The Minister of Communications, Mr. Adebayo Shittu, has announced that the Ministry is planning to commence an ICT University of Nigeria by September 2017, if approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
The Minister disclosed this when he received the report of the Committee on ICT University Implementation. He said that the report would be studied and within three weeks, a memo would be raised for the approval of the FEC.
He also disclosed that he intends to recommend some of the Committee members to the FEC to be considered as Foundation Staff of the Proposed University, adding that recommendation would also be sent to the FEC to appreciate members of the Committee by issuing letters of recognition for their contribution.
The Minister said the choice of the Vice Chancellor would be based on professionalism, competence and entrepreneurial skill for which he would extend his search globally. He said any member of the Committee that is well qualified would be given first right of refusal.
The Chairman of the Committee and the immediate a former Executive Secretary of the Nigerian University Commission (NUC), Prof Julius Okojie, who submitted the Committee’s report said that his members were committed and did a painstaking job to meet up with the six weeks deadline given by the Minister and that they all looked at it as a national assignment.
The Minister inaugurated the Implementation Committee of the proposed ICT University of Nigeria on June 6, 2017. Prof. Okojie said part of the plan was that students could study from anywhere without being restricted by walls. He added that part of the recommendations was that the University would run a College System with three Colleges at inception namely Information Technology, Applied Technology, and Society and Security Technology.
On the funding of the University, the Minister said that it would be funded by a public–private partnership (PPP) arrangement of which the government’s part was to make the infrastructure available.
In line with this, the Minister commended Hewlett-Packard (HP) Nigeria for being on the forefront among international organisations to take the initiative of collaborating with the Ministry in the establishment of the ICT University of Nigeria, describing HP as an ‘end to end’ organisation and one of the Global leaders in ICT.
The Minister stated this during a meeting between the Ministry of Communications and officials of HP Nigeria who went to seek information on the areas in which HP Nigeria could collaborate with the Ministry in the development of the ICT University.
Shittu challenged HP Nigeria to prepare to adopt one of the campuses, focused on a specialized area and develop it to a Smart Campus for business interest, adding that his vision to open the ICT University was predicated upon his findings that most Nigerian ICT related graduates lacked skills.
The Minister urged HP to develop a business model and create areas of entrepreneurship which would ensure that graduates of the ICT University become self-employed. He advised the company to send in their proposals for consideration and a possible signing of a Memorandum of Understanding soon.
Chukwuma Okpaka, the Managing Director of HP Nigeria, said their visit was to inform the Minister of their willingness to collaborate on ICT capacity development and rollout with special interest in the proposed establishment of ICT University of Nigeria. He also said that his organisation was ready to venture into content and ICT infrastructure roadmap development for the regional institutions coupled with smart-campus roadmap development, rollout, and support; with special discount to the Ministry on purchases of Hewlett Packard Products and Services.