By Emma Okonji
The Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) has called for policies that will drive economic economic growth and development in the country, especially at this time when organisations in Nigeria are re-skilling their workforce to meet up the digital skills’ demand for digital transformation in the digital era.
The newly elected President of ISPON, Mr. Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu, who made the call recently during the official handing over ceremony and change of leadership roles at ISPON, urged the government to reconsider a panoramic review of policies in Nigeria.
Mba-Uzoukwu, who also received the emblem of office from his predecessor, Dr. Yele Okeremi, said: “Change in policy that will positively impact on businesses in the era of new normal occasioned by COVId-19, is the only way the country can move forward, and be abreast with new technology developments that are trending and shaping the globe.”
According to him, most of the policies that currently govern technology businesses in Nigeria, were enacted as far back as the 1960s, hence the country has remained technologically backward.
Specifically, he said: “the country’s education policy is still based on analogue while the world is now digital.”
Mba-Uzoukwu assured members of the institute that ISPON under his tenure would be leading advocacy in this direction to ensure that Nigerian youths get the right education to be able to function and excel in the digital world.
During his inaugural speech at the handover ceremony, Mba-Uzoukwu thanked the founding members of ISPON for their vision to establish a body that would outlive them and add value to the society at large. He also expressed appreciation to the present members for their votes and promised to build on the legacy that the immediate past president left behind.
Mba-Uzoukwu said, although the new executives were coming on board at a time the country and indeed the world are faced with COVID-19 pandemic, he however explained that it was an auspicious time to make the transition to knowledge-based economy and that software remained at the forefront of such transition.
“The ‘new normal’ has become the in-thing today, but we seem to speak about it with uncertainty. Therefore, it is our responsibility as part of the ecosystem to create that ‘new normal’. Often we are marred in negativity as a consumer nation that is dependent on imports.
“It is our responsibility to write this history. The situation brought about by COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with a historic opportunity to reset and reimagine what we can do and begin to tell that story in the manner that people can believe in the local software,” Mba-Uzoukwu said.
He called on Nigerians to support and encourage ISPON members and software developers in Nigeria by patronising indigenous software, which he said, needed the encouragement of industry stakeholders and the government to grow big.
In his handover speech, Okeremi said: “ISPON has continued to engage successive governments to implement policies and provide supports that will ensure the development of the Nigerian software industry.”
He admonished the new president to keep this going and ensure a clear and consensus voice to educate the government and policymakers on the need to embrace ‘developed-in-Nigeria’ software, adding that the inclusion of the younger generation in the technology ecosystem is becoming an important aspect of ISPON’s activities.
“We know that these are the days of the younger people. I will encourage you and your team to pay attention to having programmes that will bring these young people into our fold,” Okeremi advised, while highlighting the need for the new leadership of ISPON to work with relevant stakeholders.
Some other members of the new ISPON National Executive Council, include: Mr. Chuks Onyebuchi as 1st Vice President; Mr. Bimbo Abioye as 2nd Vice President; Mr. Lanre Adelanwa as General Secretary; Dr. Abiodun Falade as Treasurer; Mr. Peter Ogedengbe as Chair, Membership Committee; Mr. Wahab Sarumi as Chair, Policy and Strategy Committee.