By Prince Osuagwu
Quite coincidentally the ICT industry today is replete with past products of the Obafemi Awolowo University OAU. Chief among them is the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Engr Ernest Ndukwe, whose NCC has been repeatedly regarded as the change agent in the telecommunications history of Nigeria.
Other products of the ancient University who have also cut their teeth in the ICT industry, included the Director General of National Information Technology Development Agency, NITDA, Prof. Cleopas Angaye, Group Managing Director of Omatek Ventures Plc, Engr. Florence Seriki, President of the Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria, ATCON and Chairman Teledom group of companies,Â Dr Emmanuel Ekuwem, Group MD, Chams Nigeria ltd, Mr Demola Aladekomo amongst others.
Perhaps after accessing the leading roles these prominent Nigerians have played in the development of ICT in the country, the institutionâ€™s Alumni Association, Lagos branch in collaboration with one of Nigeriaâ€™s fledging ICT magazines, eWorld magazine announced lat week of a concluded arrangement to recognise and present awards to over 10 alumni of the university.
According to the organisers, the award is in recognition of the outstanding role that they are playing in pushing the frontiers of ICT development in the country and their contribution to national development.
The event is scheduled to hold middle of August at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island Lagos.
Chairman, planning committee of the event, Dr Olusanya Awosan, said the planned recognition and award became necessary following the growing recognition among ICT players and journalists who have continuously remarked that the ICT sector is largely driven by OAU graduates.
For him, â€œit is not only that the ICT sector is largely being driven by the OAU graduates, but their contribution to enterprise and corporate governance has also become phenomenal such that it can no longer go unnoticed.
â€œIt has been observed that about 70 per cent of those who are in the front seat of ICT development in Nigerian and making remarkable contributions to national development are graduates of theÂ Obafemi Awolowo University â€œ he added.
Flaunting the products, the organisers said â€œhow can one disregard people like Engineer Ernest Ndukwe, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, who is redefining corporate governance in Nigeria and putting a lie to pervading views that government business can not be run profitably and Professor Cleopas Angaye, Director General of National Information Technology Agency (NITDA), who is encouraging public-private collaboration in ICT development.
â€œPeople like Mrs Florence Seriki, CEO of Omatek, pioneer PC Assembly Company in Nigeria, Funke Opeke, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MainOne, a submarine fibre optic cable company, whose goal is to drive the much needed broadband infrastructure in Nigeria and Mrs Bunmi Afolabi, one of the first group of Microsoft Certified professionals in Nigeria and the CEO of Bi- Trax Axxent, whose vision is to ensure that IT becomes the live wire of every establishment, are a pride coming from one institution.
â€œThere are also Demola Aladekomo, CEO of Chams, Nigeria â€™s leading e-payment and e-transaction conglomerate, Chima Onyekwere, the CEO of the pioneer ISP in Nigeria and Karl Toriola, Chief Technical Officer (CTO) of MTN, Nigeria â€™s leading GSM Company.
There is also Nigeriaâ€™s first ICT youth ambassador, Gbenga Sesan, and the Commandant of the Army Signal Corp, Major-General Umo, whose role in Ecomog was exemplary, earning him a national award to mention a fewâ€.
It should also be noted that the first DG of NITDA, late Professor Gabriel Ajayi and immediate past President of ATCON, lateÂ Charles Alaba Joseph were all graduates of OAU.
Because their contributions to the sector have been remarkable, the view is that there must be something in their foundation at OAU that has given them the enterprise knowledge edge and the capacity to drive ICT.
The event will also witness the presentation of a special eWorld magazine publication which will focus on the pedigree of these gentlemen and ladies; their OAU foundation; their experiences at OAU and how it has prepared them for the tasks that they now perform. eWorld is a publication of Ajomedia Limited.
The report will also present their views on ICT education in present day Nigerian tertiary institutions and what should be done to correct existing gaps.
The publication will also contain an interview of some OAU Professors, like Dean of Faculty of Technology, Professor Titi Kuku, J.A Osunade, Head, Department of Agricultural Engineering and Dr. Aderoumu Adesola, Director of Information Technology and Communication (ITC), who also spoke on several other issues.