Some days just don’t go as planned.
That was a sad requiem that Wednesday, September 16, 2009, when the Nigerian IT woke up with the tragic news of the death of Engr Ndukwe Kalu, pioneer president, Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA).
Kalu was reported to have passed on September 15, 2009, in his office in Lagos, at about 6.00 pm after having some chats with his staff to put some things in order.
Many people are credited with bringing the .ng domain home to Nigeria, but Kalu holds a special place especially for his enterprising leadership in NiRA for making May 13, 2009, the day of another landmark in the history of Nigeria.
It was the day the registration of the nation’s country code Top Level Domain (ccTLD) name .ng, with the current global coordinating internet agency, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was concluded.
It would be recalled that this feat came after over 13 years of the .ng registration with ICANN, an international not-to-profit corporation championing standardisation of the Internet community globally.
Kalu was cut in his prime, but his life is the story told by God.
In his short and fulfilled life, Kalu has contributed to the development of the country’s information and communications (ICTs) sector.
He pioneered Information technology publications in Nigeria with the country’s first InfoTech magazine called IT Watch West Africa in 1994.
From there he revolutionized newspaper IT reporting, by conceptualizing and commencing the first robust IT section in Nigerian Newspaper history, tagged InfoTech Thisday in 1998.
He was a member of several professional bodies some of which are Nigerian Society of Engineers, Nigeria Computer Society, Nigeria Institute of Management, Chartered Institute of Administration, Institute of Data Processing, and Management (IDPM) London, among others.
As a country project manager, he midwived the Adesemi Project, a $5Million Telecommunications firm, and served on various boards some of which are Amsco Telecoms Limited, Amsco Nigeria Limited, Admiral Insurance Company Limited, Price house Communication Limited, Alphastream Solutions Nigeria Limited, among others.
Kalu also served on a joint committee of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) and ISPAN on developing a suitable regulation for the use of the ISM band.
In 2004 he was elected as National Vice President of the Internet Service Providers Association of Nigeria (ISPAN) and served on the NCC Industry committee set up to advice on VoIP regulation.
The ICT industry and indeed Nigeria lost a rare gem who has contributed to the growth and development of the sector.
Nigeria should immortalise this great man to encourage others to contribute to building an ICT rich country.
Ndukwe Kalu, rest on.