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Uganda’s don who helped build US Navy system

By Conan Businge

Added 6th September 2016 09:42 AM

He started off as a young man in his own country–Nigeria, with his education goals threatened by the then raging war in his country.

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He started off as a young man in his own country–Nigeria, with his education goals threatened by the then raging war in his country.

He left his own country at the time it was politically instable, to further his studies in the United States of America. Decades later, he is back home; not in his country, but his motherland Africa, in the eastern part of the continent here in Uganda.

That is Dr. Emeka Akaezuwa, who is now the dean of the faculty of science and technology at the International University of East Africa.

He started off as a young man in his own country–Nigeria, with his education goals threatened by the then raging war in his country. During the war in his country between 1967 and 1970; his studies were disrupted.  It was tricky for him after his primary, to start his secondary schooling.

But he did not give up. He kept on the course, managed to get a job at one of the universities in Nigeria, much as he was still studying and later managed to get a scholarship to the United States of America for further studies.

He says that in life, “One should never give up the desire to fight.”

His education

 When his studies were interrupted, he obtained a job at Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria.

He was working at the film and television school as a performer and at the same time a manager. He managed to work with prominent world renowned authors;  Wole Soyinka, Okot p'Bitek and David Rubadiri.

It is this journey that starts his drive from the humanities world to that of scientists; especially in the computer world, which leaves you perplexed. He jumped all hurdles in his education journey and has managed to work with the best technology organisations all over the world.

While working at Obafemi Awolowo University, he got a trip to perform in the US in 1980. Some senior dons in Nigeria had already connected him to universities in the US. He sat for interviews, was assessed on his knowledge acquisition and was admitted for a Master’s Programme in Art at the Rutgers University in New Jersey.

After his studies, he wanted to return home, but realised that there was a high rate of unemployment. He decided to stay in the United States.

He was at the time the President of African Students organisation in the United States. He obtained a job, two years later, at the African World Press as a manager.

He developed the love for computers. He learnt how to set up computer networks and he later enrolled for a PhD programme in information systems and structures at Rutgers University.

“I now know that you can do anything in life, if you pay attention to it. I decided to join the science and technology world, and it is paying off,” Dr. Emeka explains.

He has been part of teams that have built technology that has revolutionised the world.  Prominent of such technologies is the development of critical systems of the US Navy and among them the torpedo. In the year 2000, he  got a Congressional Award for the Naval Research Laboratory of the United States Navy for his work on the Torpedo.

 

Work

He is now lecturing at the International University of East Africa and also a visiting scholar at the Paul Robeson Centre at Rutgers University.

“I felt there was need for me to come back and serve my continent. When I was called at this university, I felt that this was a new university, with an opportunity to start something new for our students. Most established universities, at times resist changes in teaching, which is positive to our continent.”

He adds that, “We need to move from the industrial age technology to the information age technologies. Times are changing so fast.”

 He is also a recipient of the 2013 New Jersey Governor Jefferson American Wall of Fame in 2010.

Dr. Akaezuwa has a patent; pending application on universal search engine.

He is currently working on three major technical innovations, a new source of energy that is based Digital Matrix; the SET innovation method which is network for rapidly growing technical capabilities and on Knowledge Sets– a new approach to knowledge retrieval based om Micro Time.

His recent invention, search OS, has won numerous awards for innovation. In 2009 the software was included in the computer encyclopaedia as a major contribution to the knowledge and to software engineering. That same year, he was named a “Search wizard.”  The Search Wizard honour is given to technologists who have made significant contribution to the Search technology.

In 2008, his Search OS software was considered one of the best in the world by the Software and Information Industry and Association. The Association is a Washington based global association that represents software and information institutions worldwide.

Dr. Akaezuwa was also awarded for designing the world’s largest business information retrieval system for Dow Jones and Company.

 He is also the founder of Gaviri Technologies, Inc. prior to founding in Gaviri Technologies, he worked a director of digital libraries at Elsevier, where he was involved in developing the world’s largest science, technology and medical online information retrieval system.

He has also developed numerous large scale information retrieval systems for governments, universities and for corporations worldwide. He built critical systems for Canada’s national information retrieval system for Science and Technology.

He also has a stint at the Tsinghua Consortium’s scientific information system. Tsinghua Consortium is composed of 100 of the best universities in China. He also worked with the governments of Brazil, Britain, and Italy.

His views

Dr. Emeka says that there is need to change the way science and technology is taught in Universities. “We need to shift from the industrial age technology, to information age technology. The onus is on institutions, to keep evolving with the times,” he says.

He also notes that the country needs support from Government to ensure that there is enough funding for research and also science and technology.

“All countries need to invest heavily in science and technology. Bu there must be a connection between research, innovation and politics, if our countries are to develop fast,” he adds.

He says that as academic don, he is ready to add his voice and effort to the growth of science and technology in the country.

 

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