The 2016 IT Professionals Assembly of the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria, CPN held in Kaduna, was another venue for IT Practitioners in Nigeria to stoutly claim that local talents may never get appreciated until both public and private sector reduced dependency of foreign products.
Participants at the event maintained that over-dependency on foreign IT solutions and services can never be healthy in building local capacity.
They feared that attaining a dependable and sustainable national IT infrastructure in Nigeria may be detailed unless Nigeria begins to patronize local IT services and solutions that are comparable to foreign ones.
For instance, most banking software applications used in Nigeria today come from India and Europe. However, delivering his key note address, the Minister of Education, Mallam Adamu Adamu, said that the poor state of Information Technology in Nigeria was due to fraudulent practices and weak supervision.
He reminded the participants that he had witnessed the induction of now fewer than 300 new members.
The Minister who was represented by the Director of ICT, Ministry of Education Ike Orji also said that poor IT state in Nigeria could be largely attributed to poor critical IT infrastructure, power and inadequate funding.
The Minister listed other challenges affecting the sector to include poor data, low capacity of teachers to deliver on IT in education, IT curriculum dynamism, among others.
He said that fraudulent practices and weak supervision of IT contracts must be addressed immediately.
To expand the frontiers of IT development in the country, the Minister said that, “We must address critical national IT infrastructure and professional development as a priority. We must also facilitate technology enabled learning as a way of preparing our youths for the future work place”.
Earlier in his speech, the Minister of Science and Technology and special guest of honor, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu said that Nigeria must change from a consumer to producer nation.
Represented by Prof. Muhammed Mamman, Director General, Nigerian Institute for Tripanosomiasis and Onchocerciacis Research, Kaduna State, the ministry told the gathering that Nigeria should strengthen its pursuit of a major producer and marketer of IT hardware, software and services which currently constitute one of the most vibrant, profitable and ever growing global businesses.
“Imagine the quantum of benefits Nigeria shall derive by conserving the foreign exchange it uses annually in the importation of IT”, he said.
Meanwhile, Diphentogo Clement Mokoko, President, ICTTP, South Africa said that Nigeria has what it takes to build its local IT infrastructure.
Mokoko who was represented by Seun Adegolu of Institute of Chartered Professionals argued that building the IT infrastructure is not the issue but managing it.
Citing South Africa example, he said that it is important to have a business plan in asset management as that is the only way to sustain any infrastructure.
The executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta in his remarks said that there was need for synergy in the industry to sustain and build national IT infrastructure.
The NCC EVC who was represented by Engr. Fidelis Onah, Director, Technical Standard and Networking Integrity said that foreign IT vendors are not better than what we have locally, adding that Nigeria must develop local content to address local problems.
For the President/Chairman of Council, CPN, Prof. Vincent Asor, the theme of this year’s IT Assembly was informed by the need for the professionals to gather and discuss their roles in the preservation of and sustainability of Nigeria key national IT infrastructure.
Prof. Asor said that Nigeria has the best human resources in the world to build and sustain its national IT infrastructure, adding that government support was needed.