NITDA RESTRUCTURES, BUILDS FUTURE ON INDIGENOUS SOFTWARE

Computing

Nigeria’s IT regulatory body, the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), is to focus on software and applications development as new man at the top Prof Cleopas Angaye sits to work. Until his appointment as the substantive DG of NITDA, Angaye was the director of Software Development in the agency.

Angaye, who assumed office as new Director General last month, has reorganised NITDA’s existing structures under his former late Prof Gabriel Olalere Ajayi. An aide told IT Edge in Abuja that the software professor with 29 years experience believes NITDA’s destiny and continuous relevance in "the scheme of things depends on its ability to spearhead effective and workable campaign on indigenous software development and acceptance."

NITDA’s new boss, himself a software developer, holds several software patents. They include a facial recognition application, a $4.5 million web intercommunication infrastructure application used in China and a 3D Grid field compression application for weather forecasting used by the US Navy. Angaye studied in the US and is the co-author of a 1994 research publication "Inferential security in individual computing environments " by the ACM Press New York.

On his desk, said aides, are plans to address the issue of funding and getting the right policy thrust to make indigenous software gain wider acceptance and deployment in corporate Nigeria.

NITDA wants to tune in to the mood in Aso Rock, Nigeria’s seat of power where the leadership is already encouraging a private initiative led by banker and CEO of Zenith Bank Jim Ovia to provide a technology centre for young developers. The centre is 24/7 facility with constant power supply, telephony and Internet access for developers who would equally be relieved of the initial financial burden that has eliminated most software start-ups.

Aides said NITDA has clear instructions from Aso Rock to pay attention to "indigenous software development. A senior official at the Ministry of Science and Technology quoted the Minister, Prof Turner Isoun, as asking the DG to concentrate on a blueprint that would endear the indigenous software industry to the banks, as is already the case with the telecom industry.

Angaye’s new software agenda has ready converts in the Nigerian Computer Society (NCS) led by Dr. Chris Nwannena. The NCS, which never hid its hatred for what it regarded as the ‘mis-direction’ of NITDA under its pioneer DG Late Ajayi, has since the appointment Angaye, strove to build a closer relationship with the new NITDA’s leadership

The NCS is convinced that Angaye’s professional background would create a ready meeting point between the NITDA and its (NCS) own commitment to indigenous software development.

With the reorganization in NITDA, former acting DG Dr Moses Ubaru has been transferred to head the Planning, Research & Statistics (PRS). Ubaru formally headed the Technical Services and doubled as Deputy DG. He automatically became the Acting DG at the demise of Prof Ajayi. As acting DG, Ubaru was touted to become the new DG but lost out to Prof Angaye.

The Lagos office created by Ajayi, which never fully took off, is to go into full operations under Angaye’s new plan for the IT body. Vincent Olatunji, formally of the PRS, has been transferred from Abuja to become the Zonal Coordinator and Liaison Officer in Lagos. The new zonal office would provide the needed window for developers and other IT stakeholders in Nigeria’s commercial capital to relate with Abuja, Nigeria’s administrative capital.

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