Information technology includes any equipment or interconnected system or subsystem of equipment that is used in the automatic acquisition, storage, manipulation, management, movement, control, display, switching, interchange, transmission or reception of data or information. Nigeria, like most developing countries, are growing in the information technology sector and the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) was saddled with the mandate of developing and regulating the Information Technology (IT) in Nigeria with its sole responsibility of developing programs that caters for the running of IT related activities in the country, also mandated with the implementation of policies guideline for driving IT in Nigeria.
Although, globalization which has, for centuries, developed through human migrations, trade and the dissemination of knowledge and culture, is nowadays propelled by the spectacular expansion of information technologies, the bedrock for national survival and development in a rapidly changing global environment challenges us to devise bold and courageous initiatives to address a host of vital socio-economic issues such as reliable infrastructure, skilled human resources, open government and other essential issues of capacity building.
And for the survival and relevance of higher education institutions in Nigeria, Information Technology should be declared an institutional priority with adequate funding and support, that the tremendous advancement in computer technology, software engineering and telecommunications as well as the resultant radical changes and advances in the techniques of data and information processing, storage, retrieval and dissemination in Nigeria within a decade is, no doubt, a revolution.
NITDA however promotes several smart city initiatives in Nigeria which received boosts, also launched initiatives designed to kick-start the drive towards using smart, scalable solutions that will be replicable nationwide to address a host of challenges including transportation, disaster response, energy, healthcare, education and the environment.
Information Technology policy built on reliable human resources and infrastructure constitutes the fundamental tool and means of assessing, planning, managing development change and for achieving sustainable growth. It is for this reason that every progressive country has a national IT policy and an implementation strategy to respond to the emerging global reality and thus avert becoming a victim of the digital divide.
A developing nation like Nigeria that aspires to participate effectively and become a key player in the emerging Information Age needs to have in place, a highly efficient Information Technology system driven by a vibrant national IT policy because Information Technology is the guarantee to a secure future and the application of IT should constitute an applications that introduce computing power to the industrial process, the use of digital techniques in communications, office automation including banking, micro-electronics in consumer products.
In Nigeria, IT has not occurred in any innovative, self-reliant way and advanced factory installations built in Nigeria frequently involve process computers as an integral part of the plant. Examples are found in the oil industry and in the iron and steel plants where their influence on indigenous technology had until recently been fairly limited. In the context of innovative and self-reliant uses of IT in Nigeria, the growth of information technology in Nigeria and the use of computers has been growing steadily in the public sector and government has from time to time made pronouncements on computers and related subjects.
The growing benefits of Information Technology so are far;
- Guarantee the country benefits maximally, and contributes meaningfully by providing the global solutions to the challenges of the Information Age
- Empower Nigerians to participate in software and IT development
- Encourage local production and manufacture of IT components in a competitive manner
- Improve accessibility to public administration for all citizens, bringing transparency to government processes.
- Establish and develop IT infrastructure and maximize its use nationwide
- Improve judicial procedures and enhance the dispensation of justice
In the aspect of library educational development in Nigeria and other developing countries, computers are essential tools in almost every field of research and applied technology, the introduction of microcomputers, microprocessors and computer combinations have made possible the development of library facilities especially in Nigerian universities and research institutions.
Most higher educational institutions in Nigeria even those with good Internet connectivity are still at the low level of the integration of IT into teaching, learning, research, library, information and managerial services and there is the need of professional development in the integration of information technology into education and learning for survival and relevance of these higher institutions. It should be declared an institutional priority with adequate funding and support because the lack of modern equipment in does not speak well to some extent, create networks to deliver courses through training centres and certified consultants by leading IT companies in Nigeria.
Article by Blessing Bassey