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Effective Data And Information Management Needed In Nigeria Gen. AbubakarFUTMinna

Gen. Abdulsalam delivering his opening address yesterday

Former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar has stated that the country as a whole needs to be more effective in data and information management.

Gen. Abubakar stated this yesterday during the opening ceremony of the 62nd Business Meeting of the Association of Registrars of Nigerian Universities (ARNU) hosted by the Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State at the PTDF Lecture Theatre, Main Campus.

The former Head of State while declaring the event open said the theme is very apt as he has come to realize that every aspect of the country lacks effective data management, which has hindered development.

He urged the association to look into the data collection of not just students but of staff as well, citing examples of students who have been expelled from one Nigerian university for indiscipline getting readmitted in another university, which may not know their background.

He expressed optimistism that after deliberations, solutions would be proffered to help effective data and information management in Nigerian universities and the country at large.

In his goodwill message, the Executive Governor of Niger State, Alh. Abubakar Sani Bello who was represented by the Commissioner of Education, Science and Technology, Hajiya Fatima Madugu congratulated FUT, Minna for hosting such a huge event and hoped that the deliberations would focus on promoting academic proficiency, proffer solutions to data management issues that arise every day, student and staff discipline and so on.

Gov. Bello, while wishing them a fruitful gathering, hoped that recommendations that would arise from the meeting would be implemented for effective data and information management in Nigerian universities.

The Vice-Chancellor of the institution, Prof. Musbau Adewumi Akanji, FNSBMB, FAS, who was the Chairman of the occasion, in his welcome address expressed his excitement at the fact that FUT, Minna was given the privilege of hosting the 62nd Business Meeting of ARNU, saying that one of the reasons was because he was getting close to the end of his tenure. According to him, it is also an opportunity to thank the Registrar of the University for the mutually beneficial relationship they have by hosting her colleagues while he is still in office.

The VC said data storage and its management represents the footprint of any organization, stating that it is in realization of the importance of data security and management that FUT, Minna pioneered the establishment of a School of Information and Communication Technology (SICT), especially Cyber Security Programme among Nigerian universities in 2010.

Prof Akanji who stated that Registrars are the custodians of the university records, encouraged them not to be left behind in appreciating the dynamics of data especially large data management and to constantly expose themselves to training in order to acquire relevant IT skills and record management techniques.

The National Chairman of the ARNU, Mr. Emmanuel Obafemi from the University of Ilorin said their roles as registrars mostly involves data and information management and this meeting was expected to aid them in the execution of some of their major assignments as the speakers would be focusing on areas aimed at rendering services to the National Universities Commission (NUC), Joint Admission and Matriculation Board (JAMB) and National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) who are main stakeholders of the universities.

Mr. Obafemi noted that the meeting witnessed the largest turnout of registrars of Nigerian universities in recent time and hoped that the gathering would go a long way in assisting them in enhancing their performance.

Speaking earlier in her welcome address, the Registrar of the University, Mrs. Victoria Kolo said it was an honour and privilege to host the Registrars of Nigerian Universities for the 62nd Business Meeting.                            

“This is the first time FUT, Minna is hosting the association under the name – ARNU, having hosted the 43rd meeting in 2006 when it was called Committee of Registrars of Nigerian Universities (CORNU),” she disclosed.

Mrs. Kolo stated that the theme “Synergizing for Effective Data and Information Management in Nigerian Universities” was very key as it is one of the ways university education can be properly developed and geared towards global best practices. She said that the meeting would be a good opportunity to evolve modalities for effective information sharing among Nigerian universities.

She thanked all the participants, staff and special guests for their presence while appreciating the Vice-Chancellor for his full support to successfully host the Business Meeting.

The keynote speaker at the meeting, Prof. (Mrs.) Elizabeth Onwuka, Dean, SICT discussed the challenges of data and information management in university system.

She emphasized the importance of accurate and timely information for planning and discussion in the achievement of organizational goals, pointing out that the quality of information is as good as the quality of the data and data gathering process.

Prof. Onwuka advised that for effective and efficient data and information management, the UNESCO-developed Education Information Management System (EMIS) be adopted to suit each university’s operations.

According to her, one of the problems that this system will help in solving is integration and sharing of data from different sources in the same university.

Prof. Onwuka warned that IT presence in the university does not necessarily solve the challenge of data and information management, but pointed out that a proper blend of people, processes and IT is needed. All of this, she said, means that synergy at all levels between the various sections of the same university and between all stakeholders in the university system is needed to achieve our collective goals in the Nigerian university system through effective data and information management.

Earlier, members of ARNU Executive Council, led by their Chairman, Mr. Emmanuel Obafemi, paid a courtesy call on Gen. Abubakar at his residence in Minna.

In his interaction with the ARNU officials, the former Head of State sought to know the challenges public and private universities in the country were facing even as he made suggestions for the way forward.

Similarly, ARNU Exco also paid a courtesy visit to the Vice-Chancellor represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), Prof. Oluwole Morenikeji who said the University is always happy to host such events.

He commended the Registrar, Mrs. Victoria Kolo for the improvement in record keeping through digitization.

ARNU Chairman, Mr. Obafemi thanked the University for offering to host the 62nd Business Meeting, noting that FUT, Minna was the first university ever to on its own offer to host their meeting.