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IT: Group Urges Synergy Between Academia, Industry

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A Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Young Innovators of Nigeria (YIN) has called for synergy between the academia and Information Technology (IT) industry to bridge the gap in IT skills ecosystem.
President of the group, Mr Andrew Abu, made the call at the presentation of its Connect to Change IT Skill Gap Research at the ongoing conference of Academia in Information Technology Profession (AITP) in Abuja, Wednesday.
The theme of the conference was: `Information Technology for Promotion of Quality Education, Research and Local Content Development.’
According to Abu, tertiary institutions form the basis for the development of skills in IT, but the fundamental knowledge required for the IT graduates to thrive in the industry is lacking.
“IT is an enabler to solve problems in all areas and the university is the basis to develop skills.
“There is need for the reform of IT education which has the potential to grow the country’s economy and create jobs for the young population,” he said.
He called for the teaching module in tertiary institutions needed to involve more practicals to meet up with skill needed in the industry.
He said that lack of sufficient practical in IT courses had resulted in the poor turnout of graduates in the area.
Abu stressed that poor graduates in IT had contributed to unemployment and underemployment of individuals who desire jobs in IT.
On his part, Prof Afolayan Olaniyi, President, Academia in Information Technology Profession (AITP) said that the poor quality of graduates in IT area of study had made them unemployable.
Olaniyi observed that poor funding had contributed to the quality of education in IT graduates.
However, the AITP chief said it was important that the academia and the industry utilise what is available in the country to develop local IT products.
According to him, the best way to solve challenges in the country is the application of IT.
He, however, said it was necessary for experts in the IT industry to mentor students in tertiary institutions for better skilled individuals.
The chairman of the conference, Prof. Ishaya Tanko, Director ICT, University of Jos, said that IT curriculum in tertiary institutions were obsolete.
Tanko added that the curriculum required upgrade to measure up to the demands of the industry and as well be in line with global curriculum.
He also said that the industry and the academia need synergy to function better, adding that no organisation could exist in isolation.
Mr Samson Osagie, Executive Director Marketing and Business Development Nigeria Communication Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Ltd, said with the collaboration of partners like YIN the organisation could use locally made applications to consolidate national security.
Osagie added that the organisation was working assiduously to launch the country’s satellite to ensure the furtherance of IT development in the country.
Prof Isa Pantami, Director General National Information Technology development Agency (NITDA) said the agency was putting measures in place to intervene in IT skill gaps.
Represented by Dr Christopher Okeke, Director Cyber Security, the D-G said that they were encouraging local application development to reduce importation of apps that could be locally made.
He, however, said NITDA would only encourage importation of applications where it could not be locally produced.
According to him, encouraging local content will reduce capital flight of IT products and services.
Pantami said that gaps in IT skills were not to be blamed on either the academia or the industry, adding that Nigerians were skillful and the enabling environment would make the sector thrive.
Mr Anthony Oni, Principal Partner YIN, during the presentation of the research said that IT practitioners in the industry were consulted on the needs in the industry.
Oni stated that all the practitioners made reference to the fact that IT graduates could not marry the experience in school with the industry requirements.
The Tide soruce reports that 169 Nigerian IT companies with a workforce of 10 employees were used as a case study for the research.
Goodwill messages also came from Nigerian Communication Commission, Baze University, Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria and Nigeria Computer Society.

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Telecom Firm Trains Journalists On Artificial Intelligence

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Telecommunication company, 9mobile  Plc, has said that the company had trained some journalists across media houses in Nigeria on Artificial Intelligence-powered journalism.
The training, which was the third edition of the telco’s  capacity building initiative, designed to acquaint journalists with emerging trends in journalism, was  by multimedia producer and social media strategist, Usifo Omozokpea, who is currently the Audience Development Manager (West Africa) at The Conversation Africa.
According to Omozokpea, Artificial Intelligence (AI) was the simulation of human intelligence process or human activities through machines, especially computer systems.
He noted that there are specific applications of AI which includes expert systems, natural language processing, speech recognition and machine vision.
These tools, he said, enhance the job of media practitioners and can help them collaborate better.
According to him, there are various tools that have been designed to address specific media needs.
He urged participants to take advantage of the various AI tools at their disposal to improve their professional practice.
Speaking on the session, the Executive Director, Regulatory and Corporate Affairs, 9mobile, Abdulrahman Ado, represented by 9mobile’s Public Relations  Lead, Chineze Amanfo, said that the knowledge shared during the training session had proven to be useful to all participants.
Ado noted that the knowledge gained by participants during the training will obviously aid them to work smarter and even create room for intelligent collaboration with their colleagues in a seamless and professional manner.

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INEC Admits Improvement On Voter Registration Exercise

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The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has said that over one million Nigerians have been added to the nation’s voter register.
The number of fresh online pre-registrants  was 3,165,189 while 1,457,766 have applied for voter transfer, replacement of Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) and update of information records.
National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education Committee, Festus Okoye, disclosed this in a statement announcing the end of the first quarter of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR).
He said youths between the ages of 18 and 34 constituted the majority, with 771,770 (71.33 per cent) having completed registration.
In terms of occupation, students formed the largest category with 439,608 (40.63 per cent). In gender distribution, 555,872 (51.38 per cent) were male and 526,075 (48.62 per cent) female.
He said the second quarter of the exercise would begin October 4, 2021, and end December 20, 2021.
 “As provided by Section 19 (1) of the Electoral Act 2010 (as amended), the Commission is mandated to publish the register of voters for a period of not less than five days and not more than 14 days for public scrutiny during which citizens may make claims and objections,
“In compliance with the law, the register of new voters will be displayed in the local government offices of the Commission nationwide from September 24 to 30, 2021.
“The aim is to enable citizens to assist the Commission by identifying ineligible registrants on the list ahead of the cleaning up of the register before adding the fresh registrants to the current register and printing their PVCs for future elections”, he said.
Okoye observed that ineligible registrants included foreigners and Nigerians below the age of 18. He also urged people to help the Commission identify multiple registrants and deceased persons so that they can be removed from the register.
Also, INEC placed a suspension on online pre-registration and in-person voter registrations across Lagos State.
It said the suspension was to give room for all registrants to check the appropriateness of information supplied. It said the stoppage would afford its officials the opportunity to embark on necessary housekeeping activities in preparation for the next quarter.
In a statement, yesterday, by its Head of Department, Voter Education/Publicity for Lagos, Femi Akinbiyi, INEC said online pre-registration and in-person registration exercise started on June 28, 2021, and July 26, 2021.

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LG Boss Constitutes Voters Mobilisation, Registration Committee

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Ahead the 2023 general elections, the Executive Chairman of Ogu/Bolo Local Government Area, Hon Vincent Nemieboka, has constituted voters mobilisation/ registration committee across wards and communities in the area.
Hon Nemieboka urged the constituted committee members to liaise with councillors to achieve the  desired objective. 
He  made the declaration during a stakeholders meeting on voters registration at Ogu,the council headquarters, recently.
The council boss reiterated that  eligible voters utilise  the opportunity as provided by the Independent Electoral Commission ( INEC ) to register for the 2023 elections.
He said that Ogu/ Bolo under his leadership would not hesitate to  provide the logistics and enabling environment  for the exercise.
“The essence of the exercise can never be over emphasised. The electorate can decide the future of Rivers cum Nigeria with their vote,” he said.
He  further  urged the Councillors,traditional rulers, Community Development Committees and youth bodies to assist in carrying out the  awareness and stressed  the need for eligible voters to participate in the on going exercise.
The council boss urged the electoral umpire to improve on its services to avoid disefranchising eligible voters in the area. 
Describing Governor Wike’s performance in infrastructural and human capital development as unprecedented, he called for improved network in order to enhance the process. 
He was of the view  that the only way to reciprocate the Governor’ s kind gesture was to  show more support and ensure that  eligible voters do the needful.
In his remarks, the  Assistant Electoral Officer in charge of voters enlightenment , Mr Austin Jonas thanked the Chairman for organising  such event and said that it was a welcome development.
Austin said the electoral body would work in synergy with council authorities to ensure the exercise was  hitch free.
In their Separate speeches,the leader  of Ogu/Bolo Legislative Assembly, Rt Hon Thompson Ogwunna, said that  the councillors would give the Chairman necessary support to succeed in his determination to deliver democratic dividends to the people. 
Thompson, who represent, Ward 11, described the chairman as God-sent , as he urged  eligible voters on the  need to  avail themselves of the opportunity. 
The Deputy Leader, Hon Tamuno Dikibala Ofori, in his contribution, said that the councillors were working  in synergy with the executive to achieve  the aim of the exercise. 
Hon Tamuno, who represents Ward Five in the Ogu/Bolo Legislative  Assembly, also urged  his people to register for the elections.

By: King Onunwor

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