The story of computerization in Ahmadu Bello University started in 1976 with the creation of the Iya Abubakar Computer center.The center in the era of the mainframe was truly a center of excellence, however, when the era of personal computing dawned the concept of Information and Communications Technology gained mandate. When the NUC therefore directed Universities to establish Management Information Systems Units in the early 1990s the first office was in Electrical Engineering Department with Dr Z.O.Oyedokun as its pioneer coordinator. Shortly after its inception the MIS developed the SR examination package and has been in use since 1995.The MIS later relocated to the senate building and instead of receiving due attention suffered neglect, was incapacitated and up to 2005 never lived up to expectation. In 1999, however, Ahmadu Bello University articulated a plan for the provision of internet connectivity which got it a Federal government grant. An implementation Committee then was set up headed by Professor Y. Aku of Mechanical Engineering The committee was to work a strategic plan for computerization and networking of the University and ensure its implementation. Actual implementation, however, could not commence until August 2002. Fundamentally the ICT programme's blueprint did not spell out the need and thus did not provide relevant management framework structure for the ICT Infrastructure, subsequently, the execution and or implementation of the ICT programme suffered a lot of setbacks, which cumulatively reproduced an incoherent process. At some point along the line Dr George Kwanashie, (then Deputy Vice Chancellor Academics) took over as the chairman of a computerization and internet project task force, which saw to the completion of the VSAT project (of 128 kbps uplink and 512 kbps downlink capacity) and network center equipment along with a few remote sites in early 2005.The close up report by Messsrs TTI Nig ltd , one of the project consultants, however, indicated there was no full integration of the network center to all proposed radio sites. By August 2005 as a result, the ICT Infrastructure could deliver Internet access to only less than 5% of the University community and most of the University community relies on private Internet outlets. Sometime in 2003, the CISCO Networking Academy was set up to provide for the training of middle manpower for the ICT programmes in Ahmadu Bello University and Dr. P.F.U. Taylor of Electrical Engineering was appointed pioneer Coordinator. In the last quarter of 2005, Dr. P.F.U. Taylor was appointed to double as the university ICT coordinator, with Dr. Aminu Ibrahim then, of the Nigerian Universities Commission as the University ICT Consultant. Along this period a draft ICT blueprint coupled with a policy on strategic plan for computerization, multimedia and networking had been developed. However, there was no synergy between the blueprint and its implementation.
Early into his appointment in 2005, therefore, Dr P. F. U. Taylor was replaced by the duo of Dr. Kabiru Bala of Building Technology Department (as ICT Coordinator, main campus and Coordinator CISCO Academy) and Dr. N. Maiturare of Bussiness Administration Department (as ICT Coordinator Kongo campus).This followed the setting up by university council of an investigation into the entire circumstances of the ICT project from 1999-2005,which was chaired by Dr. K.S. Chafe. Under the leadership of Dr Kabiru Bala the University website was designed and a wireless Hotspot network sponsored by First Bank commenced. Following the recommendations of the February,2006 report of the Council committee on ICT, in march 2006, Council setup an ICT Technical Committee under the chairmanship of Dr. D.D. Dajab of Electrical Engineering Department which studies and analyses all designs, concepts and documents as it relates to the ICT project in the whole University. The committee re-evaluated the design of the ICT programs and presented a report which articulated requirements that would thus provide Ahmadu Bello University with the implemental blueprint to provide the general framework and structures of Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure.
Having established the need for a strategic focus on IT the next stage was to determine the most desirable ways of achieving it. This can be done either by allowing things to evolve by themselves, which option did not work since 1999 or by adopting an organised approach where actions and activities which have been well thought out are carried out guided by appropriate policies and organs. The pre-2005 management structure or arrangement of the ICT was not capable of driving or achieving the policies and objectives of the programme, therefore on the recommendations of the investigative panel on ICT from1999-2005, an ICT Director, Dr. K.S. Chafe, was appointed in March 2006 to nurture the creation of an ICT Directorate.
Armed with a reviewed ICT policy guideline the ICT Directorate won a £1.4 million McArthur Foundation grant in 2007 for the implementation of an optical fiber intranet for the University based on a proposal it articulated. Meanwhile, this ensured the take off of an appropriate and resourceful ICT policy and programme for the University.
In the Council document setting up the Directorate, it is made up of four departments, each function with peculiar responsibilities of ensuring that the ICT policies turn into actions. In order to operationalise the objectives of the DICT a structure is formulated and implemented. The structures are implemented directly by the creation of Departments under its jurisdiction. The following broad Departments are implemented by the DICT.
Equipment Maintenance and Support Services Department
A Standardization, Testing & Quality Certification (STQC) unit/ office of the Directorate of Information and Communication Technology is a key assurance service-providing department in the area of Computers/accessories procurement ,their maintenance and user support. Apart from being a maintenance center the unit is also in charge of maintaining the Telephony/PABX systems in the University. Starting from its initial mission the unit is envisaged to in-house be building/assembling desktop computers , as it progressively builds competencies and an enabling ecosystem and institutional framework for innovation, skills development, collaboration, and partnerships.
Support for User access to university systems and information resources as available in faculty digital centers are governed by the type of workstation or device used as follows:
Managed Workstations and Devices: Workstations and devices that attach to and access University Network both in terms of maintenance and antivirus/worms management.
Non-Managed Workstations and Devices Non-Managed workstations and devices may include but are not limited to faculty and staff workstations, personal computers, PDA's, etc.
Network Infrastructure and Security Department
Delivery of high quality Digital Learning environment requires an underpinning of a robust IT infrastructure, both within the Academic and Administrative areas of the university.The operation and maintenance of an Education & Research Network (ERNET), and related activities are the responsibility of this unit. These are broadly in the area of Data Communication and its Application; High-end Networking and Campus-wide High Speed Local Area Network. The NIS unit shall work to ensure that end-users enjoy the best experience and satisfaction to deliver broadband value added service and applications like Web casting, IPcasting, Digital Library and Distance Learning mainly to promote utilization of Information Technology , computer communication, informatics, and development of services. It is an arm of the directorate for implementing ICT networking projects of the University. This responsibility includes information security with the need to foster an open and information-sharing atmosphere among members of the academic community. All systems hosting server services shall be registered and maintained by the Network Infrastructure and Security Office.
Management of Networks and Devices Creation, maintenance and documentation of Network configuration and addressing policy and its translation into specific configuration settings and their implementation in deves university-wide. Network level management and maintenance of antivirus/worms.
Service Delivery Maintaining ICT infrastructure/Devices uptime ,ensure increased network utilization and optimal network performance as a matter of priority.
Management Information Systems Department
Here the responsibility of System Developers and Information Integrators are for the development and deployment of appropriate application softwares for information management and archiving of relevant data, and other information resources for use of University management ,its organs and the University community .They coordinate and secure all University Information placed in their care and to ensure Security compliance with Standard Information Security Procedures. Their responsibilities additionally include development and management of a portal for student records administration (online registration, online fees payment and student accommodation allocation, online transcripts etc).They manage the following infrastructure to provide an adequate, relevant and ongoing development programme to enable staff and students to create, access, manage and disseminate information resources effectively.
Portal servers A unified platform for information resources with university-wide data accessibility presence across various departments or academic units. These systems, considered business-essential, require a high degree of availability.
Department Servers Servers that provide an academic records and/or administrative functions that may house Restricted or Sensitive Information. Examples include Human Resource Servers, Audit and Accounting Software Servers etc
Multimedia and Web Services Department
The responsibility of this unit includes Strategic positioning of university web presence and rethinking the strategic strength and positioning of the University in its local /regional and, as far as justified, national or international competitive environment. Adaptation of links within the University community as part of this rethinking. Content development, management, and storage issues that enables content assets to be more quickly repurposed, repackaged, and delivered into the world wide web to orchestrate interactions with disparate systems currently residing within distinct silos, creating a unified, homogeneous system. The automation of processes that can be applied to video-on-demand (VOD) as well as downloadable protected content, and any other sources across the University and throughout the content ecosystem. Facilitating and increasing the quality and effectiveness of access for all to ICT e-learning Infrastructure and systems in the University. Application servers managed by the unit includes web and repository servers. Others critical roles include
Guiding the university well on ICT matters - To ensure university's better rooted to make best use of the ICT infrastructure necessary for widespread uptake of eLearning and to promote ICT in teaching or innovation in teaching ( Audio-visual, smart boards , video conferencing technologies etc) and to support learning in non-traditional ways plus media and library facilities in a coordinated resources and support structure accessible for the whole university community and filling of gaps if they appear.
Department Critical Systems - Systems with a localized departmental presence, essential for conducting business processes or delivery of academic content.
The Director, Dr. Danjuma Danshik Dajab received his M.Sc in Automatic Electrical Communications from the Bonch-Bruevich State University of Telecommunications, St. Petersburg and Ph.D in Telecommunications at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. He has been an Engineer with Leningrad Telephone Networks, Russia and a Senior Executive Engineer at Intercellular Nigeria Ltd.
With extensive WAN knowledge along with deployment experience of at least 5 years he has practical experience of project management/delivery through the lifecycle of a project. He is a corporate member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE).
Network Infrastructure & Security (NIS)
The responsibilities of NIS include:
Management Information System (MIS)
The responsibilities of MIS include (in addition to mandates and job specifications as currently obtained in MIS):
Multimedia & E-Learning Technologies (MELT)
The responsibilities of MELT include:
Web Application Development (WAD)
The responsibilities of WAD include:
Equipment Maintenance & Support Services (EMSS)
The responsibilities of EMSS include:
Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria formally joined the Cisco Networking Academy Program (CNAP) as a Local Academy (LA) under the University of Jos Regional Academy (RA) under the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (South Africa) Cisco Academy Training Centre (CATC) on the 24th of July 2003.
The ABU Cisco Networking Academy started with the Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) curriculum in 2003 and by 2006 had also commenced the Information Technology Essentials (ITE) curriculum and till date over five hundred (500) ABU and non-ABU staff and students have undergone training in one or both of these curricula. Indeed, a lot of our trainees have moved on to acquiring full CCNA and CCNP certifications
The ABU Cisco Networking Academy has actively been participating in all Cisco organized programs in our sub-region, especially the African Safari, starting with Accra, Ghana in 2006 (where we won the most gender friendly academy award), to Lagos in 2007, Abeokuta in 2008, Jos and Abuja in 2009 and 2010 respectively, where on both occasions, we won the best LA awards. In recognition of the giant strides of the Academy, Cisco finally upgraded the status of the Academy from a Local Academy (LA) to a Regional Academy (RA) in June 2010.
Sequel to the upgrade, the ABU Cisco Networking Academy can now assist in setting up LAs and provide technical support and quality control assistance to them and to other LAs that may wish to come under it and also to undertake instructor training. This will be for the following curricula: Academy Fundamentals, IT Essentials (ITE), CCNA Exploration and Discovery.
In November 2010, Cisco granted the ABU Academy provisional approval to operate as a Local Academy for the CCNP Curriculum. The Cisco Certified Network Professional (CCNP) program is a higher level program than the CCNA and presently ABU Zaria is the only Academy having that status in Nigeria. The status will become full once at least two (2) instructors have been sent on training at the CATC in South Africa.
The Academy has begun the process of acquiring computer-based test centre status from PearsonVue (www.pearsonvue.co.uk, www.pearsonvue.com/mena). This will greatly complement our training programs as the students will have a readily available and convenient centre to write their certification examinations.
The ABU Cisco Networking Academy was set up in line with the guiding principles of Cisco Systems Inc.'s Networking Academy program to provide high level hands-on training in IT and networking to ABU and non-ABU staff and students based on the theme "LEARN THE SKILLS … LEAD THE FUTURE"
A Local Academy (LA) is set up with the explicit mandate from Cisco Systems Inc. to "teach individuals the problem-solving and critical thinking skills in addition to the technical knowledge students need to pursue a career in networking and succeed in the 21st century workplace".A Regional Academy Academy (RA) is set up with the explicit mandate from Cisco Systems Inc. to "function as training and support centre for the LAs to which it is accountable".
List of Programmes
The ABU Cisco Networking Academy presently has a Co-ordinator, a Registrar, nine (9) part-time instructors, two Lab Attendants and a Messenger.
EnquiriesFor all enquiries about the Academy and Cisco programs, contact:
University wide access to, and utilisation of Information and Communication Technologies to enhance the standing of Ahmadu Bello University as a center of Academic excellence.
To create a truly digital learning environment and ensure a high and sustainable availability of Information and Communication Technology resources through total quality management, control, maintenance, and development processes that are user focused.