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Opinion

Danbatta and  the Golden Years of the telecoms Industry

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By Ahmad Muhammad Danyaro

“No man who does not see vision will ever realize any high hope or  undertake any high enterprise”- Woodrow Wilson

To say that the re-appointed Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communication Commission, Professor Umaru Garba Danbatta is a goal-getter would be, to say the least.

 

This astute achiever, since becoming the helmsman of the NCC and the chief regulator of the telecommunication industry has stayed committed to setting the organization and the industry on an unprecedented and irreversible growth path.

 

Danbatta was appointed, in the first instance, for a five-year term in office as the NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, on August 4, 2015, and was subsequently confirmed by the Senate on November 25, 2015.

A man although he is tall, his accomplishment are taller than him. A man prepared to play the role of liberating, transforming, and sanitizing the telecommunication industry for better efficiency.

 

After a meritorious and eventful first tenure, Mr. Danbatta’s re-appointment is a presidential vote of confidence as NCC under the professor witnessed tremendous transformation earning a reputation as a transparent agency.

Prof Danbatta’s ‘s master plan to transform NCC rekindles stakeholders hope in the role of the regulatory body responsible for creating an enabling environment for competition among operators in the industry as well as ensuring the provision of qualitative and
efficient telecommunications services throughout the country.

 

That was indeed a watershed for the sector and the industry which prior to the appointment of Danbatta has received baggage of criticism from stakeholders as a toothless regulatory agency that is helpless to ensure industry players at no time short charge their customers particularly by the telecommunication companies.

Before the unveiling of the NCC eight-point agenda in  2015, the regulator wielded a big stick on MTN for failure to comply with regulations.

 

 

The South African based telecom giant is was penalized for failing to register all subscribers as required by the regulator.

 

NCC further accused the company of “overwhelming evidence of non-compliance and obvious disregards to the rule of engagement”. In though the fine is yet to be paid as the matter is taken to court to adjudication, many Nigerians commended NCC for the bold step taken which the industry players cannot further take for granted as it used to be.

Danbatta’s visionary leadership has been hinged on NCC’ Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) for the fiscal years 2015-2020, focused on the 8-Point Agenda, the effective implementation of which has led to impressive broadband penetration which rose from a mere 6.0 percent in 2015 to 40.14 percent in May 2020. Active Internet subscriptions also increased from 93 million to over 141 million currently during the period.

The number of active telephone subscribers also rose from 150 million in 2015 to 192.32 million in May 2020 with teledensity currently standing at 100.72 percent, following the rebasing the teledensity to 91 percent in March 2019.

Danbatta’s stewardship in the last five years leading to the diligent implementation of NCC’s auspicious strategic 8-Point Agenda, which he put in place when he assumed office in 2015, provided the basis for most of the Commission’s achievements in the last five years, especially in the areas of service availability, accessibility, and affordability.

The EVC’s outstanding achievements under him in the past five years and provided relevant industry and macro-economic statistics to illuminate his efforts and strides in the areas of the sector’s contribution to Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Quality of Service (QoS) delivery, broadband infrastructure deployment, broadband penetration, effective spectrum utilization, consumer empowerment, technology innovation as well as the Commission’s efforts with respect to curbing fraudulent Subscriber Identification  Module (SIM) registration and 112 Emergency Number towards ridding the country of insecurity, among others.

As part of his renewed commitment to further accelerate the growth of the telecoms industry as the key driver of the country’s digital economy vision over the next five years the NCC under Prof.Umaru Danbatta has launched a Strategic Management Plan( SMP 2020 – 2024) is the visioning document of the Commission for planning, monitoring, analyzing, and assessment of the Commission to meet its goals and set objectives.

 

 

It has five pillars, which include regulatory excellence, universal broadband, promote the development of digital economy, market development; and strategic partnering and 25 intended outcomes.
 

Five critical success factors identified for the implementation of the Strategy include ownership and commitment, effective communication, human resource capacity, development of and adherence to a strategy development manual; and implementation discipline.

 

 

 

the face of the new SMP is captured in the acronym: “ASPIRE 2024” (A: Advancement through S: Strategy P: Professionalism I: Innovation and R: Regulatory E: Excellence).

The Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, noted that the SMP is the fulcrum that will aid the NCC in driving its telecom regulatory mandate in the fast-evolving telecoms industry, in the next five years. He said it will serve as a roadmap for the future of the Nigerian telecoms sector, taking into consideration the current and emerging trends in the industry and the numerous expectations of the diverse Stakeholders.

Among the numerous achievement of the EVC during his first stint in the office is; speedy approval on the right of way given to telecoms companies for rollout following the intervention of the NCC. The engagement with state governors on the matter opened doors for opportunities for telecom operators to roll out services in different parts of the states.

 

This helped in improving service quality, increased subscriber number, and teledensity. Also worthy of mention was the positive disruption by financial technology (FinTech) players who develop technology solutions that propel financial transactions as well as mobile money payment both supported by the infrastructure of telecoms operators. The NCC also played a major role in the sale of 9mobile which helped in stabilizing the telecoms
sector.

 

 

It is imperative to note that the reappointment of Prof.Danbatta as the Executive Vice Chairman by President Muhammadu Buhari shows the readiness of the administration to consolidate the modest achievements of the past five years by focusing on broadband penetration, consumer protection and empowerment, efficient resource utilization, and facilitation of fiber infrastructure deployment.

 

 

Ahmad Muhammad Danyaro   writes in from Abuja  and can be reached at
ahmaddanyaro2017@gmail.com

Opinion

Harvard University Library Has 20 Million Books- Dr. Yushau

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Dr Muhammad Jameel Yushau

 

By Dr. Muhammad Jameel Yushau

The Harvard University experience is incomplete without discussing the abundant #learning opportunity offered by Harvard University library.

Harvard University has the oldest university library system in the United States. The library was established in 1638 and there are 28 libraries currently under the #university library system. It comprises 20 million books, 700 staff, 6 million digitized and publicly available items, 1 million maps and spatial data sets and 400 million rare items that include photographs, letters and manuscripts as stated by the university library page.

Harvard library

Harvard’s library

The Widener library, which is the largest and located at the Harvard Yard is where I enjoy spending part of my weekend. Widener library is an architectural edifice and a tourist attraction. Many visitors to Massachusetts State visit Widener Library as part of their touristic voyage.

A student is allowed to bring at least four guests to study in the library. So myself and my family utilize this opportunity especially during the weekends.

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The Widener library was named after Harry Elkins Widener, a book collector, businessman and 1907 graduate from Harvard University. He died in the titanic accident of April 1912 along with his father. But his mother survived. The surviving mother gave $2 million grant to start the library in the name of her son. In addition to the 6 million digitized items, there are materials in 450 languages in the library.

Students at the site

Students at the site

Takeaway: The backbone of a university is the quality of its library. Contributing to the library is not the exclusive preserve of the university, but a public responsibility.

Dr Yushau is a candidate for the Mid-Career Master Program in Public Administration, and Editor-in-Chief of Africa Policy Journal

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Opinion

Collective action essential on Climate Change Action

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Jibril Salisu Nainna

 

By Jibril Salisu Na’inna.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s article that was recently published by the Washington post was apt and represents a strong voice of reason not only for Nigeria or Africa, but the whole world.

It is easy to rate it appropriately as an article conveying the right massage for humanity at a time the crisis in Ukraine is deflecting attention from the grim climate changes that are causing despair around the world.

The article has exposed the level of imbalance in some global agendas in which some countries and regions do not show sufficient commitment so long those countries or regions feel less affected by the devastating impact of climate change.

It is indeed true that the big economies are unwilling to stop or reduce their emissions that are responsible for global warming and climate change. And they are also shy of making the requisite agreed financial releases necessary to mitigate the impact of climate change,especially in developing countries.

President Muhammadu Buhari was on point when he advised the rich countries not to create the impression that the world cannot invest in its own safety against climate change.

“Don’t tell Africa that the world cannot afford the climate cost of its hydrocarbons — and then fire up coal stations whenever Europe feels an energy pinch. Don’t tell the poorest in the world that their marginal energy use will break the carbon budget — only to sign off on new domestic permits for oil and gas exploration. It gives the impression your citizens have more of a right to energy than Africans,” he said.

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It can be recalled that the rich countries that contributed most to the climate crisis and pledged that to spend $25 billion by 2025 to boost Africa’s efforts to adapt to climate change as the continent continues to struggle with drought, cyclones and extreme heat, as reported by Africanews.

But they have, sadly, failed to make that promise good.”Governments have repeatedly failed to meet their commitments to the $100 billion fund for climate adaptation and mitigation in the developing world — for the mess their own industries caused.”

 

Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt where COP27 is holding has reawaken the consciousness of Africa to demand equal input and enough action with overall sincere commitment to confronting and mitigating the adverse negative effect of climate change facing the world especially the developing and poor countries with very low or no contribution to global carbon emission.

Indeed, Nigeria is not left out of the adverse crisis, the president reminded the world that Nigerian case was not different where he said “Part of my nation is underwater. Seasonal flooding is normal in Nigeria, but not like this. Thirty-four of the country’s 36 states have been affected. More than 1.4 million people have been displaced” it is a verifiable fact, of which Jigawa state of northwestern Nigeria is the most affected state this year.

Nevertheless, for Africa to adopt resolutions of the conference fully enough, countries that made pledges to support developing countries must be committed and any source of survival that must left for the good, must firstly be substituted with an alternative means.

COP 2022 must be a truthful rise to act collectively so as to see more meaning and right actions taken ahead of next conference in 2023.

Jibril Salisu Na’inna is a student and pan Africanist wrote from ABU Zaria.
Jibrilsalisunainna @gmail.com

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Opinion

Intervention Of Elder statesman :Way Out For ASUU- FG Face OFF

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Abdurrahman Joji Adamu

 

Abdurrahman Joji Adamu

The leadership of all University based unions should seek the audience and intervention of General Abdussalami Abubakar regarding the crisis and uncertainty of the Govt to address issues lingering in our Federal Universities, because the Federal government in my opinion, has adopted “competition” as the conflict mechanism tool to defeat ASUU and other University unions, The government is trying to satisfy their own desires at the expense of the other parties.

ASUU had in over the years being going on strikes, whenever they are on strike they table huge demands for the government to look into and addresses them, some of these grievances got considerate hiring by previous regimes and administrations. Part of the successes of ASUU strike overtime gave birth to tertiary intervention fund, which without tetfund intervention our Universities could have been like community public secondary schools.

This time around, the eight month strike had degenerates alot of war of words. looking at the aggressive nature of government ministers on the issue, series of meeting to resolve the strike were proved abortive until the intervention of the speaker of house of representative whom in his capacity and wisdom tried his best, ASUU agrees to back off.

It was apparent that all the striking unions were all tired and some are even ready for a fallback position. But the government in it inhuman nature has refused to give a compassionate attention on the matter by paying backlogs salaries to enable people go back to work, the repercussion had made so many of academic staff having no passion for their jobs anymore.

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Former president Goodluck Jonathan sometimes ago gave a highlight on how he solved the problem of ASUU then, in single day, without doubt we consider the statement of the former President as a challenge posed on President Buhari in order to take clue and expedite measures to resolve the strike issues, but the president gave an absent minded attitude on the lingering issue.

The essence of Government at whatever level is to provide leadership and service to the people. The arrogant nature of both ministers made negotiations deadlocked all times.

Those who think they are too big to serve should not be brought near public offices.

Ministers must not only be suitably qualified for their posts; they must also be willing to serve with all sense of expertise and humility.

With the inability of the ministers to make ASUU- cease fire on these stagnating negotiation and crafty promises, i think the president should re-visit the constitution in order to comprehend his presidential powers and duties accordingly.

 

 

Elder statesmen are seen globally as eminent senior members of a Nation especially : a retired statesman who unofficially advises current leaders. I believe the General can make peace out of these dilemma our Universities are facing. In record we have seen how the General chaired the peace accord committee in 2015 election and without doubt the committee conducted a brilliant work by making the power of incumbency irrelevant and opposition taking over the government.

I think the academics should search for a war veteran like him who has also fulfilled the promise of relinquishing power, perhaps he would advise the government impartially so they would understand.

 

Abdulrahman Joji Adamu
Write from Kano

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