Saturday, May 19, 2007

My Message on World Information Society Day 2007

This is the email I sent to friends on the World Information Society Day 2007

May 17 of every year has been declared as the World Information Society Day by the United Nations. May be due to work committment, I do not know of any local event in Nigeria to mark the day this year but knew of two last year and took part in one. There was a mentorship roundtable where 20 Nigerian youths were selected to a mentorship session with senior professionals. One of them flew in from UK to make the event.

Today, I will like to share with you some of two of the things that has filled my thoughts and I am working on. We, as technical people, live in a society whose dynamics we must be conversant with. Time has gone for youths and those in early part of their careers to complain of marginalisation. There exist many opportunities for youths to use their career as a pedestal to contribute to the development of their society.

I share with you below two of the things I am connected with hoping to kick start an intellectual discussion on these.

1. The Internet Governance Process

The issue of Internet Governance, which you can understand as how and who should govern the internet, dominated discussions during the completed World Summit on Information Society. This has led to the birth of a separate process termed the Internet Governance Forum. The first of these forum was held in Greece last year and one is billed for Brazil this year. The forum will still be held next year and up to 2010.

As the Information Society has always acknowledged, the youths are taking a very active part in this process. Come to think of it, they will actually implement and bear the outcome. Youths' participation are in diverse ways through online and physical meetings. The first of those online discussion on the subject by youths was held from Nov 26 - Dec 16, 2006. Apart from my personal contribution to the discussion, I also fed outcome of the IG Workshop we had during our Young Expert Forum last December into the discussion as a body.

The IG process is ongoing and you can decide to build your capacity on the topic and contribute whenever the opportunity arise. At the IGF 2006, there was a session designated to Emerging Issues", which wad led by youths.

Here is a link to download a material which can enlighten you on the subject . If you have anything you will like to contribute, please lets discuss and harmonise our thoughts. I am sure there will be an opportunity for us to contribute to the process in due course.

2. Technology and the MDG

World Leaders in the year 2000 adopted a set of goals, christened as Millennium Development Goals, that are supposed to be accomplished by the year 2015. This year marks the middle of the set deadline and attention are on appraising what has been achieved in the last seven years and projecting into the future.

Please visit to learn more about the MDG.

I think technology has a lot to play in the realisation of the MDG. I am doing a work on this and will like us to also engage each other if you have specific ways you feel technology can aid the MDG. My bias is ICT but it will be great to have people from other technological field to work with.

As we continue to make effort to develop ourselves, I am sure our preparation will always meet with opportunity.

Once again, Happy World Information Society Day.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Invitation to Live Webcast of The 2007 IET Young Professionals Event in Nigeria

The Institution of Engineering and Technology
Nigeria Younger Members' Network


The 2007 Young Professionals Event

Game Over...? The Future of Gaming
Speaker: Mike Froggatt, Principal Programmer, Sony Computer Entertainment, Europe

Watch This International Event Live and Interact with the UK Auidence. This event will be screened at two venues in Nigeria

1. The Cybercafe, Petroleum Training Institute, Warri
2. AfriHUB ICT Park, University of Nigeria Enugu Campus, Enugu
Date: Tuesday May 8 2007
Time: 5:30 p.m

About the Event
In March 2007, Sony released their long awaited next-generation games console, the PlayStation 3, joining the Wii and the Xbox 360 in the battle to become king of the consoles.

The IET are excited to announce that Mike Froggatt, Principal Programmer for Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, will be talking about Next Generation Gaming and the technology behind the PlayStation 3. There will be live demonstrations of the PS3 along with an opportunity to ask the speaker any question and interact with the UK audience. This is the perfect opportunity to find out more about the new PlayStation 3 and current gaming technology.

About the Speaker
Mike Froggatt is a Principal Programmer at Sony Computer Entertainment Europe's Cambridge Studio where he is currently developing software for the PlayStation®3. Having started at the Cambridge Studio in the Tools and Technologies group, he subsequently worked on projects for PlayStation®, PlayStation®2 and PlayStation®Portable in both technical and managerial capacities. Prior to this he was a programmer at Millennium Interactive, developing games software for the for Commodore Amiga and PC platforms. He has a Ph.D. in semiconductor devices and materials and a master's degree in electrical and information sciences, both from Cambridge University. He is a member of the IET, the IEEE and the ACM.

About The IET
The Institution of Engineering and Technology was formed by the Institution of Electrical Engineers (IEE) and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers (IIE) and now has more than 150,000 members worldwide. It is the largest professional engineering society in Europe and the second largest of its type in the world. The IET, among many other roles,
· represent the profession of electrical, electronic, manufacturing and systems engineering and related sciences
· awards scholarships, grants and prizes
· provide an extensive range of lectures, meetings, conferences, seminars, residential vacation schools and publications
· offer guidance on best practice in professional development, and provide details of potential professional development activities
· provide business and technical information on electrical, electronic, IT and manufacturing subjects

Please confirm your participation by sending a sms to 0805 531 3716 or 0805 747 0562 or email or

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

My Presentation at the African E-Governance Forum 2007

Understanding how African Youths are Engaging in E-Governance and Influencing its Future: What have been the major barriers to success and how can other African countries best utilize the Nigerian experience

I got to the venue of the event on the third day to discover that my presentation have been moved up the agenda. From the initial agenda, I was to be the last speaker at the conference. The new schedule meant I will come up much earlier than I had prepared for. Thus, I started the normal mental preparedness towards my presentation.

My session was chaired by Mrs. Dorothy K. Gordon, Director General, Ghana-India Kofi Annan Center of Excellence in ICT and also has other tow young speakers. The first was Mr. Saqib Nazir, CEO of CIS Ghana while the second was the other youth speaker, Nii Kpakpo Sylvester from Leadership Strategic Africa. Saqib was the first to make his presentation which exposed the latest technology that is available for enhancing democracy in Africa. Then came my turn.

As a build up to my presentation, I had hosted a questionnaire online at to get inputs from African youths from different parts of the world on each of the points I wanted to speak on. The response to the questionnaire had been good. I opened with the definition and goals of E-Governance. The other issues of E-Governance I spoke on were Skill and Capacity Building, Transparency and Access to Information, Access to Public Services, Challenges of E-Governance and how African youths are prepared to influence its future. In between these, I also paid tribute to African youths who, despite the challenges they face are still willing to contribute to the development of the continent. I also had the opportunity of showcasing my works in the IET Nigeria Younger Members Network (, AfriHUB ( and Peer eNeRGy ( to the audience.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The First Two Days at the African E-Governance Forum 2007

It seems to me that the day breaks much earlier in Ghana than Nigeria. It was some minutes to six in the morning by my time but looking out of the window revealed that the day was already bright and by some minutes past six, the morning sun was coming out. I had to jump out of the bed to confirm the time from the receptionist. This was another surprise and the first for the day.

Bright was my first visitor as he came to take me to their house before I started leaving for the venue of the event. I also remembered I did not pick some documents I needed from Nigeria and thus had to quickly use the internet to print out some documents from my email box.

I chartered a cab to take us directly to the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, venue of the event. We spent about an hour in the hold-up which immediately brought back the memories of home, especially Lagos to me.

I got to the venue about an hour behind schedule but discovered that the event has not started as the Ghanaian Vice-President, expected to open the event, was still being expected.

After about 30 minutes, we were all informed of his arrival and had to stand up to welcome him. He came with the Minister for Communication and a High Chief who eventually chaired the opening session.

Alhaji Aliu Mahama, Ghanaian Vice-President, while delivering his opening speech called for the early implementation of Africa’s broadband infrastructure program so as to facilitate the continent’s development with the use of ICT. He noted that E-Governance offers African countries an opportunity to step-up their industrial development and transform their economies into service-driven and high value-added information economies able to compete in the global market.

Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, the CEO of the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation, in his own welcome address gave a critical overview and objectives of E-Governance. While noting that without good governance, the “e” in e-governance is useless, he stressed the importance and continuous relevance of old ICTs such as radio in ensuring the interaction between government, its agencies and the citizens.

Over the three days event, the different presentations showcased best practices of successful e-government initiatives from different parts of the world and also strategised on how African countries can tap into its potentials.

One of the projects showcased was the Ghana Community Network Services (GCNet), a public private partnership initiative between the government of Ghana and other partners, which has made the inspection of goods at the different ports in Ghana and its clearance much easier. This has reduced the time it takes to clear goods at the port and has also led to increased revenue for the government. This is one of the examples of successful e-governance projects in the world.

Another project was the Canadian e-Government initiative. Mr. Jacques Bouchard, Senior Policy Advisor, Canadian e-Policy Resource Center, noted the enthusiasm and commitment of the Canadian government to see that the initiative succeeds. This he said was very important during the implementation of the project. He shared the lessons and challenges of the project with all the participants.

Another project was e-Macao Project which was an example used by Dr. Tomaz Janowski, Head, Center for Electronic Governance, United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology, during his presentation titled “Building a Foundation for Sustainable Electronic Government: From Experience, to Lessons, to a Framework.” The project had a two-year timeline to establish a good foundation for Electronic Government development in Macao through readiness assessment, software research and development and technology training of the government IT staff. The implementation was divided into five phases of Survey (assess the readiness for e-government, Development (develop e-government systems), Dissemination (raise awareness, transfer project experience), Training (build capacity for government workforce) and Research (conduct e-government research and problem-solving) with the deadline for the project met.

One very interesting thing to note after all the sessions was the rate of feedbacks and discussions. Most of the time, the Chair of each session had to cut these short in order to keep to the time limit of each of the sessions. This is an indication that the participants were following the presenters and are eager to contribute ideas that will lead to the e-development of the continent. This is also an indicator that a future edition of the event is necessary to evaluate the progress made from the outcome of this particular edition.

Monday, April 09, 2007

26 March 2007 – The Journey to Ghana

I woke up very early to prepare for the journey ahead but behold just some minutes to the time I intended to step out, it started to rain very heavily that I was scared I would not be able to go out after all. However, the heavy rain subsided and turned to light shower. I went out amidst this and found my way to the park.

Getting to the park, I realized I was among the first set of people to get there probably due to the rain. After a very short time, we started the formalities of checking in and about 30 minutes later, we were all on-board the bus to Accra. I opted to go by road after I was told I will pass through other two African countries before getting to Ghana. I love to visit places and I felt this will be an opportunity to see those countries.

While welcoming us on board, the hostess had informed us we will pass through three different borders before getting to Accra and gave us what I termed the “rules of engagement”. The first border we got to was the Seme Border, which is the border between Nigeria and the Republic of Benin. The hostess, who had collected all our traveling documents, went down for the normal immigration bureaucracies. Our passports were stamped for leaving Nigeria and entering Benin at this place. However, we spent more than an hour at this border. Later, we learnt the Benin Immigration authorities had told her to make the photocopies of the data pages of all our passports and submit this but there was no electricity supply at that moment so she had to find a way around this which took quite long. I don’t know whether to blame the authorities in charge of electricity supply in Benin Republic or Nigeria for this.

The ride through the Republic of Benin was very smooth and impressive. The roads were wider and cleaner than I could have imagined of the small West African country. After a long ride again, we came to the next border, the La Condji Border between the Repbulic of Benin and Togo. We had been told we will all come down from the bus and pass through the border on foot with our ticket while the hostess handle the stamping of our passports. We had also been told we will have the opportunity to change the Naira to Cedi at this border, all within fifteen minutes. The funny aspect of changing my currency was the amount it came to in Cedi. I was surprised when the little amount I had was converted to millions of Cedi. After this, I proceeded to buy some souvenirs but was also surprised at the amount. They were either forty or fifty thousand cedi. This sounded like naira to me but after converting it to get the equivalent in Naira, it became another surprise. It then occurred to me that I will have to have a calculator with me for all my transactions on this journey. I didn’t buy as much as I would have loved to because of the many things I envisaged ahead of me.

After La Condji, we finally got to the last border, the Aflao Border between Togo and Ghana. Here we were delayed for about two hours and it was not funny to me that the second bus that left Lagos after us met and left us here. It was a very big relief when we were allowed to leave the border. The road from here to Accra was the roughest since the journey started and I feel such a road linking Ghana to Togo should have been in a better shape.

We got to Accra around 7pm and the process of getting down of the bus and getting our luggage did not take more than ten minutes. I had known I had to buy a SIM Card so I can be in touch with home and my hosts in Ghana. I later found out I paid more than three times the amount I had thought and was supposed to pay for this. However, it was an inevitable investment.

I had contacted three people in Accra to help arrange an accommodation for me with the hope of taking the best out of the three. However, I got another contact just a day to my departure who promised to meet me at the park. I started calling her but she did not pick her phone. I then called the second person who confirmed he had booked a room for me at a hotel not too far from the park. I got a cab to take me there after my friend had described the place to the driver on phone. Two of the people I met in the bus that took me to Accra also joined me after their initial arrangement did not work out. We were on the way to the hotel when my former contact called that she had sent someone to pick me up from the park. I had to drop from the cab and started a long but interesting walk to the park.

There, I met Bright who would prove a very good host and help throughout my stay. We left the park together and went to the hotel his mum had booked for me. It was quite more expensive than I thought but I had to settle for it as my host promised a better arrangement the following day.

I settled down and made some calls to Nigeria to inform them of my safe trip to Ghana. Later I ordered for food and had the first taste of the Ghanaian food before retiring to bed after an eventful day.

Speaking at the African E-Governance Forum

A very cool morning early March while I was at work, I got a call from the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation's office in London seeking my consent to be a speaker at the African E-Governance Forum that held from 27 - 29 March 2007 at the La Palm Royal Beach Hotel, Accra, Ghana.

I was also informed that we were only two youths from Africa that were invited to speak at the forum. After a little bit of further discussion, I consented to the request seeing it as another pedestal to showcase the abundant intellectual gifts of African youths. Over the next few days, we agreed on the topic of my presentation, format and duration.

The next few posts will feature how my journey and presentation at the Forum went.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Google Summer of Code - OpenMRS

Computer science students, need a summer job?
Have you ever imagined that writing code could save lives?
Why not apply to OpenMRS for the Google Summer of Code 2007?

* Help develop free, open source software
* Gain experience by working alongside experienced open source
* Earn a summer-long stipend so that you can focus on your work
* Make a difference in the world by helping in the fight against
HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria...

This summer, students around the world have the opportunity to
participate in an exciting collaboration between OpenMRS
( and Google, Inc. to further develop an open-source
medical record system that improves the care of patients with HIV/AIDS,
TB, and Malaria. The Google Summer of Code 2007 program provides
promising student software developers an opportunity to help these
vulnerable populations by spending their summer vacation writing new
code that will be used in countries throughout the developing world.

During this twelve week program, successful applicants will work
directly with assigned mentors to complete their choice of a variety of
focused development tasks laid out by the OpenMRS collaborative.
Interested? Visit or for more information. Applications are now
being accepted, the deadline for all submissions is March 24th, 2007.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Invitation to IET Nigeria Younger Members' Young Expert Forum 23 -24 March 2007

Date & Time: 23rd & 24th March,2007 10.00 daily
Venue: Top Rank Hotel, 1 Hill View, Plot C 20, Independence Layout, Enugu Nigeria
Cost: Free of Charge

Theme: Youths and The Challenges of the Knowledge Economy

The IET Nigeria Younger Members Networks ( hereby invite you to her Young Expert Forum.

The Young Expert Forum (YEF) is a quarterly program of The IET Nigeria Younger Members Network designed to build the capacities of her members in the fields of science, engineering and technology in line with the scope of The IET. The Forum also focuses on a technical matter of national and/or international interest, discuss this and make contributions to such processes. A general meeting of The IET Nigeria Younger Members Networks usually follows the YEF.

The event which is open to all, particularly welcomes friends, colleagues and allies in the field of engineering, information and communication technology, power, engineering management, science and physics.

Subsequent YEF will be organised in other regions of Nigeria .

Theme: Youths and The Challenges of the Knowledge Economy

Long before the turn of the millennium, it was very clear that its dynamics will be very different from those men are used to. The norms and theories upon which the old millennium thrived have now given way to new ones. Land, Labour and Capital are no longer the dominant factors of production but have been replaced with KNOWLEDGE and TECHNOLOGY.

As has been witnessed in the short span of this millennium, it is only those that are adequately prepared and empowered with the right technology that are able to cope and hold their heads in the knowledge economy. Ensuring that everyone, especially the youth, is adequately empowered to compete favorably in this new and still emerging economy is a challenge for everyone.

The 3rd Young Expert Forum will make the participants better equipped to face the challenges of this KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY noting in particular the opportunities and trends in technology.

Join the KNOWLEDGE NETWORK as it explores the challenges of the KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY!

Expected Participants:
IET Nigerian Younger Members made up of students, recent graduates and young professionals under the age of 30.
Non or Intending members
Anyone in the field of science, engineering and technology

Participation is Free but confirmation is necessary. Kindly confirm your
participation to 'Gbenga at or Tele: 234 805 747 0562 (SMS only)

We look forward to your participation.