Apparently spurred by the vision, objectives and successes of policies, programmes and projects instituted by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to bridge the digital divide and encourage the youth to harness derivable benefits of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), the authority of the Fountain University, Osogbo (FUO), Osun State, has picked the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, to deliver 10th and 11th Convocation Lecture of the university.
On January 13, 2022, the university’s NASFAT Eti-Osa Lecture Theatre will host a joint Convocation Lecture titled “Empowering the Nigeria Youth Through Information and Communication Technology.” The event, which will take place at the center of the week-long convocation ceremony, is expected to attract prominent figures from government, industry, and academia.
Prof. Danbatta has worked with the Board, Management, and staff of the Commission to sustain and improve on the Commission’s mandates and associated vision focused on digital literacy and enhancing the capacity of young people, students, their teachers, and institutions to be active players in the emerging digital economy since his appointment as EVC/Chief Executive Officer by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2015.
The careful execution of the NCC’s School Support Programmes, which include the Digital Access Programme (DAP), Advanced Digital Appreciation Programme for Tertiary Institutions (ADAPTI), Wireless Cloud, and Computer-Based Test programs, is one method in which this objective has been realized. All of them are infrastructure projects that include the construction of an ICT laboratory, the supply of computers, a connectivity project, and the development of special computer-based test centres to help to examine bodies easily organize computer-based examinations.
While these projects and programmes have benefited students, teachers and lecturers in arming them with modern techniques of knowledge acquisition and enabling the use of web-based resources to improve learning and teaching, other infrastructure projects and capacity-enabling programmes such as the University Campus Connectivity (UniCC) project, Base Transceiver Station project, Backbone Transmission Infrastructure (BTRAIN), Digital Nigeria Centre, E-Accessibility, among others, are also being implemented by the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), an arm of the Commission.
The NCC has continued to sponsor young innovative Nigerians to compete in ICT-focused competitions both nationally and internationally, as well as sponsor tech-startups to develop applications that address specific national concerns in the areas of health and security, under Prof. Danbatta’s leadership.
The Commission also works with academia to facilitate concrete linkages in research and development, innovation, and technological incubation for national development, with a particular focus on harnessing the creative energy of the country’s youth, as evidenced by the annual national essay competition, which awards prizes to young people each year.
Danbatta has given high-profile academic and non-academic lectures at a variety of tertiary institutions, national institutes, and professional bodies at the national and international levels, the imports of which have continued to reshape thinking on how best digital infrastructure can be deployed and harnessed for overall economic development.
The Fountain University Convocation Lecture provides another opportunity for Danbatta to share his thoughts in this regard by intellectualising the discourse on how the Commission’s previous and future plans can help to position Nigerian youths in a position where they can play a greater role in the emerging competitive global economy using ICT resources.
Danbatta, a professor of Telecommunication Engineering, has taught in the university for over three decades, serving concurrently as an administrator and researcher. In those years, he had supervised over 60 students in bachelor, master and doctoral levels. He is a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE), Nigerian Academy of Engineering (FAEng.), Renewable and Alternative Energy Society (FRAES) and Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (FNIEEE).
He has published several articles in journals, conference proceedings and technical reports. He is the author of a book on Elements of Static Engineering Electromagnetics.