Of Ibrahim Idris Bello
lee Kuan Yew, the prodigious nation-builder who transformed Singapore from a humble third-world nation to competitive economic status in just 30 years (1970-1990), recalled in his book a policy he introduced in his 1983 Land announced, aptly titled From Third World to First. The former Prime Minister of Singapore told all cameras and reporters at a National Day rally: “It was foolish of our academics to elect less educated and less intelligent women when they want their children to do as well as they do.” The As expected, the policy statement stirred up a hornet’s nest and was cynically dubbed the “Great Marriage Debate” by the country’s press. But this was a desperate measure to deal with a desperate situation, Singapore’s best women did not reproduce because men who were their equal in education did not want to marry them. This shock therapy was the path Lee Kuan Yew took to tell the truth about the fact that talent is a country’s most valuable asset.
In our 21st century world, the new truism, digital infrastructure, is a country’s most valuable asset. This is the prism through which we should view and appreciate Nigerian agency Galaxy Backbone (GBB)’s development role. Galaxy Backbone is Nigeria’s digital infrastructure and shared services provider. It is an agency of the Federal Ministry for Communication and the Digital Economy. The creation of Galaxy Backbone should help the government to properly manage its IT operations and move departments, departments and agencies (MDAs) towards fully digital government.
Over the past decade, advances in digitization have only been possible because of this government decision to centralize its IT operations and enable Galaxy Backbone to fulfill its missions for the nation.
Today, Galaxy Backbone has positioned its digital infrastructure platform to enable both private and government organizations to power their operations Real time and on demand. A visit to the National Shared Services Center (NSSC) will convince even more. A seven story twin building beautifully situated in the Central Business District of the nation’s Federal Capital Territory is a sight to behold. One of the impressions one would get after touring this facility and interacting with their teams of data center, cloud and network management professionals is the joy that such a premium and secure platform actually exists in the country.
The IT room is huge. What is interesting about this industry on a local and global scale is its rapid pace of development and transformation. With increasing customer requirements, the potential and possibilities of this industry, which now drives all industries, are also expanding. As a company aware of the reality that it cannot be all or all for its many customers and stakeholders, GBB has chosen to focus on an area that can help build the platform for other local ICT companies , OEMs and organizations create the private and public sector that deals with a lot of data.
For this reason, GBB is often referred to as a digital infrastructure organization as it provides the hosting and colocation platform for software/application and hardware service companies to use. For this reason, its Chief Executive/CEO, Professor Muhammad Bello Abubakar, keeps reminding organizations in the private sector that GBB does not intend to compete with them. Rather, his main goal is to work with them so that they can better serve their customers.
Mr. Yew says in his book: “After several years in government, I realized that the more talented people I had as ministers, administrators and professionals, the more effective my policies were and the better the results.”
The same is true at GBB, which is led by Abubakar, a professor of petroleum geosciences with over two decades of professional experience in academia, oil and gas exploration research, development and innovation institutes. A truly strategic thinker with strong leadership and managerial skills, he has an impressive track record of serving global energy best practices.
No wonder GBB performs spectacularly well in providing the services their clients require. Today GBB manages some of the most critical infrastructure in the country. Its Tier III data center is certified by the Uptime Global Institute, the Network Monitoring and Management Center and its Security Operations Center.
These infrastructures help the government smoothly manage its digital transformation while providing the foundation for effective and reliable security in the digital space. Operating mainly in the background, Galaxy Backbone has successfully managed these infrastructures, with very few citizens unaware of the organization’s strategic role in national development. It’s no news that Galaxy Backbone’s primary customers have been MDAs for years. This role GBB plays in ensuring that government institutions are well served with digital infrastructure services is a task the organization takes on with the utmost seriousness.
The GBB remains committed to effectively fulfilling the mandate that the government has wisely entrusted to it, despite challenges, setbacks and some public misunderstandings about its restrictions.
Over the past two to three years, the organization led by Professor Abubakar has strived to make a positive impression on the minds of its customers and stakeholders, as his leadership has eliminated unnecessary exaggeration, improved processes and a much more appealing internal organizational structure, established to ensure that the organization’s activities are well perceived by its customers.
Because of Galaxy Backbone’s role in IT operations and services for MDAs, it’s often easy to attribute all of the challenges organizations face to Galaxy Backbone. But the reality is that public sector organizations are not compelled to use GBB’s services, but rather are encouraged to use GBB’s services in order to maintain a high level of professionalism and effectiveness, which in greatly contributes to maintaining the “spirit” of a government”. So GBB’s main focus is on delivery and ensuring the platform is up and running at all times. It is important to note that it does not cover all (frontend) operations of all MDAs. Some IT operations are managed by some MDAs because they requested it, while others are managed directly by GBB (mostly from the backend). However, as GBB is committed to ensuring all government digital operations are working effectively, it does not hesitate to support MDAs when called upon to do so and has done so on numerous occasions and at all times, and as a solution provider, GBB has come to solve the IT challenges in government sites.
As the nation and the world at large continue to embrace the digital economy and hybrid work, the tremendous importance of digital infrastructure will become more apparent, and organizations in the public and private sectors will continue to recognize the tremendous importance and role GBB plays in the nation’s development.
It is important to remember that just at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when it seemed like all government operations were suspended, GBB played a vital role in ensuring government continued to function appropriately and effectively.
From the talent gathered at GBB, from the leader to the various technical and even administrative teams, it is safe to hope that GBB is poised to lead Nigeria into one of the most advanced digital economies in Africa. Even Lee Kuan Yew will agree.