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Imperative for National Information Technology Development

The eNigeria2014 has come and gone but the memory will certainly linger for a long time to come. We are happy to have participated at the forum and we feel proud that such wonderful discoveries could come out of Nigeria’s Nazareth.

However, we noticed that even though NITDA has done well in the area of software development, little or nothing is being done in hardware development.

In 2012, we asked the erstwhile Director General of NITDA, Prof Cleopas Angaye, what his agency was doing in this regard; he had no clear-cut answer to our question. Again, the same question was asked at the eNigeria2014 but nobody seemed to be prepared for it.

We will like to suggest the following: NITDA should overlook what has come to be termed ‘comparative advantage’ and deliberately invest in manufacturing computer hardware in Nigeria.

The term is used to discourage ambitious Third World countries eager to become First World. If Japan had considered only her areas of comparative advantage in the beginning would she have been developed today?

In achieving the hardware goal, there is a need to involve National Office for Technology Acquisition & Promotion (NOTAP), Nigeria Communication Satellites Limited (NigComSat), computer assemblers, Federal Technical College, Yaba, local and foreign component makers; and Electronics Development Institute (ELDI), Awka, Anambra State.

NOTAP will serve as coordinator (that is one of its mandates); NITDA will fund and oversee all the software development; NigComSat will provide mother board; ELDI will provide the power unit and other components. It will also provide the designs. The mould for the cases will be made by the Federal Technical College Yaba. The Otigba- Lagos-based computer village could also be drafted as a major stakeholder to provide advice on what the market wants.

Any of the assemblers patriotic enough to buy into the project by releasing its facilities for the project should be highly encouraged in any way possible. Also, we feel NITDA and NigComSat should work together in commercialising some of the innovations developed by the latter over the years. One of them is one that converts old computers to irrigation equipment.

This is the way to go — and grow!

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