Mr Adesola Akinsanya, new President of Nigeria Internet Registration Association (NiRA) is on a mission to make the .NG internet domain name a household brand in the country.
Mr Akinsanya, who is also COO of Upperlink Limited, a Nigerian tech company, was elected NiRA President on Friday at the 15th AGM of the association held in Lagos.
“I believe my listening skills, empathy, patience, open mind, and above all collaboration and communication skills should drive me to the position. Beyond those, I understand the working of NIRA both as a regulator, Registrar, and even stakeholder/user. This makes me well-equipped for the task ahead,” Mr Akinsanya tells Technology Times.
In this exclusive interview with Technology Times, the new NiRA President unfolds his plans for the .NG internet domain name of Nigeria, and his plans for the domain name manager:
Technology Times: What is your vision for the growth and development of the .ng domain name industry?
Adesola Akinsanya: My vision is to see that .NG domain name industry is the most competitive industry within the African region. Our population, economic growth, and technical expertise coupled with enabling policies cum the leadership I will provide as the NIRA president will make this possible.
Technology Times: How do you plan to improve the registration process and promote adoption of .ng domain names among the internet community in Nigeria?
Adesola Akinsanya: The plan is to make sure that all processes leading to registration, renewal, and restoration are automated and ensure the accredited registrars’ platforms are automated. Accredited registrars are NIRA’s gateway to reaching the populace/end users. The domain name is a digital product, which can only be promoted through various digital channels. The focus will be to ensure a DIY (do it yourself) approach with minimal support/contact.
Technology Times: What steps will you take to ensure that .ng domain names become household brands among individuals and businesses in Nigeria?
Adesola Akinsanya: One step is to create awareness among individuals and businesses, educating them on the benefits of having their brands on the .NG domain names. Such benefits are visibility search index within Nigeria and list their business among the top search. Also, more revenue to the country and unique names can be gotten.
Another step is to collaborate with other agencies such as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to bundle it as a package for business registration and annual report filing.
Technology Times: How will you address issues of cyber security and protection of user data in relation to .ng domain names?
Adesola Akinsanya: Cyber security is the practice of defending computers, servers, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious attacks and making sure several security measures are put in place to mitigate cyber security threats by deploying Intrusion detection and intrusion prevention systems. To mitigate this, I will set up regular forums to enlighten all stakeholders on practices and ethos to be adopted. There will also be sanctions and punishment for detected culprits.
Technology Times: How do you plan to improve the partnership between NiRA and its registrars that drive the .ng domain name market?
Adesola Akinsanya: NiRA operates the 3R model (Registry, Registrar, and Registrant), and the Registrars remain a strategic part of this model. They are the fulcrum creating the needed balance in the ecosystem. Under my leadership, the plan is for the association to keep supporting Registrar’s events/programs which we believe will make an impact in the domain name market. Also, we will continue to showcase and promote the registrars at every community event to which the association is invited.
We shall create an incentive and reward system to create healthy competition which will spur all registrars to aspire to do more.
We shall also consider supporting the registrars and registrants with subsidies to cushion market costs while having occasional discounts on domain name cost for registrants to benefit from.
Technology Times: How will you work to promote the use of .ng domain names in local content creation?
Adesola Akinsanya: The association created a programme that seeks to promote the use of .ng in local content creation which was tagged SWITCH TO .NG. The continuous promotion of this programme will be intensified not only within the government organisation, but also in the private and public sectors to make sure the adoption of .ng is actualised.
To further institutionalise this, we will partner with strategic agencies, associations, and professional bodies to advance and advocate .ng brand adoption.
Technology Times: What steps will you take to attract more foreign investment into the .ng domain name industry?
Adesola Akinsanya: It is by creating an enabling environment where risks are minimised and as well properly managed. Improves the .ng business model to support such investment and proves to be profitable.
In July 2016, the Federal Government set up the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), we shall partner with them and align to attract the needed Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to the .ng domain industry.
Technology Times: How do you plan to collaborate with other relevant stakeholders in the tech and telecommunications industry to promote the use of .ng domain names?
Adesola Akinsanya: It is to leverage already established relationships that existed among these stakeholders. We have some of our distinguished members sitting in various positions among these relevant stakeholders and they are willing to promote the .NG industry.
Technology Times: How would you ensure that NiRA maintains its status as a non-governmental self-regulatory body in the management of the .ng domain name space?
Adesola Akinsanya: We will keep giving an account of our stewardship and activities to the government regulatory body, National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), and this is done annually by the executive board of the association.
Technology Times: What strategies do you have in place to tackle issues of domain name abuse and cybercrime in the .ng domain name space?
Adesola Akinsanya: The association already has an existing policy that tackles the use of domain name abuse etc. The plan is to leverage it and ensure it is followed up as expected. Where required it will be updated to current realities in line with the extant laws and processes.
Technology Times: How do you plan to address the issue of domain name squatting and ensure that .ng domain names are used for legitimate purposes?
Adesola Akinsanya: NIRA’s existing policy already guards against this, thereby prohibiting domain name squatting on .NG domain name space.
Technology Times: How would you encourage local innovation and entrepreneurship in the .ng domain name industry, particularly among SMEs and the youth?
Adesola Akinsanya: Local innovation and entrepreneurship in the .NG domain name industry will be encouraged by sponsoring their events and giving support when necessary, especially to the youths. We shall also extend incentives to enable growth.
Technology Times: What is your position on the possibility of expanding the .ng domain name space to include more top-level domains?
Adesola Akinsanya: The opportunities and potentials are boundless to have more top-level domains. I support this initiative. However, we have not exhausted the usage of the current TLDs.
Technology Times: How would you ensure that NiRA remains transparent and accountable to its membership and the public in the management of the .ng domain name space?
Adesola Akinsanya: The plan is to effectively communicate and engage key stakeholders in the business of the association by giving account during our Annual General Meeting (AGM) where the organisation’s affairs and financial statements are read openly. Under my leadership, there will be ease of access to information as enshrined in the constitution.