“It is right to flaunt our National Identity in cyberspace; it is our own , it is our pride’, so says Rev. Sunday Folayan at the 2016/17  NIRA award night.
   Perhaps this was the major reason for promoting the value of .NG as a brand and Nigeria as a nation, by showcasing the level of development   NIRA’s baby could add to our Nation both at home and abroad at any given opportunity.
  Meanwhile, the .NG awards took a different dimension last week as the crème de la crème in the ICT industries gathered together with other stakeholders and well-wishers at the 2016/17 Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NIRA) awards night, designed to showcase the works and meaning of NIRA; honour its supporters and promote .NG in all ramifications.

   The air filled with Nigeria national colour of green and white, the flex banners with inscriptions of NIRA colour green white heralded the arrival of the guests. And many posed in front of the flex banners to take pictures as a sign of support to NIRA.
  Trying to make sure one was comfortable were the staff and ushers dressed in green with silver colour attires. The men in green put a line of white to make it complete. It was a classy night full of colour, glamour and dignity.
  If showing courtesies and maintain etiquette could wake the dead, it would have been that night of glamour. But in lieu of that, the courtesy shown guests irrespective of your status remain evergreen as it emboldened one’s confidence.
  Rev. Sunday Folayan, NIRA President in his attire with a very low cut that made him looks 10 years younger than his age, mounted the stage to reel out the impact of NIRA to the larger society, and went ahead to announce of the organisation’s desire to expand NIRA Academy soon where all willing will be able to learn more about ICT.
   Folayan in his speech opined that the uptake and registration of .NG, which is the Country Code Top Level Domain (ccTLD), was low and needed to be embraced by Nigerians.
“South Africa, with a population of 57 million people, has over a million domains registered under .ZA, as its ccTLD.  This abysmal comparison led NIRA to do a deep introspect, where we recognised that education, especially which leads to entrepreneurship and job creation, is the major driver of domain name penetration.
“NIRA has established the `NIRA Academy’, which will soon assume its position as the centre of excellence in Domain Name System (DNS) in Africa. The academy currently operates outside NIRA head office, but we seek a permanent site for the construction of our campus ’’  Folayan opined.
He then called on Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State to assist the association with allocation worthy of a campus for a centre of excellence.
Basking in the success of making a positive success out of his first term ending soon, the president said that in the course of the year, the .NG brand would be visible on social media platforms in order to promote the ccTLD.
“NIRA’s stakeholders have also decided to market the brand via their various advert campaigns and the momentum is building gradually. One feels joyous, riding in the Lagos traffic because one can be sure of sighting .ng domain names on cars and buses as they ply the roads. The sight of billboards with .NG, domain names, especially in some streets of Nigerian towns, is no longer strange. In spite of those great strides, the awareness bug is yet to bite deeper in states outside Lagos. It is right to flaunt our national identity in cyberspace; it is our own; it is our pride” NIRA President concluded.
Going through memory lane, the NIRA .NG Awards was established in 2016 to recognise and honour the many contributors that were creating awareness in growing the .NG brand and to also acknowledge those, who were exploring various opportunities in the DNS industry in Nigeria.
.NG , awards is a celebration of excellence, and excellence is of great value to those who work for it.
As usual, there were side attractions and more to munch.
The winners of this year are as follows:
Best Primary school portal – Ifako International schools, Lagos
Best Secondary school portal – Shepherd international college, Nassarawa
Best Tertiary institution portal – University of Uyo
Digital innovation in local government – Amuwo odofin
Digital innovation in state – Lagos state
Digital innovation in federal government – Federal Road Safety Commission
Public sector star – National Bureau of Statistics
Making the internet a better place – National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA)
Best print media – The Guardian Nigeria
Best media online website – Pulse Nigeria
Best electronic media (television) – Iroko
Best electronic media (radio) – Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria
Most valuable youth organisation – National Youth Service Corps
Startup company of the year – Eazyhire
Best payment website – Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System
Best Insurance company – Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund
Best banking website – Bank of Industry (BoI)
Most innovative service provider – Jiji Nigeria
Company of the year – Google Nigeria
Youth Development award –
Women Development award –
Supporting media partner – Guardian newspaper and Technology times
Special recognition of outstanding board members award – Mr. Biyi Oladipo
Special recognition award – Mrs. JAF Olushola
Winners: Best .ng registrar (four categories)
1. Silver- netorb media ltd
2. Gold- Icecool ltd
3. Platinum- McReal online networks
4. Standard level- Whogohost ltd


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