I guess the first question on your mind would be, “what’s NIRA?” I’ll explain: NIRA is the acronym for the Nigerian Internet Registration Association.
After many years of many things for a lack of some better expression (including one of such meetings in Lagos shown in the picture above), some stakeholders met at the Shell Hall of the MUSON Center today, from about 11am till 6pm. The announcement was quite late, and wasn’t helped by the census work-free week preceding the event, but enthusiasts showed up in their numbers — though a far cry from the space available in the hall. The meeting started at 12:12pm, with an interim chairperson in the person of Dr. Chris Nwannena (President of the Nigeria Computer Society) who stood in for Prof. I. S. Diso (Vice Chancellor of the Kano University of Technology, who was delayed in such a way he couldn’t have helped).
Beginning with brief remarks by both the chairman and the Director General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), Prof. Cleopas Angaye, the assembly considered the minutes of the last meeting and adopted after a few changes were made. Then, the major business of the day started — presentation and ratification of the draft constitution. You should have been there to see how Nigerians make intellectual contributions that could make a school consider awarding them a doctorate in a field they are not trained in. 🙂 One must also acknowledge (among others) the intellectual input of the Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN) that obviously did their home work well and contributed — along with others — to the success of some knotty technical issues (which is their turf anyway).
The issue of how many people would form a quorom for an annual and special general meeting was debated extensively. The other platform, the eGeneral Meeting (Electronic General Meeting) seemed to have a general appeal and was immediately accepted. At the end of the day (not as short as my blog will make you think) :), the general agreement was that 15% of the members should be accepted as the quorom. For specific details, you may wish to become a member and request a copy of the constitution. 🙂 Membership was also extensively discussed, and two issues caught my attention there — age limits and fees. The issue of fees enjoyed interesting suggestions but I couldn’t stand the idea of leaving young Nigerians under the age of 18 out of the community. After a few minutes of discussions, it was agreed that anyone (regardless of how young — even toddlers :)) can become a member of NIRA, as long as there is parental consent for those who are recognised by law as minors.
Things moved fatser towards the end of the meeting, and a great highlight was the election of the members of the Board of Trustees. The nominations (not in any specific order) from the assembly included Prof. I. S. Diso (outgone interim chair), Dr. Nwannena (NCS President), Dr. (Mrs) Osofisan (CPN), Dr. Odeyemi (first PhD holder in Computer Science in Nigeria), Y. Z. Yau (CITAD, Kano), Mrs. Odusote (Ministry of Information and Digitest founder), Mr. Alao (NIG), Shina Badaru (Technology Times), Akinbo A. A. Cornerstone, Sunday Afolayan (ISPAN/Skannet), ‘Gbenga Sesan (:)), Ndukwe Kalu (ISPAN) and Chinenye Mba-Uzoukwu (Infographics). The last four declined the nominations for various reasons, and there was then no need for any form of voting.
NIRA now has its Board of Trustees, would be registered, and the .ng flag is about to rise high! The door will soon be flung open for membership and I’m sure qualified people are looking forward to that. Its another day in the history of Nigeria’s internet presence and participation, and I look forward to a great new day. Welcome, NIRA. Hello, world!