A FRAMEWORK FOR IMPLEMENTING MOBILE CLOUD COMPUTING IN E-GOVERNANCE FOR NIGERIA
Information and communication technology have improved government practices and provided effective governance, processes, and services. These have influenced many governments to mobilize the resources needed to implement e-governance in developed countries. Developing countries are adopting such technologies to enhance their government services while minimizing the costs. Nigeria, over the years has been grappling to come to terms with the implementation of such technologies; hence, there is a huge chasm in communication between the government and the governed. Such chasm has also not been given full scholarly attention. Therefore, a study of this nature becomes of essence. Indeed, e-governance services through cloud computing infrastructure permits integration of smart phone applications as well as traditional mobile network services with the e-government portal. Mobile Cloud computing provides high scalability and supports large amount of data in databases of e-governance services. Thus, this increases citizenry participation in the governance process as the citizens are always on the look-out for more ways to get involved in the governance processes. This is the motivation for this research as it seeks to create a robust and distributed database/platform for better governance services. Object Oriented Analysis and Design (OOAD) was used as the design method, while Unified modelling language (UML) was used to model the design. In this research, a reusable framework for implementing mobile cloud computing in e-governance for Nigeria has been created which ultimately automates effective e-governance. In the end, it is expected that this framework will bridge the digital divide amongst government, citizens, businesses and NGOs by providing more efficient interactions between them. The framework is developed using HTML5, CSS5.5, PHP,MySql as database.
1.1 Background Of The Study
E-governance has become a popular focus of government efforts in many countries around the world. More governments have implemented and introduced e-governance as a means of reducing costs, improving services, saving time and increasing effectiveness and efficiency in the public sector. E-governance has made an essential change in the whole societal structure, values, culture and the ways of conducting business.
The emergence of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) has provided better way for faster and better communication, efficient storage, retrieval and processing of data, exchange and utilization of information to its users, be they individuals, groups, businesses, organizations or governments. With growing computerization and increasing internet connectivity, governments around the world have engaged in the process of developing a wide range of e-governance services by using web-based internet applications. These technological advances have tended to occur at a much slower rate in Nigeria. Government authorities are aiming to meet the rising expectations of citizens for better; more comprehensive services added using innovative information technologies and various service delivery channels.
Over the past few years, advances in the field of network based computing and applications on demand have led to an explosive growth of application models such as cloud computing, software as a service, community network, web store, and so on. As a major application model in the era of the Internet, Cloud Computing has become a significant research topic of the scientific and industrial communities since 2007. Commonly, cloud computing is described as a range of services which are provided by an Internet-based cluster system. Such cluster systems consist of a group of low-cost servers or Personal Computers (PCs), organizing the various resources of the computers according to a certain management strategy, and offering safe, reliable, fast, convenient and transparent services such as data storage, accessing and computing to clients.
Meanwhile, smart phones are considered as the representative for the various mobile devices as they have been connected to the Internet with the rapidly growing wireless network technology. Ubiquity and mobility are two major features.
Mobile cloud computing is a development of mobile computing and an extension to cloud computing. In mobile cloud computing, the previous mobile device-based intensive computing, data storage and mass information processing have been transferred to ’cloud’ and thus the requirements of mobile devices in computing capability and resources have been reduced, so the developing, running, deploying and using mode of mobile applications have been totally changed. On the other hand, the terminals which people used to access and acquire cloud services are suitable for mobile devices like smart phone, PDA, Tablet, and iPad but not restricted to fixed devices (such as PC), which reflects the advantages and original intention of cloud computing. Therefore, from both aspects of mobile computing and cloud computing, the mobile cloud computing is a combination of the two technologies, a development of distributed, grid and centralized algorithms, and have broad prospects for application.
ICT in government helps in providing new governance services and products. It enhances participation of people. It also helps in better information dissemination. As ICT has already become an integral part of everyday life, the challenge for the next generation of e-governance applications is to continue to improve public sector performance. The partnership with the various stakeholders for E-Government can be in many areas such as: Financial Investment, Infrastructure Setup, Solution Architecture and Technology selection, Content Development and Management, Rendering front-end services to the Citizens, roll-out of e-government project, software development, project management and assessment, capacity building etc. It describes the use of technologies to facilitate the operation of government and the disbursement of government information and services. . Meanwhile, this framework is a structure intended to serve as a support or guide for the deployment of transformation stage of e-governance in Nigeria. It is therefore reusable that is, can be expanded further.
1.2 Statement of the problem
Nigeria is a vast and populous country whose system and processes of governance have been fraught with many challenges. This has led many to question the credibility of the governance processes in Nigeria, thereby leading to so many issues. These issues form the problem of this study as underlisted below:
- Lack of direct access and communication between Government and her citizens
- Lack of two-way communications among government departments example (Ministries, agencies, parastatal, businesses, and nongovernmental organisations)
- Inability of government to be accountable owing to lack of verifiable record.
1.3 Objective of study
This study is motivated by the desire to create a more efficient resource tool for governance in Nigeria. Given the strategic importance of the information communication technology today, it has become crucial to research on ways the government can improve services and communications delivery to the people. Thus, the objectives of this research work are as follows:
- Creation of a robust and distributed database for governance services.
- Simplification of processes through the creation of mobile website which could be accessed with mobile devices for easy accessibility of governance services.
- Creation of platform independent e-governance application.
- Creation of a reusable framework for automating governance processes.
1.4 Significance of the study
- Reduction in operating costs to government at all levels.
- Provides governance services faster and cheaper thereby accelerating the adoption and use of mobile devices in governance.
- The framework will be available without incurring too much on infrastructure.
- Increase in citizens’ ICT skills, internet knowledge and smart phone usage
- Creation of a platform for transparent and accountable governance
- Creation of new business and work opportunities
- Improve efficiency of government agencies in processing data
- Improve services through better understanding of citizens’ requirements, thus aiming for seamless mobile online services
- Information sharing between all government agencies and departments to build one mega database.
- Assistance to government’s economic policy objectives by promoting productivity gains inherent in ICT and e-commerce
- Transparency, accuracy and communication between government and businesses.
- Trust between governments and citizens, an essential factor in good governance by using mobile internet-based strategies to involve citizens in the policy process.
1.5 Scope of the study
Nigeria has showed some high level of presence in the Information, Interaction and Transaction stages of e-governance. In this research, emphasis is made on the Transformation stage of e-governance with focus on the three major components of e-government that is Government, Business and Citizens.
1.6 Definition of Terms
- A framework is a real or conceptual structure intended to serve as a support or guide for the building of something that expands the structure into something useful.
- E-government is the use of internet and the world-wide-web for delivering government information and services to citizens, business and other government agencies. (UN Division for Public Economics and Public Administration 2001:1)
- E-Governance is the application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for delivering government services, exchange of information communication transactions, integration of various stand-alone systems and services between Government-to-Citizens (G2C), Government-to-Business (G2B), and Government-to-Government (G2G) as well as back office processes and interactions within the entire government frame work.
- Mobile cloud computing
- Mobile Cloud computing is a model for enabling convenient, on-demand network access to a shared pool of configurable computing resources, (e.g., networks, servers, storage, applications, and services) that can be rapidly provisioned and released with minimal management effort or service provider interaction on mobile phones (National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), 2009).
- Digital Divide
- The gap between those constrained, in terms of access to, use of, or knowledge of information and communication technologies (ICT) and those who are not constrained.