Galaxy Backbone: Digital Infrastructure, Nigeria’s Most Valuable Asset

Lee Kuan Yew, that extraordinary nation-builder who, in the space of just 30 years (1970-1990), transformed Singapore from a modest Third World nation to a competitive economic status, recalled a policy he heralded in her country in 1983 in her aptly titled book From Third World to First. Singapore’s former prime minister told a National Day rally in front of all the cameras and reporters that “it was stupid for our graduate men to choose less educated and less intelligent wives if they want their children do as well as they do”. ”. The political statement, predictably, stirred up a wasp’s nest and was cynically labeled “Great Marriage Debate” by the country’s press. But it was a desperate measure taken to deal with a desperate situation – the best women in Singapore were not reproducing because the men who were their equals in education did not want to marry them. This shock therapy was Lee Kuan Yew’s way of confirming that talent is a country’s most valuable asset.

In our 21st century world, the new truism is that digital infrastructure is a country’s most valuable asset. This is the prism through which we should view and appreciate the development role of the Nigerian agency Galaxy Backbone (GBB). Galaxy Backbone is Nigeria’s digital infrastructure and shared services provider. It is an agency of the Federal Ministry of Communications and the Digital Economy. The creation of Galaxy Backbone was intended to help the government properly manage its IT operations and move Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) towards a fully digitized government.

Over the past decade, progress in digitalization has only been possible because of this decision by the government to centralize its IT operations and empower Galaxy Backbone to perform its duties for the nation.

Today, Galaxy Backbone has positioned its digital infrastructure platform to enable private enterprises and government institutions to power their operations in real time and on demand. A visit to its National Shared Services Center (NSSC) will convince even more. A seven-story twin building that sits beautifully 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 its teams of data center, cloud, and network management experts is one of elation that such a platform world-class and secure actually exists in the country.

The information technology space is huge. The interesting thing about this industry locally and globally is its rapid pace of evolution and transformation. As customer demands grow, so does the potential and possibilities of this industry that now powers all industries. As an organization aware that it cannot be all or all for its many customers and stakeholders, Galaxy Backbone (GBB) has chosen to focus on an area that can help create the platform for d other local ICT companies, Original Equipment Manufacturers and private and public sector organizations dealing with a lot of data.

This is why GBB is often described as the digital infrastructure organization, in that it provides the hosting and colocation platform that software/application and hardware services organizations can rely on. . That is why its Managing Director/CEO, Professor Muhammad Bello Abubakar, constantly reminds private sector organizations that Galaxy Backbone has no intention of competing with them. Rather, its main goal is to partner with them so that they can better serve their customers.

Mr Yew says in his book that “after many 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 goes for GBB where Muhammad Bello Abubakar, a professor of petroleum geosciences with more than two decades of professional experience in academia, research, development and innovation in oil and gas exploration, is in charge. This true strategic thinker with strong leadership and management skills has an impressive track record of exposure to global energy best practices. It’s no wonder GBB is so spectacularly successful in providing the services its customers need. Today, GBB manages some of the most critical infrastructure in the country. Its Tier III Datacenter, certified by the global Uptime Institute, the Network Monitoring and Management Center and its Security Operations Center.

These infrastructures help the government manage its digital transformation journey seamlessly while providing the foundation for effective and reliable security in the digital space. Because it operates primarily in the background, Galaxy Backbone has managed to manage these infrastructures with very few citizens unaware of the strategic role the organization plays in national development. It’s no news that Galaxy Backbone’s main customers for years have been MDAs. This role that GBB plays in ensuring that digital infrastructure services are well provided to government institutions is a task that the organization takes with the utmost seriousness.

GBB continues to strive to effectively fulfill the mandate given to it by the government, in its wisdom, despite challenges, setbacks and some misconceptions about its limitations by the public.

Over the past two or three years, one area where the organization, under the leadership of Professor Abubakar, has striven to make a positive impression on the minds of its customers and stakeholders is how, through its management, unnecessary excesses have been eliminated, processes improved and a much more engaging internal organizational structure put in place to ensure that the operations of the organization are well felt by its customers.

Now, due to Galaxy Backbone’s role in IT operations and services to MDAs, it is often easy to attribute all of the challenges faced by organizations to Galaxy Backbone. But the reality is that public sector organizations are not obliged to use the services of GBB, but rather advised to take the services of GBB in order to maintain a high level of professionalism and efficiency, which in a very to a large extent, helps to maintain “the spirit of a government”. Thus, as the main objective of GBB is to provide and ensure that the platform is always operational. It is important to note that it does not handle all (front-end) operations of all MDAs Some IT operations are handled by some MDAs because that is what they requested, while others are handled directly by GBB (from the back-end). end, mostly) However, because GBB is committed to ensuring that all government digital operations are running efficiently, it does not shy away from doing all it can to support MDAs when called upon and it does. is produced many times and at any time, and as solution providers, GBB came to solve IT problems at government sites.

As the nation and the world continue to embrace the digital economy and hybrid working, the enormous importance of digital infrastructure will become clearer and both public and private sector organizations will continue to realize the enormous importance and role GBB in the development of the nation.

It is important to remember that at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when it seemed like all government operations were on hold, GBB played an important role in ensuring that the government continued to function smoothly. adequate and effective.

From the talents gathered at the GBB from the head to the various technical and even administrative teams, it is safe to hope that GBB is poised to lead Nigeria to become one of the most progressive digital economies in Africa. Even Lee Kuan Yew will agree with this.

Dr Bello writes from Abuja