CU Commissions Centre for e-Government, e-Business Research
The Chancellor of Covenant University, Ota, Ogun State, Dr. David Oyedepo, has officially commissioned the Covenant University Centre for e-Government and e-Business Research (CUCEER) sited on the institution’s premises.
CUCEER, according to the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Charles Ayo, who initiated the project, the Centre was established with a view to improving the quality of delivery on the part of governance, as well as improving the quality of wellbeing of the generality of the populace.
Dr. Oyedepo had in his speech at the commissioning ceremony, which followed the plenary session of the 2016 Covenant University Conference on e-Governance in Nigeria (CUCEN), underlined the need for Nigeria to take responsibility as no nation will take responsibility for the other.
“We need to recover our bravery, celebrate our freedom, reclaim our right to bring solution to our problems,” he said. “It is high brain that drives Information Technology (IT). IT can’t determine what you want to get, you are the one to find solution, and then technology will process it.”
While congratulating the Vice-Chancellor for initiating the IT Centre and driving it, the Chancellor emphasized that Nigeria and indeed Africa has the capacity to find solutions to its problems as “Covenant University has no foreign input in its funding or curriculum. Covenant University products are products of originality. We either find our way out or sink on the way through”.
Disclosing what influenced the decision to initiate the setting up of CUCEER, Professor Charles Ayo said universities are supposed to be at the forefront of socio political, economic and technological development of all nations.
“So, whatever issues we are facing as a nation today, could be seen to have arisen from the lack or dearth of quality contributions from the Ivory Tower. And so, Covenant University, since coming into existence, leadership is a component of what we are contributing and the Vision we are running with to be one of the top 10 universities in the world, we cannot continue to do what other universities are known of, which is a way of making our own contribution to the society at large.
“And that is why, taking a cue from the fact that as a continent there is overdependence on foreign solutions to our local problems, Covenant University says no,” said the Vice-Chancellor.
The objectives of the Research Centre, he said, includes engaging in research into all facets of e-government and e-business in theory or practice to provide policy recommendations for government in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa; to serve as a clearing house for information on development and innovations in e-government and e-business; to serve as a think-tank for industry, academia, civil society and government; and to provide a platform for the development and testing of new applications design, specifically for usage in e-government and e-business practices in Nigeria.
Covenant University, the Vice-Chancellor revealed, had commenced research in this area for too long a time and has an application ready in the area of e-Democracy. “With our e-democracy platform, we are able to engage individuals you have voted for by having this system run in selected local governments.”
The result of a research carried out by the Centre using e-Opinion Poll, Professor Ayo asserted, shows that government can fulfill its responsibilities to the people by interacting with them before taking major decisions.
He explained: “We have a system running on GSM, so we simply captured 80, 000 people and we paid for each number. So if we need millions, the amount we paid will run into millions. But for the sake of this commissioning exercise, we just bought 80, 000 lines, distributed across the north-south, east-west.
“We simply conducted opinion poll on what the Federal Government should use the recovered looted Nigerian funds for. About 60 percent of that population says use the recovered funds to build refineries and less than 20 percent saying repair our roads for us, and about 15 percent says build hospital.
“To me, as a nation, we are not ready to move forward. We are ready to simply import this technology. This is Covenant University; we are committed to rewriting history, thanks to our Chancellor who is committed to seeing this happen, while his usual parlance is ‘it needn’t be white to be right’.”
Professor Ayo invited the Federal Ministry of Communications to partner with Covenant University in the development of the institution’s product because, “there is no issue of concern to Nigerians, for which you need to obtain the feelers that this centre would not get for you in less than a day”.
The Director of Information Technology, Ministry of Communications, Mr. Tope Fasedemi, who represented the Minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu, at the event, described the establishment of the Research Centre as a welcome development. He promised to intimate the Minister about the technological milestones achieved by Covenant and the need for the ministry to partner with the institution.
“I can assure you that when I get back to Abuja, I will inform the Minister. The issue about ‘it doesn’t have to be white to be right’ is very apt. As a matter of fact, we have a policy on Nigerian content. We are happy that Covenant University is taking the lead and I will show him (the Minister) pictures, because he’s also passionate about our youths.
“The same energy our youths spent on Facebook, together with other social media, can be used in productive engagements and these are the types of things we are talking about. The Minister is also passionate about creating an IT university. I know when I go back and tell him what I saw at CU, I know he would be interested and willing to partner to make this thing a reality,” said Fasedemi.
Professor Charles Ayo, who expressed his appreciation to Diamond Bank Plc for believing in the innovation by donating a floor above the building housing its ATM Gallery for the Research Centre, said the facility is not servicing e-government and e-business alone, it is for any other research activity in the university.
The Centre is furnished with a giant size Smart TV, which is for lecturing, browsing and magic information; 48 smart Laptop Tablets used for classes; an Internet facility and Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) coverage
Also present at the commissioning ceremony were the Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Professor Taiwo Abioye and other management staff, Faculty members, the Chairman of Smart City Resort and Chams Plc, Sir Ademola Aladekomo; Group General Manager, Odenigbo FM Radio, Mr. Ime Ufot; Chairman, Mobile Software Solutions Limited, Dr. Chris Uwaje; representatives of Diamond Bank among others.
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