The Vice Chancellor, University of Lagos, Prof. Oluwatoyin Ogundipe, has described provision of an Information Technology (IT) hub building to the institution, by the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), as timely and laudable.
Ogundipe was speaking after virtual simultaneous inauguration of six NITDA IT hub buildings in some parts of the country.
The inauguration was done by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ibrahim Patani, on Thursday.
It was reported that the NITDA knowledge centres were deployed in Enugu, University of Lagos, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and three other places in Kaduna and Katsina states.
The hub is a solar-powered IT centre equipped with computers, internet connectivity and tools designed to create a platform where technology, business, innovation and entrepreneurship are nurtured.
They are also equipped with networking and computing devices to support complete state-of-the-art Printed Circuit Board (PCB) production machines.
According to the vice chancellor, skills development, Innovation, research and business promotion will be accelerated among students with the aid of the hub.
He said that with the intervention, greater things were set to happen in the university, including its ranking.
”I want to appreciate this gift from NITDA under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy as it falls into our vision for the university and the students,” he said.
He also said that it would expose students in the area of digital economy.
”We have been talking about entrepreneurship, innovation and skills development; this intervention fits perfectly into that vision.
“It is a good thing that the building is located very close to our entrepreneurship centre and innovation hub. You can see that it is actually blending into the system.
“We are going to look at the possibility of making maximum use of the facility by having huts where people can sit and have their start-off spaces to commence their own little businesses in the area of Innovation.
”I want to say that the commissioning of this facility is timely and good for the university as a whole,” he added.
Ogundipe explained that with the three centres (entrepreneurship, innovation and now the IT) blending together, the institution would develop its students better and get them ready to be globally competitive.
”We expect our students to come up with ideas that can migrate into entrepreneurship, and the university will register companies for them.
”We also have facilities from the Bank of Industry, give grants to students to start their own businesses.
“Right now, in Nigeria, we are talking about emerging economy. We are moving along that line.
”If you look at the ranking of this university now, it is ranked number one in the country and eighth in Africa but in the area of emerging economy, that is entrepreneurship for students, we are ranked third.
”This facility will assist us in building on what we already have and definitely affect the visibility of the students in entrepreneurship and skills development as well as the institution at the local and international levels.”
According to the don, the centre will be used maximally and given 100 per cent sustainability attention.
He said the whole essence of the intervention was to maximise its use for greater benefits for the generality of mankind.
”I want to assure you that in a year’s time, by the time you come to this place, you will be seeing students and staff coming out of this place starting their own businesses and making the university and the country proud.
”I sincerely thank President Muhammadu Buhari for his foresight, and I know that he will be proud that the institution is making his vision for the country to be a reality,” he said.
The NITDA’s Director, Media and Publicity, Hajia Hadiza Umar, told NAN on telephone that the main objective of the hubs was to improve digital inclusion.
According to her, there is an urgent need for all citizens to be digital literate and have access to IT, irrespective of their places of domicile.
”We have taken these hubs to local communities too, in order to expose citizens there to IT easily.
”These hubs will also assist our children to register for public examinations such as WASSCE and others seamlessly, rather than going to places far away from their homes to do such registration, aside using it for research or incubating ideas,” she said.