill acknowledged his role as follows: “Turing made the single biggest contribution to Allied victory” Turing was a Code Warrior and brilliant Mathematician.

‎Going forward with life as a Code, “Never before in history has innovation offered promise of so much to so many in so short a time.” — Bill Gates. And according to David Landes (1998): “Indeed, the very notion of productivity is a by-product of the clock: once one can relate performance to uniform time units, work is never the same” (p. 49–50). It was the invention of the mechanical clock which in turn led to one of Adam Smith’s seminal insights: wealth and prosperity depend directly—to use Smith’s language—on the “productive powers of labor.” (David Landes (1998 - modified)

Therefore Software Code is undoubtedly the backbone to 21st century economic development, national security and survivability. Above all, it validates the maxim: “we cannot manage what we cannot measure (codify)”.  Today, the quantum challenges, needs and response aspirations for our national leadership, security of life and survivability for a population of about 200 million people cannot be effectively determined, scaled, effectively managed and/or measured without a centralized and dynamic National Code in enigmatic Database and Security Intelligent System.  It is however pertinent to state that Nigeria’s survivability is to a larger degree, a shared inspiration, obligation and responsibility of the State and the citizenry. 

According to Philip Zelikow Executive Director of 9/11 Commission and a Professor at the University of Virginia, USA, the most significant lessons learned from the 9/11 catastrophe is: “The United States of America would have done, before the 9/11 saga, most of the things (i.e: reactionary measures taken) that we did post 9/11!”  A valid example is the establishment of the Homeland Security Institutional framework with its complex, colossal, multi-dimensional and highly-critical information infrastructure with expansive Database systems on Cybersecurity and Terrorism. It is all for public safety. Indeed, it is all about life as a Code.

Nigeria is currently faced with a similar challenge of weaponized fire wrapped up in Code- ignorance and hate against self  - informed by the magnitude our under-development and complexities of terror such as the United Nations suicide bomb blast and other deadly hits, such as the INEC bomb blast at Suleja, Niger State and the Abuja Police HQ, bomb blast, Chibok Girls, and now Dapchi  saga to mention but a few. Would we have done some of the things we now intend to do – about 20 years ago?

Would we have mobilized the IT Professionals and created a National Coding Platforms and Institution, Security Intelligence Database, adequately prepared with disaster recovery plans and mastered the related operational complexities before they stuck? What about the monumental and heart breaking corruption and thief-thief figures slapping us in the face every nanosecond?

21st century Information clusters are dynamic knowledge architecture for developing Intelligent and security systems. Many centuries ago, great philosophers of knowledge like Aristotle, Francis Beckon, etc., have informed us that the character of a nation is dictated by the structure, knowledge modules, organizational ability and programmed processes of her information and Database systems. 

In other words, “As we lay our national information systems bed, so we sleep on it! The role of Technology and in particular, e-Government and software systems in National Security Database Intelligence dynamics has therefore become a critical and significant component as well as a fundamental necessity for understanding e-security life-cycle. Also, it amplifies the needs and accelerated urgency for deploying strategies capable of protecting Critical National Information Infrastructure (CNII) with result-oriented and sustainable implementation process. Software-Nigeria is the key and the secure Roadmap to our future and Indigenous skill-sets must be called to national duty. 

Empowering the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) therefore becomes an urgent imperative to provide and deliver the required solutions. The reason is not far-fetched, the task is a very sensitive initiative which represents and is indeed, the knowledge laboratory for national survivability. India is a good example of this process.

For so long, our Information and Data attributes seems to have been sentenced by ignorance to the death-roll of our nation building agenda and development mission. This artificially conceived anti-Code mindset (the Nigerian factor?) has indeed subverted and corrupted the conscious layers of our intellectual and merit-mechanisms. Furthermore, it has aided and abetted the migration of our patriotic ability, from a community of “what-you-know” to a society of “who-you know” and where you come from!  A robust national database can be designed and built by IT professionals to resolve the crisis of Nigeria’s under-development.

Above all, it has created a society that is entangled in techno-phobia and estranged by technology. A society that abhors critical information process; shuns, hunts and crucifies rigorous database generation and myopically subdues professional IT knowledge acquisition project implementation processes as insignificant or unnecessary for national intelligence and people development. 

The consequence is that what we now have is a capital merchandising environment – otherwise known as ‘Okada economy’! This has led us to pursue and glorify 4-megawatts of power generation, when indeed we require a minimum of 50-megawatts to jump-start a globally meaningful and competitive vision as the single largest concentration of people of African descent under the universe. It is all about Software. It is about Database! Information Technology professionals can significantly contribute to the national mission of providing constant power generation and distribution for Nigeria.

The reality today translates to the fact that it should be abundantly clear to us, that the era and long-addicted habit of physically and blindly chasing the containers and cargo packages at all our import terminals and air/land boarders and throwing away the content of the manifest documents that represent the knowledge-base and real world inside the containers, must be over by now. 

The fact that ‘Kid Google’ utilizes over 2.3million Megawatts to run its global knowledge business compared to Nigeria’s dream for generating 10,000 Megawatts by 2020, or a reality that Microsoft has earned more money in 25years of its operation – than what General Motors has netted in 100years, should be a wakeup call to Nigeria! Waking up here implies that Code Dreamers, Design-Thinking Innovators and IT Professionals in Nigeria must be accorded their rightful place in the task if Nation building and sustainable development and national security.


The life we live today is made-up of and wrapped in Codes. Information Technology (IT) is undoubtedly the world's fastest growing body of knowledge for sustainable development and national survivability. At the centre of these very complex processes is Software Infrastructure. On a thumb rule, Nigeria needs to case a serious look into Code development and aim to spin out 500,000 Code Warriors within the next 36 months. Life is a Code. No Code, No life!  

*Contributed by Chris Uwaje

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