NITDA seeks capacity development for Nigerians for global competitiveness

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Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi, has stressed the need to build capacity of Nigerians to enable them meet the demands of global and competitive world.

Speaking at the send forth for 17 scholars that chose FIRAT University as their choice under its annual postgraduate scholarship in Abuja, Abdullahi said Nigeria cannot afford to be left behind in a digital age, adding that to drive the digital economy, the country needs people with requisite capacity.

He said, “We have to compete globally, we have to be with the world, and it was in realisation of this that the scholarship was initiated by NITDA.”

Abdullahi, represented by the Director, Infrastructure Solutions, Dr. Usman Abdullahi Sambo, explained that NITDA has been sponsoring postgraduate students since 2010, but had to suspend it in 2016, because of economic challenges, adding that the Agency felt the need to continue the programme but that it must be done strategically this time around.

“We looked round the world and identified the area of interest, and forged partnership with Turkey. This time around, we have to sign MoU with FIRAT University. This university in Turkey happens to be the first for our 2018/2019 programme.

According to him, the Agency has so far trained over 2,000 Nigerians for both masters and PhD programmes across the world, and most of them have come back to add value to the country. On the selection process, Abdullahi said the scholarship is open to all Nigerians, but requires every applicant to have First Class in IT-related fields, and must meet all other basic criteria, including NYSC for Masters programme, while applicants for PhD must be lecturers in a university.

He noted that the programme is highly competitive, as NITDA every year gets over 6,000 applicants that meet the criteria, adding that it considers only one person in each geo-political zone for PhD programme, and one person in each state of the federation for the Masters programme.

“The person with the highest score in his state automatically wins but in addition, we have to engage them again in oral interview to ensure they are good ambassadors, and have to stand the rigor over there. We have 49 scholars. We have three different programmes: MSc in IT related fields; Masters in Law; and PHD in IT-related programmes. The most important thing for us is for them to come back and add value. We have those that have gone and come back to work with government and private sector as well as those who established their entrepreneurial businesses, and today are employers of labour in the country”.

In his remarks, Director, E-Government, Dr. Vincent Olatunji, told the beneficiaries to consider themselves very lucky for being among the chosen few, and urged them to be good ambassadors of not only of their families but the country in general.

One of the beneficiaries of the PHD programme, Yusuf Adebola, said the selection process was transparent, and urged other organisations to emulate NITDA’s capacity building programme.