The importance of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to the growth and sustainable development of any organisation particularly educational institutions can not be overemphasized.
To achieve the vision of transforming FUL into a 21st Century University driven by ICT which can only be guaranteed by constant availability of high-quality internet connectivity, concerted efforts must be made in investing massively in technological infrastructure and cutting-edge solutions that would drive all aspects of teaching, learning, and research/innovations.
In his inauguration address in February 2021, the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Olayemi Akinwumi, did not mince words when he announced to the entire University Community and the mammoth crowd that witnessed the historic event, that his Administration would ensure that ICT drives all the operations of the University. And without any iota of doubt, this world-class Administrator has been pursuing this key ingredient of his Vision Plan with absolute commitment and doggedness, and with the unflinching support of his Management Team.
On several occasions, the Vice-Chancellor has, during the weekly meetings of the Principal Officers Committee (POC), invited the Director of ICT and his team of staff to brief the University Management on the efforts made so far, and sometimes made PowerPoint presentations on possible ways of repositioning the Directorate for optimum service delivery as well as addressing some of the underlying challenges.
Notably, a couple of weeks ago, based on the VC's request, the Management of the Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) sent a team of experts to visit the University and make a presentation before the POC in the area of providing high-quality uninterrupted broadband Internet connectivity through optical fiber at the Permanent Site, among other exciting solutions to be deployed. Following the success of their presentation, the VC further directed that the team interface with the University ICT team led by the Director to discuss and harmonize the specific needs.
Similarly, on 21st September, 2022, the Vice-Chancellor led other Principal Officers on a collaborative visit to Professor Muhammad Abubakar, MD/CEO of Nigeria's Giant Tech Company - Galaxy Backbone Limited where they had a far-reaching discussion on how the company can partner with FUL to achieve its goal of all-round ICT development. During the meeting in Abuja, members of Management were conducted around some of the company's leading-edge facilities, including its Network Management and Tier III Data Centers. Meanwhile, other efforts and collaborations are being made with the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA).
It is therefore interesting to note that some of these partnerships and the priority accorded to this important sector, among other imperceptible efforts being made, have started yielding some positive results as the Director of ICT, Professor Sunday Eric Adewumi recently announced the deployment of high-speed wireless internet cloud at the University's College of Health Sciences, Adankolo Campus.
In a memo communicated to the Vice-Chancellor, the ICT Director stated that he was happy to report that the Internet deployment by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) through INTERWEB has been activated successfully, this means that members of staff and students at the Adankolo Campus can now enjoy steady internet access provided they are registered on the Hotspot.
The Director, who is also now the acting HOD of Computer Science, further advised staff to visit the ICT Center to register on the Hotspot to enjoy the Internet services. He equally directed that the fiber nodes feeding the former Admin block, Faculty of Science, and former Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences be powered on by staff in those offices for unhindered access to the network.
It is hoped that many of these conscientious efforts would produce more positive outcomes soon. In addition, the urgent deployment of high-speed internet connectivity at the Permanent Site has become imperative, while more frantic efforts and investment in the necessary infrastructure are still required for worthwhile ICT development in the University.
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