By NNAmdi ojiego & Daniel Alfred
DAPO Oladimeji-Hanah is an architect by training, an entrepreneur, and a project management consultant by calling. He is the Chief Executive Officer of Daedel Limited, a property development company that specializes in architectural designs, engineering and construction works, among others. He was the lead consultant on the Gateway Paradise Development, a new town development at Kilometre 65, Lagos_ Ibadan expressway for three thousand housing units. The project is a public-private-partnership initiative of the Ogun State Government. In this interview, he disclosed how ICT has aided the growth of building and construction industry and the challenges in trying to make the sector ICT_compliant. On cybercrime, he opined that it was only greedy and criminal-minded persons that fall victims of internet scams. The Daedel boss also spoke on other issues including why government should invest in rail transportation to reduce the carnage witnessed on our roads. Excerpts:
ICT is said to be an enabler, a force that drives other sectors of the economy. In what ways has ICT helped in your work as an architect and builder?
In so many ways; today, most of our productions are automated. Our consultants now design and do their works on cards with computer aided designs. We have various kinds of software that make it easier for professionals to exchange ideas, share files and do video conferencing. The various project management activities are now on cards, even basic administration is done on computers because you realize that all the things that have to do with paper files are gradually being phased away. Though they cannot be completely phased out, their usage has been highly minimized with the advent of computers. So, computer aided design makes it easier for professionals to exchange information, share files, interact with each other online and allows video tele-conferencing. It enhances the interaction of professionals in a multi disciplinary environment for enhanced productivity and service delivery.
What area of the building and construction sector needs ICT most?
All! Every area of construction sector needs ICT. Therefore, ICT should be in all areas because, virtually every profession that is associated with construction and designs needs one form of ICT or the other.
What are those things that have constituted impediments in deploying ICT in your work area?
The challenges for now are the cost of acquisition of the hardware and software as well as the cost of maintaining them. You know, Nigerians have very low purchasing power and based on that, many organizations and individuals too don’t have the resources to acquire necessary IT tools for their works. So, I think that is one of the major hindrances that we have in the sector.
Don’t you think that low level of computer literacy among your professional colleagues will pose a barrier as well?
To the best of my knowledge, majority of my professional colleagues are computer literate. We may have some of them who are not because of the way they were educated. The older ones, in their late 70s may not have been opportuned to learn the rudiments of computer aided design and crafting. However I think it is something every one who really wants to know about and who really wants to make a mark in his or her profession can easily acquire the skill within a month.
Do you think that those who do not have the knowledge of ICT still have a role to play in the building sector?
They still have a role to play, maybe at managerial levels and not at the technical and production levels. Even then, their role at the managerial level could be better enhanced if they were computer literate and have the knowledge of ICT.
You do business with both foreign and local partners. Has online fraud affected your business in any way?
For now, it hasn’t, basically because we are security conscious in our operations and we don’t subscribe to spam mails. We take our time to cross_check our mails and we have deployed a lot of anti_spy ware and anti-virus software on our systems and servers. We also train our staff to be security conscious. We are also aware of what we call industrial espionage especially, with the availability of flash disks and other tools which allow people to easily access your systems and passwords. Again, no matter how juicy the offer is, we take our time to check through, to verify from one level to another. We are also aware of the issue of security precaution, so we have no fear about that.
However, most of those that fall prey to cyber crimes are themselves thieves. They are those who want to reap where they did not sow. At least, basically, they have dishonest intentions, that’s why they fall victims of internet fraud. They forget that there is no free lunch anywhere in the world. So we are quite conscious of that and if you are security conscious, you will know the security measures to take to protect your data using the various software, putting passwords on your data files and so on. With that, I think you are safe from any form of cyber crime.