PAT Nigeria – A Narrative of Events.
The first Python Africa Tour (PAT) workshop to be held in Nigeria took place at the campus of African University of Science and Technology (AUST), Abuja, from the 14th to the 18th of June, 2010. It was sponsored by the Nigerian Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) and facilitated by Datasphir Solutions Ltd., an ICT company based in Lagos and Abuja
The programme started on Monday the 14th at 8am with the registration of participants. The workshop was declared open at 10am by the representative of the Director-General of NITDA. The DG., Professor Cleopas O. Angaye, was represented by Mr. Emeka Ezekwesili, NITDA's Director of Strategic Planning. In his opening speech, the DG's representative congratulated the participants on being selected for the training and urged them to make the most of the opportunity. He emphasized NITDA's commitment to uplift IT standards and skills in the country through such training programs.
The trainers and facilitators were introduced. The trainers: Ousmane Wilane fron Senegal, Daniel Nouri from Germany, David Alouch from France, and Tim Akinbo from Lagos are all expert Python developers who have many years' experience in the use of the language. They are members of the Python Africa Tour, and have volunteered their time to impart Python knowledge and skills to train young developers in Africa. They were joined on Wednesday by Uju Ndili and Adam Byrtek, who are both developers with Google. Google platforms, such as Gmail and GoogleDocs, are Python-based.
The organizers are Mr. Omo Oaiya and Mr. Owen Iyoha of Datasphir and Dr. Olumide Owolabi of the University of Abuja. The contributions of Mr. Bobby Adesuyan, a Systems administrator with AUST, to the organization of the workshop was also acknowledged.
After the opening, the participants were divided into two groups, based on their programming experience. This information had been gathered online during registration for the workshop. Those adjudged beginners were in one group taken by David and Daniel, while the intermediate and advanced group were taken Tim and Ousmane.
The first two days were used to cover the introductory aspects of the language, the next two covered Django, a web framework for Python. The last day featured the closing ceremony as well as Bar Camp during which several software technologies were presented. These inclue Google AppEngine - a Python-based platform for web developers to build and host their applications, Plone – a Python-based Content Management System (CMS), testing and mobile development with Python.
In all, the workshop was very interactive with participants being able to work closely with the trainers. Many examples and practice problems were used to illustrate the concepts. Indeed most of the participants often stayed back well beyond the daily closing time of 5pm. It was not unusual to see the trainers and participants still working well beyond 7pm. Everybody was really impressed with the enthusiasm and commitment of the PAT trainers.
There were lunch and tea breaks, which were observed in the AUST cafeteria. Accommodation and meals were also provided for the trainers and organizers at the AUST campus. All these facilities, including the main conference hall and computer lab, were paid for by the organizers, courtesy of NITDA’s sponsorship. Mr. Jide Babatunde, AUST’s Campus Director, was instrumental in putting all the arrangements in place. Some participants were also accommodated on the AUST campus at their own expense, even though the rates were subsidized.
The final day started with the Closing Ceremony, after which group photographs were taken; thereafter it was the Bar Camp. The NITDA DG was represented by Dr. A.S. Daura, NITDA’s Director of Software Development and Research, who also handed out the Certificate of Participation to the participants. Hajia Hadiza Umar, NITDA’s Head of Corporate Affairs, was also present on the closing morning.