NYSC Corp Member Onyeka Onyema Discusses His Game-Changing ICT Project In this Interview

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Greetings Africa,

Trust you are doing great. Today, we bring to you our interview with Onyeka Onyema, a 2014 Graduate of Computer Science from the Delta State University (DELSU) in Nigeria. He designed an Information System for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) office in Lagos State, to manage the data and personal information of Corp members posted to serve in the State.

He discussed his experience on the project and what inspired him to take it on. Sit tight and enjoy the ride>>>

Onyeka Onyema discuss his game-changing project

What inspired the design of the Corp Members Information System for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), Surulere, Lagos?

Gone are the days when information is managed manually. It baffles me when I visit offices that are not IT compliant, especially when they deal with lots of data. The idea of the project came to my mind on a day I visited the NYSC office in Surulere (Lagos State, Nigeria). An official of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) came seeking for a Corps member’s personal details.

The staff on hand flipped through several files and this was a very tedious task. Obviously, there was no Information Management System. As an IT graduate, I knew this could be done in a jiffy if there was an Information System. Furthermore, there had been some oversight in collating data manually. Indeed, data when sorted manually can be a tedious task.

Then, I saw the need for an Information system. I discovered a problem that required urgent attention. On this note, I decided to embark on a personal project as a Corp member. I started by creating a mock-up of the software design, writing down the program functions and structures, identifying the hardware that will be needed and also identifying key stakeholders that will be of help to successfully carry out this project.

I started the project by April, 2015 by forwarding a proposal to the NYSC State Coordinator which was approved. Then, I designed a mock-up of the interface with the assistance of Mr Charles Obiokala (Local Government Inspector, Surulere), structured the logical aspect with the assistance of Mr Afe (ICT Staff, NYSC Lagos) and then I began development and coding.

How long did it take you to complete the Project?

It took me about two (2) months to get it properly done.

How was the Project received by the leadership of the NYSC in Lagos State?

The project was commissioned after it was implemented and executed in the presence of Mrs Ehimwenma (Head of ICT Unit, NYSC lagos), who represented the Lagos State Co-ordinator of the NYSC. She expressed her happiness and congratulated me for identifying a problem and taking the pain to find a solution by putting my Information and Communication Technology (ICT) knowledge and skills to good use.

She also said it was a remarkable action in a Country where people identify problems and only talk about it without making any effort to create far-reaching solutions. Also present at the Commissioning was Mrs Oso Grace (Community Development Service Coordinator, NYSC) who represented the Head of Community Development Service (CDS). She thanked God I came up with such a project and praised my efforts.

Mr Charles Obiokala (Local Government Inspector, Surulere) who moderated the Commissioning event also commended my ingenuity, saying that the project would help his office in no small way.

Onyeka Onyema

What were the challenges you encountered in carrying out the project and how did you surmount them?

The major challenge experienced during the build up of the program was sponsorship especially with the provision of a computer system as well as its accessories to make the project a success.. Thanks to Mr Ogonna Arizechi and Mrs Chituru Chikwendu for their wonderful support. Without them, the project wouldn’t have seen the light of day.

What was the biggest lesson you learnt from the experience?

It pays to persevere. To be outstanding makes you unique and indeed, handwork pays.

What words of advice do you have for NYSC Members who are currently serving the Nation?

We were over 6,000 batch 14B corps. However, only 15 of us embarked on personal projects but not all of us executed. Some received State Awards while others got Letters of commendation. Also, the NYSC got the projects documented. I want to encourage all corps members who are currently serving to provide solutions to problems in their communities for the betterment of our great nation Nigeria.

Onyeka Onyema

The NYSC year has come and gone. What’s next for Onyeka?

I’ll look forward to enhance my IT skills and obtaining relevant IT certificates. Also, I hope to get a job that will improve my skills and expose me to more real-life situations (experience) in the IT space.

The impact of software development in the accelerated development of the African Continent cannot be over-emphasized. In your opinion, what definite measures must be put in place to ensure that the next generation of Computer Science / Engineering Graduates are well-equipped to solve the challenges affecting Africa?

The impact of software development in the development of the African continent cannot be over-emphasize. However, to ensure that the next generation of computer science/engineers are well equipped, it is important that the necessary tools needed to impact quality education is available. I will also recommend the training and re-training of educators in the field to enable them give an up-to-date knowledge of the IT world to aspiring students and prepare them for the ever changing IT environment we find ourselves.

Any mentors?

Bill Gates has been my mentor

Africa will rise when…

African will rise when the nations are free of corruption, when our Leaders lead without selfish interest and all Africans come together to work towards achieving a common goal.

Inspire a young African in a sentence

Move beyond a motivation.

Wow! Many thanks for sharing with us. 

You are welcome. Thanks for having me.

Do you have any questions for Onyeka? You can ask them in the comments section below. You can also connect with him on Twitter @ookelvyn. Cheers!

© 2015 – 2017, Arise Arizechi. All rights reserved.

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