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‘Nigeria needs to retool institutions to enable job creation, software innovations’

Chris Uwaje, erstwhile president of the Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON), has stressed the need for enabling environment and retooling of various institutions to enable job creation for youths through software and innovations.

Uwaje dropped the hint while speaking on the need to legislate for a viable ICT University, adding that such legislation should be at par with other parts of the world.

The Co-Chair for Publicity and Communications for Africa, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineer -World Forum on Internet of Things (IEEE)-WFIoT  lamented that lack of legislation on software has limited Nigeria software developers from selling to the outer world, like India.

“We need to push for the National Software Policy and Legislation just like you have in any part of the world. We can’t sell our software in India because the procedures to even meet the guidelines over there will scare you until you have the maturity to do the business. Flip to Nigeria, Indians just enter here, see the opportunity and sell. It is not acceptable. We are not playing on a fair ground. There has to be preparatory ground for us to map out the software and be able to sell”.

He stressed that software developers must innovate to attract even indigenous companies’ interest to their works.

“I think, it is mainly about innovation. There is a way to draw a line between legislation and innovation. The later spurs mankind. It is practically impossible for the human mind to think about nothing. Man is constantly propelled to think. And that spurs innovation in many directions. So, we need to create the enabling environment, facilitate the tools and make sure you have the cluster of people.

“What we do presently is more or less a match-box-vision. Want to see a sector of 50,000 Nigerian youths cracking innovations, coding, engaging in analytics- IoT, cloud computing and the likes. Until you can have an originality of product that doesn’t exist anywhere in the world, that is when you can sell. If they say, ok, Facebook, good; the founder has made his mark. But, why can’t we have “HeadBook”, where Africans can test their intellectual and innovative prowess. By the time people started pitching their innovations, investors will buy into them, through that we have resources to sell. So, we need to think out of the box. The space has gone beyond just upload and download. There has to be new culture to engage at technology and the how to look at our data management.

“One other thing is the mistake of building ICT from ground-up; training people from Computer Science till graduation. The time to market that was elongated before has become shorter. By the time you have finished developing your application, they are obsolete. What we need to do really is conversation programme in knowledge developing.

“You convert already grown people like engineers who have knowledge of thinking; convert them to software development. So, within a year, you have five thousand of them. As years go by you have ready-made software ‘wizards’.

They can fit-in to other areas. This is the model India has adopted, which has worked for them. Also, women must be at the center of software development, because the person in the world that started coding was a woman. So, Nigerian women should be motivated to go into software,” Uwaje added.


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