Monday, September 2, 2013

REFORMING THE DEVELOPMENT AGENDA - MY QUICK TAKE ON THIS.

The current state of the Nigerian economy and its infrastructural leanings is unfathomable. Thanks to years of neglect, corruption and nonchalance by the despots that masquerade as leaders since independence.
With a staggering population of 175 million (2013 est.), our human resource and propensity to develop is and should be unrivalled but the glaring and unfortunate reality shows clearly we are micromanaging our potentials.

In Nigeria, bringing up good reforms in key sectors of the economy from Agriculture, Health, Education and Power has never been a challenge. In fact, it’s as routine as coffee breaks. We get lost in the process due to the sabotaging efforts of our self-seeking and politically minded leaders.

Of note is the Nigerian education sector. Since the return of democracy in 1999, the country has had ten Education Ministers with each of them introducing supposedly good policies. Just as the seeds begin to blossom into a flower, the administration is changed, the policies have not had the capacity to run on autopilot and we begin to undulate in a cyclic twist of ineptitude.

When Dr. Obiageli Ezekwesili, the immediate past World Bank Managing Director for Africa was Nigeria’s Education Minister, she did curate a couple of policies by reinventing the country’s Education framework from 6-3-3-4 to 9-3-4. Six years after, the ripple effects of policies like these are at an abysmal low.

Classrooms from Primary to Tertiary institutions of learning in the country are an eyesore; other physical infrastructures that actually make learning comfortable like furniture are dilapidated. There are no books in the libraries and if they are, it’s outdated. The curriculum and instructional guides are not pedagogical and to crown the insolence, the graduates that are churned out of the system can’t compete for jobs in the industrial age, more less this information age.

I’m not in any way swerving towards pessimism, in fact, I’m an eternal optimist. In the midst of this madness, there seem to be some few flashes of brilliance. For the past two years, The Nigerian Agriculture Ministry has been managed by a technocrat who sees the big picture.

Nigeria’s agricultural output for two years now has consistently been northward bound. The Minister has an eye for detail and he’s quite prescient in managing the people and the processes in the ministry.
Prior to 2011, Nigeria loses 66% of its agricultural produce just from the farm to the market. The entire value and supply chain wasn’t seamless. Dr. Adesina, the man at the helm of affairs adopted and implemented strategies that were sine qua non to sustainable development.

For instance, the Nigerian fertilizer distribution chain was reeking with corruption prior to his arrival. The real beneficiaries, the farmers have been constantly force-fed with a constant diet of half-truths and whole lies regarding the status of their fertilizer needs. The real case scenario at the point was that the elites where diverting the subsidized or near-free fertilizers into the commercial markets.

As soon as this gaping hole was closed, agricultural output in 2012 had an increase of 42% and was the highest contributor to the GDP only after the Petroleum Ministry. That’s the power a maverick wields in making developmental agendas work. For development to have a place of permanence in our polity, those in the position of authority like this must stick to be transformational and not transactional leaders.

The reform for development in key areas is imperative and long overdue and I’m of the opinion that we consistently need to drive ourselves towards perfection. The key policy wonks must put the qualified people at the right places so we would hasten up the pace of development and make our society become that last best hope, for all those who are called to the cause of freedom, who yearn for a life of peace and who want a better future.

As we approach 2015, it’s propitious of us to revisit the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which is an acceptable international benchmark of development and ask ourselves stern questions on what we did right and where we went wrong for progress to be entrenched. There sure wouldn’t be development without the people and this would in turn make the citizens of the country regain believe in themselves, putting away the complexes of the years of denigration and self-abasement. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

MY Projects at SYSPERA for 2012

2012 is already 38 days old and I'm just updating my blog. It's quite a very unique year at least in the country of my business incorporation, Nigeria and in the world as a world.

Fiscal projections are not very encouraging. Jobs are being slashed off. People are laid off. My own take is that content is key. Since at SYSPERA, we aim to be Africa's foremost IT and Management Consulting firm, we are consistently innovating for the future and for the present.

Here's a peek- view of our 2012 calendar:







 Other projects and collaborations are already in the pipeline. Just stay updated by following me on Twitter @UbongUdoh or finding me on Facebook Ubong KINGSLEY-UDOH.

Wishing my esteem readers a successful 2012 ahead!

Friday, February 18, 2011

CLOUD COMPUTING – LATEST BUZZWORD OR A GLIMPSE OF THE FUTURE?

Cloud Computing has steadily been growing in popularity in the IT industry since early 2007. In non technical terms, I would define a CLOUD as a (C)OMMON (L)OCATION- INDEPENDENT (O)NLINE (U)TILITY on (D)EMAND SERVICE.

In recent times, I’ve been engaged in discussions on Social Networks most especially on Facebook as regards Cloud Computing because I’ve been a cloud evangelist a little over a year now and I’m dismayed by the pessimism a lot of Nigerian techies posit in these discusses.

First and foremost, there have been myriad variations on the definition of the Cloud. Everyone has a different perspective and understanding of the technology and the misconceptions surrounding the subject matter was obvious when Steven Ballmer, Microsoft CEO had problems communicating his company’s cloud strategy & infrastructure, Microsoft Windows Azure to a select group of C-level executives last November.

The vagueness surrounding this ‘phenomenon’ is largely attributed to what I call the ‘hype cycle’. Since February 2007, Cloud Computing has been a buzzword for enterprises and Governments that are looking forward to saving costs and reducing their energy usage and carbon footprints.

For my non techie audience, Cloud Computing is basically an outsourced, pay-as-you-go, on-demand and a somewhere on the internet experience that is always offered as a service. Even if you are not a good technology adopter or in technical parlance a ‘digital immigrant’, you would be surprised at how much you interface with the ‘Cloud’.

The mobile phones we possess, the email addresses (Yahoo!, Windows Hotmail, Google Mail etc) we have, the Instant Messengers (Blackberry Messenger, Yahoo, Windows Live, Nimbuzz, Meebo, 2GO, eBuddy etc) we use to communicate on the go are typical examples of Cloud Computing services.

It’s as a result of the fact that the physical layer of the OSI (Open Systems Interconnect) model has been abstracted. In plain sense for instance, it means an Airtel subscriber should not be concerned about where the server serving him/her is located but his/her focus should be geared towards the service that’s been delivered.

Neither should a Gmail user bother about where Google server is located because it’s completely unimportant. This generation is a serviced generation. Everything is now been offered as a service and the benefits of being serviced is too indispensable to avoid.

From a technical perspective, Cloud Computing is divided into 3 major tiers namely:

1. Software as a Service (SaaS): This is basically what everyone already has in form of Gmail, Yahoo! Mail, Wordpress, the various search engines, wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter etc.
2. Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS): This is an offering Amazon pioneered as the grand-daddy with the Elastic Compute 2 (EC2). Developers and system administrators obtain general compute, storage, queuing, and other resources and run their applications with the fewest limitations. This is the most powerful type of cloud in that virtually any application and any configuration that is fit for the internet can be mapped to this type of service. Microsoft’s Cloud Infrastructure is known as Windows Azure.
3. Platform as a Service (PaaS): This is the newest entry where an application platform is offered to developers in the cloud. Developers write their application to a more or less open specification and then upload their code into the cloud.

Highlighting all of these, the benefits of Cloud Computing to enterprises, individuals and Governments cannot be over-emphasized. Cloud Computing in every facet frees up budgets handcuffed by IT expenses. Instead of purchasing software licenses for new employees and locations, businesses simply add accounts to expand computing capacity.

Governments would benefit from it because it pools all disparate sectors as a whole and it would ensure openness, accountability and prudence. For instance, the Nigerian Government can create a cloud where citizens pay their tenement, water and electricity bills on a central platform. The Nigerian Police Force can create a Cloud Infrastructure we would name in this instance, The Nigeria Intellipedia® that would have sub cloud systems like The Police Reporting Software® which advertently takes away statements from being on paper to a central database and makes crime management a less cumbersome issue.

In moving with the times and trends, some young Nigerian entrepreneurs are creating overtly ambitious private Cloud infrastructures which is beginning to generate positive ripples. First is the Naija Info Bank ® which when completed would be the largest Human Resources database in Sub-Saharan Africa with a capacity of over 80 million users and secondly www.traffic.com.ng which is still in its Beta Phase and after completion would offer descriptive traffic report with GPS Coordinates of every nook and cranny of Nigeria. All you have to do as an end-user is to plug into the cloud and enjoy these services.

The odds are good that within the next five years, the popularity of Cloud Computing within the enterprise and government would grow significantly. Yet Cloud Computing alone is not the answer. The key to achieving great success is for enterprises and governments to use efficient software to integrate their existing on- premises infrastructure with the Cloud.

For a more detailed understanding of Cloud Computing, sign up for the largest Cloud Computing event in Africa this Summer in Lagos, Nigeria and secure your company and agency’s future in the Cloud at The African Summer School on Cloud Computing, Cloud Identity and Virtualization Technologies on www.SSWorldSeries.com

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Diaspora vs. Facebook: The Anti-Privacy War Begins

With the recent issue trending on the web over privacy, the open source social media, Diaspora that was founded by four students Dan Grippi, Michael Salzberg, Raphael Sofaer and Ilya Zhitomirskiy in mid 2010 with freshly minted University Diplomas from New York University has issued out its developer’s release on their website (www.joindiaspora.com)
It’s coming at a time when Facebook is facing serious criticisms from its users’. The over 500 million users’ behemoth has faltered on issues pertaining to privacy and Diaspora, a ‘rebel’ social networking platform is offering a breath of fresh air in that regards. The anti-Facebook social networking site to be, last week unveiled some more details about what their project will look like. Features so far include the ability to share photos enjoy a degree of encrypted traffic, and in the near future-hopefully data portability and Facebook integration. According to Nicole Ferraro of Internet Evolution, “The heavy focus for Diaspora, seems to be on community for a couple of reasons. First, it’s an open source project and second, Diaspora is supposed to be all about the user”.
According to Diaspora’s Blog, “This is now a community project and development is open to anyone with the technical expertise who shares the vision of a social network that puts users in control “. It sounds very nice and I want it to go beyond rhetoric, but a lot of things sounds nice and in writing this, I can’t but think on what it’s claiming to be according to Nicole Ferraro, “is sort of an idealized version of a social network from a consumer perspective”.
Reactions have been generated across the web with Social Media enthusiasts airing their views about the new phenomenon. A Web Developer, Arnold Kurtz says “If Diaspora really wants to gain interest by ‘elitists’, they should start out their system by ‘invitation only’. Make some sort of public announcement that they only want the world’s best and brightest. Who would resist an invitation like that little ego booster? Then to keep the illusion of exclusivity alive, they would reject people who were invited by friends and have an appeals process to let them in anyway-sort of how the Hippie communes with their recruited convents in the 60’s”.
Realistically, from a Web Developer viewpoint, the pre-alpha code is so insecure and a lot of security researchers have criticized it too. This is nicely summed up in an article by PC Magazine. Diaspora might have users’ best intentions at heart, but it may also be trying to fix something that is working too well.

Ubong Udoh
Chief Executive Officer, SYSPERA
+234 (0) 704 119 06 64
udoh.ubong@syspera.com
www.syspera.com
Follow me on Twitter on: www.twitter.com/ubongudoh