By Ignatius Chukwu
Last year, he made waves around the world with induction into the Forbes Council. This year, he is making more waves by being inducted into the prestigious Nigerian Society of Engineers (NGE) as a Fellow. What next awaits this Rivers son who chose to thread in sensitive IT sector, cybersecurity.
Ogoni-born Dr Tambari Sibe is a cybersecurity and infotech expert up to doctorate degree level, and he makes waves at home and abroad in the rare sector he has chosen to play in.
The Forbes inductee is now inducted as fellow into the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE). Most of his advanced studies were done in the USA, according to his profile made available to BusinessDay.
At the induction, the founder of nairametrics, Ugo Obi-Chukwu, delivered a talk on fuel subsidy removal and the likely positive impacts on Nigeria’s economy in the coming months and years.
On this, Sibe told BusinessDay thus: “I support deregulation of the downstream sector. I have always supported that. There were obvious gaps in the subsidy regime, both from accounting and operational perspective, therefore, it was never going to be sustainable to keep the subsidy regime in place.
One cannot, however, be blind to the current macroeconomic realities: extreme poverty, high inflation, high unemployment, etc. Therefore, abrupt removal of subsidy is definitely going to impose biting economic conditions for the masses.
“There’s a lot of policy announcements, both from the fiscal and monetary point of view, all happening concurrently, and this will come with shocks to the system. It’s important to factor in these variables in coming up with a sustainable strategy to cushion the hardship on citizens.”
Forbes had in 2022 announced the admission of Sibe, the cyber-security wizkid, into its technology council said to be reserved for world class technologists ranging from chief information officers (CIOs) and chief technology officers to form global technology executives.
The COREN-certified engineer is the CEO/Lead Forensic Examiner of Digital Footprints Nig. Limited, indicated as one of Nigeria’s leading Cybersecurity and Digital Forensic companies.
The invitation-only council is said to have vigorously vetted before a review committee finally selected and admitted him on the depth and diversity of his experience. Criteria for acceptance is said to include a track record of successfully impacting business growth metrics, as well as personal and professional achievements and honors.
Sibe is an Information Technology Consultant with two decades experience in managing projects in cybersecurity and digital forensics, e-government, technology deployments, and geospatial technologies.
He is the co-founder & CEO/lead forensic examiner of Digital Footprints Nig. Ltd. He is also an official member of the Forbes Technology Council; a visiting fellow at the University of South Wales; and a doctoral dissertation chair (Cybersecurity) at Capitol Technology University, USA.
He has a doctorate in Information Technology (Digital Forensics) and a master’s degree in Digital Forensics from the University of the Cumberlands, Kentucky, USA. He also has a Master’s degree in Electronic/Telecommunication Engineering from the University of Port Harcourt, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Engineering from the Rivers State University.
He is a COREN (Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria) Registered Computer Engineer, a Corporate Member of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), a member of High Technology Crime Investigation Association (HTCIA), a member of the Computer Technology Investigators Network (CTIN), and a member of the Institute of Electrical Electronic Engineers (IEEE).
His background in the US seems rich. He is certified by the National White Collar Crime Center, USA, as a Certified Cyber Crime Examiner (3CE) and a Certified Economic Crime Forensic Examiner (CECFE). He also holds other industry certifications such as EC-Council’s Certified Chief Information Security Officer (CCISO), Cellebrite Certified Mobile Examiner (CCME), Cellebrite Certified Physical Analyst (CCPA), Cellebrite Certified Operator (CCO), Mobile Device Investigator (MDI), P2CO-P2C Certified Operator (Paraben), DSMO-DS Certified Mobile Operator (Paraben), etc.
Determined to bridge the gap between the academia and the industry, Sibe also took on a lecturing role in the Department of Computer Engineering, Rivers State University. He also volunteers to teach DFIR and as a dissertation supervisor for the Cybersecurity PhD programme of ACETEL, National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN).
His work experience has taken him through several organizations in sectors such as Finance, Environment, Academia, and consulted for several clients in the Public and Private Sector. He has also worked on several projects, specifically in areas such as e-Government, Cybersecurity, Digital Forensics, Environment, etc.
He has facilitated several trainings in Digital Forensics, Cybersecurity, & GIS, involving Law Enforcement, Military, Judiciary, etc. He has also presented several keynotes.
How Nigeria can move ahead:
Sibe has shared his thoughts on various subjects for Nigeria to move ahead. He has said data review shows how badly the economies of the South-South East faired over the years.
He has at events pointed out two key areas of review, one being to check how the two zones faired on ‘Ease of Doing Business’ in the comity of states in Nigeria.
He once talked about the danger of ‘Getting High on Hydrocarbon Supply: Challenges, Prospects and Opportunities’.
In it, he admitted that the hydrocarbon industry investment decisions are made in Lagos while the policy decisions are made in Abuja. But, he added, the SS/SE could have exploited lose ends to pursue investments that could have made the zone a hydrocarbon hub.
Saying the evidence of being high on hydrocarbon is the fact that after 65 years of oil, Nigeria is still not in charge of the oil technology, adding that education has failed takeover technology of the product.
“The oil states have failed to creatively force their way in: if the laws stop you from participating in production, why not creatively support partners or investors to develop other neglected value chain?
“To date, the best investment by any oil producing state and community is the 10 per cent and seven per cent stake in Indorama Petrochemicals owned by Rivers State Government and the Eleme communities, respectively.
“Thus, the state and the host communities have become not just spectators, but co-owners of
the business. By being key stakeholders, some of the roadblocks to doing business have been
dismantled by both the state and the host communities.
“Do you now understand why the company operates in relative peace? Can we adopt this model for other similar entities? Therein lies an opportunity for states in the south-south, and even the south-east.”
The expert said in the past seven years, Nigeria has passed through two recessions; something he said is difficult for any nation to survive.
“This rollercoaster economic ride has taken a toll on the investment landscape. For instance, within this period, the net manufacturing growth rate has been in the negative. Within this period, trade has also dipped, and we spent more time in negative growth. Oil production has also dipped, largely due to the oil theft. This added to failure of the refineries to work, and the unending subsidy regime has put the economy in a very difficult position.
“Rising national debt and associated cost of debt servicing, rising inflation, depletion of foreign reserves, erratic monetary policies, foreign exchange crises and the attendant effect on almost all sectors of the economy, which is largely import-dependent. This is not a report card of doom, but a reflection of reality. We are business executives here, and business thrives with facts.”
Sibe has also said there has been some positive models that show Nigeria can make it. He said the last decade has seen the birth of at least seven unicorns in Africa; out of which five are from Nigeria. Flutterwave, Opay, Interswitch, Jumia, and Andela are all valued at over a billion dollars each.
“Some of these companies only came into existence a few years ago, and quite encouragingly, some were founded by young people. For instance, Flutterwave, founded in 2016, is now
valued at over $3 billion – this is the equivalent of the valuation of about 3-4 Nigerian banks put together. This makes it Africa’s biggest start-up.
“The observation here is that while Nigeria continues to struggle in the traditional sectors, the country shows immense prospects in emerging areas, powered by innovation. We shall return to this later.”
He concluded: “You don’t need any consultant or Presidential council to tell you that the states need deliberate steps to improve the ease of doing business.”
He used data to show how sea ports and airports in the SS/SE perform below anyone in Lagos or Abuja.
Sibe is highly sought after around the world to submit brainy ideas to move the world to the next level.