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By NBF News
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By Emeka Aginam
By the time 2012 Institute of Software Practitioners of Nigeria (ISPON) president's dinner was drawing to a close, ICT experts in the attendance were worried over dearth of skills in software development and digital colonization by foreign nations, warning that if something is not done urgently to reverse the trend, Nigerian may remain a consumer nation in the global competitiveness.

In his welcome address, ISPON President, Chris Uwaje while calling for software intellectual capital as an economic model for national survivability had earlier predicted that the digital colonization issue will one day become the critical issue in the emerging information society, warning that sooner or later, the entire life, culture and sovereignty of a nation and her citizenry may be unwittingly traded off and taken over by IT-smart, powerful and knowledge-centered information forces around the globe.

According to the ISPON President, Nigeria and the rest of the African counties must embrace technology to survive the knowledge society.

'We cannot remain consumers of foreign technology. It is not good for the economic development of the country. We must be careful, the destiny of Nigeria lies in technology . This is a wake-up call as time is running out,' Uwaje who is also CEO of Connect Technologies told the gathering.

He called on the ICT industry, especially ISPON members to champion Nigeria's knowledge engagement in the software domain, so that the country can become technology leaders rather than condemned followers and a consumer nation.

'At the centre of the converged wealth spin is 'software'. The paradigm shift on the above issues coupled with the management of digital information and knowledge, as well as the protection of intellectual property rights on the internet, present very fundamental challenges to developing nations,' he explained.

Earlier in her keynote address, Founding Partner, Udochi Iheanacho Partnership, Mrs. Udochi Iheanacho told the gathering without mincing words hat there was still dearth of skills in software development, which must be bridged for both job creation and economic growth. According to her, intellectual property rights, (IPR) laws must be enforced, adding that government must be at the forefront of the campaign.

'That is the only skill innovation in software development can be encouraged among local developers. There are good products locally that can compete with foreign products. We cannot continue to be consuming foreign products, otherwise we will remain a digital colony,' she added.

Former Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, (NCC), Engr. Ernest Ndukwe opined that for government to realize the gains of indigenous software development in the country, there was need to to encourage innovation even as he advocated for stringent measures against intellectual property rights theft as a bail out option.

'Software is very important in the global ICT parlance. It is the unseen hand. In telecommunications, it draws parallel with spectrum. Virtually everything done today relies on software. It is critical to the development of the economy. I will also say this, without a software, there won't be mobile phone,' he explained.