THE VISION BEHIND THE PROPOSED BILL FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE INSTITUTE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY IN IWO OSUN STATE
Being an address by Senator Adelere Adeyemi Oriolowo FNSE; IDPM at the Public Hearing on a Bill for the Establishment of the Institute of Information and Communication Technology in Iwo Osun State held on Thursday, December 16th, 2021 at the Senate Hearing Room 1, New Senate Building, National Assembly Complex, Abuja.
The Chairman of this occasion and President of the Senate, Senator (Dr.) Ahmed Lawan, Ph.D,
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Information and Communication Technology, Distinguished Senator Yakubu Oseni, representing the wonderful people of Kogi Central, whose effort in making today’s public hearing possible cannot be considered minor.
Distinguished members, Senate Committee on ICT,
Honourable members of the House of Representative present,
Royal fathers, my Leaders and elders from Iwo and other constituencies of Osun West Senatorial District,
Dignitaries of Osun State and indigenes resident in Abuja,
Religious leaders, political associates and members of the Press,
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
The processes leading to our gathering here today started on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2020 when this bill was read in the hallowed chambers of the Senate for the first time.
On July 7th, 2021, this bill crossed the second huddle when it was read for the second time, and a lead debate was presented on the floor of the hallowed chamber of the senate.
And in compliance with the legislative procedure, we are here for the Public Hearing that will eventually make the bill an Act of the Parliament.
I, Adelere Adeyemi oriolowo, the Senator representing the good people of Osun West Senatorial District is proud to be the sponsor of this bill.
The importance of Information and Communication Technology and the Media in nation building is not in doubt. It is a veritable avenue for both economic and social cultural channels of development especially in a democracy which is about discussion and about trust. Probably this is why Thomas Jefferson, a former President of United States of America stated that he will prefer a state without a President than a State without a Press.
Amongst others, Information Technology helps us to understand the workings of our immediate world and individual places in it. Social Media which is an integral part of ICT are major sources of modern culture and entertainment and it require us to learn and use critical thinking skills.
Like language, ICT helps define how we communicate with each other. Like science, ICT help us to learn proficiency by adopting the leading edge of modern technological innovation. Like business, ICT are major industries and are inextricably involved in commerce. Like environmental studies, ICT are as big a part of our everyday environment as are trees, mountains, rivers, cities and ocean. Like philosophy, ICT interpret our world, its values and ideas to us. Like psychology, ICT helps us understand ourselves and others.
“ICT provide children and adults with a tremendous source of knowledge, a wide range of stimulating experiences in culture, in fantasy, in sport… Never have human beings been able to be so well informed with so little effort on their own part” – Kelvin B. Caravan, Life in the Media Age.
IMPORTANCE OF INFORMATION AND COMMUNICATION TECHNOLOGY/ MEDIA IN NIGERIA
As important as the roles of information and communication technology as well as the media could be as enunciated above, In Nigeria there are just two major schools of Journalism which are basically for both print and electronic media.
The Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), which is the premier Institution in Journalism mainly for print media and communication based in Lagos, was established in 1963 by the International Press Institute(IPI), and it is currently being run as Non-for-Profit organization and owned and operated by the professional Association in the Media Industry, News Paper Proprietor Association of Nigeria, the Nigerian Guild of Editors, The Nigerian Union of Journalists, News Agency of Nigeria, Broadcasting Organization of Nigeria, Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria and the Nigerian Institute of Public Relation of Nigeria;
While the second one, the NTA Television College based in Jos, Plateau State is for the training of electronics and media broadcasters.
Although, there are a few other private media institutes spread across the country, their capacity to adequately meet the needs of this “Fourth Estate of the Realm” of the society in this modern age is in doubt. However, on a more serious note, distinguished listeners and gentlemen, the issue of communication in a democracy such as ours should not be trivially handled anymore. This is a time the Government should be deliberate and that a vigorous National Communication thrust is needed to meet the growing demand of technology transformation and innovation in the context of our democratic experience. This is because ICT and the Social Media are at the very core of learning. Information Technology knowledge represents power that should not be trivialized.
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE SPECIALISED FEDERAL ICT/ MEDIA INSTITUTE
The Institute when established will carry out scientific and applied research in the area of modern information technology application to optimize processes and decision support systems. And also provide dynamic learning infrastructure with quality education through rigorous teaching and research methodologies in Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). The Institute will provide academic programs with quality curricula focus to forge professionals, experts and scholars in the field of Information Technology, Communication, Electronics, Software Engineering and Telemedicine.
Furthermore, the Institute will aim at fostering such values amongst its academia, undergraduates and graduate scholars, and ensuring a place of pride for our teeming youths in the world of learning. If this Bill is passed and the Institute established will be a pioneer institute with its mission to impart cutting edge technological education for all Nigerians similar to institutions alike in meeting the world demand.
It will provide platforms for modelling, design and control of processes and systems, create single and multi-objective optimization models, group decision making models, desktop and Web-based software systems for information processing, optimization and decision support. It will enable for research and studies to enhance modelling and optimization for automobile breakthroughs, renewable energy sources and for night vision devices.
The retail marketing business model will also be part of the Institute’s academic curriculum where processes for optimal job-shop scheduling, and e-transactions skills will be learned. The Institution will be a centre of excellence for creation methods and software tools for e-learning and e-testing, including Web-based applications and Web design.
In today’s society, we own smart phones, iPads, computers, and many other forms of technology as means of communication. Our trading system is been transformed technologically and enhancing financial inclusion. So for example, online shops are platforms for buying and selling various products and services, screens are used to communicate train/bus/ flight schedules to passengers and Data are warehoused for survey and research for numerous purposes.
Technology is extremely important in the workplace as a means of communication; today businesses rely on it heavily. Technology allows many businesses to expand more quickly by having the proper means to promote. It is trending now that all businesses have social network websites that would enable service delivery and giving updates to their customers.
The advanced business world also use video conferencing and virtual meetings for effective and efficient service delivery, as it reduces waste in spending on travels and time management which has essentially reduced limitations that were previously set in the business world. Job opportunities are also created in companies due to Information Communication Technology (ICT).
It is therefore of vital importance that there is adequate access to ICT and the necessary skills, taking full advantage of the learning capabilities that ICT offers.
Globally, applications of ICT are making dramatic changes in economic and social development. These changes does not generally mean an increase in the number of computers appearing in homes, work places and schools but a change in the foundations of economic growth and its relationship to human capital.
UNESCO’s International Commission on Education for the 21st century makes it clear that learning is a treasure within and that there is the need to develop learning society, of which education has a key role to play in achieving this. The institution is definitely going to play a key role in the training of journalists and media practitioners in the emerging global issues of climate change, natural disaters resulting from climate changes, pandemics (i.e. COVID 19 and its variants) and insecurities/insurgencies around the world.
With these many countries developed policies for utilizing the potentials of ICT in education and our beloved country should not be left out.
It is in view of the foregoing that this Bill which seeks for an Act to establish the Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Iwo, Osun State and for other matters connected therewith is sought to be passed into law.
Another justification for the siting of this institute in Iwo is the presence of a gigantic moribund reality television facility in Osun State, which was built by the defunct Oyo State government under the administration of Chief Bola Ige, the then Governor who established what was supposed to be a unique Digital Television Station of the newly created Osun State caved out the old Oyo State in 1982 and which was to be all encompassing including facilities meant for this type of institute being canvassed for now.
The State Government in principle has agreed to let go of the station if the Federal Government is ready to take the facility over for the benefit of Nigerians. Also for almost a similar reason, we could recollect the takeover of the Western Nigerian Television station in Ibadan by the Federal Government in 1977 and subsequently other Television Stations which made the NTA today. Therefore, taking over of State owned facility will not be new.
It is therefore logical, relevant and patriotic that such a facility of the Reality Television Station be upgraded and remodelled to meet this task as a specialized training and retraining on Information and Communication Technology as well as serving as a Media Institute well-equipped by the federal government for such an important socio-economic developmental subtle channels amongst others, without removing the broadcasting services which is being scantly used for now.
Mr. Chairman, my distinguished ladies and gentlemen,
I strongly belief that if this Institute is established, it would provide a learning field for which experts in ICT would be produced which would indubitably be beneficial to our beloved country because operating in an ICT world would become even easier.
Some of our Universities and Polytechnics might have produced graduating students in Computer Science and ICT related courses but the curriculum of the proposed Institute is entirely ICT with the sole aim of producing experts in ICT related fields of study.
This institute will however, create mechanism for providing more scholarly approach to ICT in Nigeria and the emergence of more experts in this field in our great country, Nigeria.
ICT is the trending best practice the world over, and an institute specially designated for this purpose should be a welcome development.
My special thanks go to the President of the Senate, Dr. Ahmed Lawan for his good leadership. I also thank my Distinguished colleagues of the 9th Senate for your support and good understanding.
I cannot forget to thank members of this committee ably led by my friend, Distinguished Senator Yakubu Oseni for making today a reality.
And to my constituents and good people of Osun West Senatorial District, i so much thank you for coming and giving me the audience. I sincerely appreciate everyone for sparing time and listening to me.
May God guide and protect everyone of you as you journey back to your respective destinations.
Thank you, e kaabo o o……….