For the telecommunications sector, the outgone year 2020 was an eventful one with a lot of landmark regulatory initiatives by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). The policies, programmes and activities of the Commission have further positively impacted the upward trajectory of the digital ecosystem in the year under review.
Also, the year 2020 came with a lot of challenges but the Nigerian telecommunications sector continued to record significant growth. The impressive performance and growth, made possible through effective regulatory initiatives emplaced by the telecoms regulator, under the leadership the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, was despite the apparent economic recession and headwinds occasioned by the global outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant lockdowns, especially in Nigeria.
The effective and future-proof regulatory regime by the NCC, coincidentally prepared the telecoms sector to be able to provide the needed digital valves that helped to keep the Nigerian economy afloat through seamless communication by individuals, businesses and government institutions in terms of voice and data services provided by telecoms operators, at a time when all other sectors of the economy were comatose.
A major development in the industry in 2020 was the reappointment of Prof. Danbatta for another five years term as the EVC of NCC, a presidential action that was resoundingly lauded by industry stakeholders, who described Danbatta “as a round peg in a round hole.” His reappointment and subsequent confirmation by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the third quarter of 2020 also helped to ensure industry sustainability and policy consistency, preparing the industry for increased growth. Danbatta came into office as EVC of NCC in August 2015 for a five- year period in the first instance. The first term ended in August, 2020 after which the he was reappointed by the President.
This sustainability and consistency in the leadership of the Commission and in policy initiatives under Prof. Danbatta in 2020, therefore, allowed the Commission to uninterruptedly carry on with a number of regulatory activities towards ensuring increased access to telecoms services, ensuring increased consumer education and protection, boosting security of life and property, sanitising the industry while also supporting other initiatives that aimed at boosting innovation in the telecoms sector and continuously galvanizing the country’s overall economic growth.
In the year under review, growth statistics and major regulatory initiatives and policies undertaken by the Commission which have continued to put the industry on the consistent path of growth and keep the telecommunications sector resilient to support the national economy, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, are examined.
According to official telecom industry data, the telecoms contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) increased to over 14.30% as of second Quarter of 2020, according to data obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). In financial value, the 14.30% translates to N2.272 trillion in Q2, 2020. Whereas, telecoms contribution as at December 2019 was 10.60%. Also, telecoms investment continued to grow in leaps and bounds in 2020 beyond $70 billion.
Active mobile voice subscribers increased from 184 million in December, 2019 to 208 million by October, 2020. This represents an additional 24 million active mobile lines accessed by Nigerians across mobile networks from December, 2019 to October, 2020. Accordingly, teledensity (the total number of telephone lines per hundred people in an area) increased from 96.76% in December, 2019 to 108.94% by October, 2020.
NCC’s regulatory activities also resulted in increased connectivity in the country. From, 126 million in December, 2019, Internet subscriptions rose impressively 152.9 million as of October, 2020. In the same vein, broadband (i.e. high-speed Internet) penetration maintained an upward swing to 45.93% in October, 2020, up from 37.80% in 2019.
Mobile Number Portability (MNP) service continued to offer wider option of service for telecoms consumers in 2020. In the year under review, 158,128 telecom consumers ported their lines between January-October, 2020, as against over 120,000 lines that were ported in 2019. The increase in MNP service usage is due to increased public education and awareness by the Commission’s head office and its zonal offices, as they intensified awareness on the availability, usage and benefits of MNP across geo-political zones. (Mobile number portability is a service introduced by NCC on mobile networks which allows telecoms consumers to switch from their current network to another preferred network, without changing their mobile number, when they feel a need to do so).
The Commission was able to successfully resolve over 98% of the total consumer complaints received from telecoms consumers via the NCC Toll-Free Number 622, NCC Consumer Portal, social media platforms and written complaints. Subscriptions by telecoms consumers to the NCC’s Don-Not-Disturb (DND) 2442 service reached over 30 million in 2020 compared with 22 million in 2019.
Furthermore, the following are the various regulatory initiatives embarked upon by the leadership of NCC, which has resulted in the impressive aforementioned statistics quoted above. Each of these is examined, in turns, below.
NCC’s New Strategic Management Plan (SMP) to drive Digital Economy
The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), in June, 2020, unveiled its new Strategic Management Plan (SMP) 2020-2024 as a pedestal to drive the implementation of the Federal Government’s digital economy vision. The launch of the SMP demonstrated the Commission’s serious improvement in performance matrix and its efforts in accelerating the implementation of the National Digital Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) and the National Broadband Plan (NBP) 2020 – 2025 of the Federal Government. The SMP, according to Prof. Danbatta, 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. It will also 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. The SMP 2020 – 2024 is the visioning document of the Commission for planning, monitoring, analysing, and assessment of the Commission to meet its goals and set objectives. It has five pillars, which include regulatory excellence, universal broadband, promote 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.
Continuous Driving of ICT innovations for growth
In 2020, the NCC continued its commitment to investing millions of Naira to drive Information and Communications Technology (ICT) innovations in the academia and while also supporting innovative ideas among young Nigerian tech innovators. Aside several ICT innovation challenge and Hackathon programmes such as the Covid-19 Virtual Hackathon initiated and implemented by the Commission, the NCC, instituted and endowed two additional Professorial Chairs to the tune of N40 million in two more Nigerian universities. The two universities – the premier University of Ibadan, Oyo State and Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi State, are endowed with N20 million each over the next two years to embark of massive research to promote innovation to drive socio-economic development in the country. This brings to four the number of tertiary institutions of learning that have benefitted from the NCC’s innovation-driving initiative, having endowed professorial chairs in Bayero University Kano (BUK) and Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO) in May, 2019.
Boosting FG’s revenue generation
The total remittances by NCC into the Federal Government’s coffers from 2015 grew and reached N344bn in 2020. The revenue was essentially generated from spectrum sales, operating surplus and sanctions. So, aside spectrum auctions, NCC also engaged in spectrum re-planning, re-farming to optimise the usage of the scarce resource while it continued to address the quality of service (QoS) delivery through effective monitoring of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and development of KPIs for Third Generation (3G) and Fourth Generation (4G) networks. All these are in a bid to ensure improved service delivery to telecom consumers. Interestingly, the Commission has received commendation on this financial performance from the House Committee on Telecommunications, who visited the Commission on an oversight function sometime in October, 2020. The committee commended the leadership of the Commission for its transparency in ensuring remittances to FG’s CRF, considering the current revenue drive of the government. The committee urged the NCC to sustain its current template of ensuring effective regulation of the telecoms sector in a manner that would be more mutually beneficial to the industry players, the consumers of telecoms services and to the Nigerian government.
NCC’s approval for the trial of e-SIM, and national roaming
In line with its commitment to always put Nigeria’s telecoms sector ahead of cutting-edge technologies that can revolutionise consumer experience, the Commission granted approval for two mobile network operators (MNOs), MTN Nigeria and 9Mobile, to carry out trial on the workability of embedded Subscriber Identification Modules (e-SIM) Service in Nigeria. The trial, approved to run for a period of one year, will involve testing 5,000 e-SIMs by the two networks, subject to compliance with a number of regulatory conditions. According to Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the primary objective of the e-SIM trial is to assess the technical performance of the e-SIM on telecoms service providers’ network towards eventual rollout, if satisfactory. He said the e-SIMs is a technology that will eliminate the need for physical SIM card slots on mobile devices in the near future, adding that the trial is in line with the Commission’s forward-looking regulatory approach to ensure Nigeria’s telecoms ecosystem is in tandem with global best practices.
Similarly, the Commission also granted approval for MTN and 9mobile trial on national roaming service for a period of three months, commencing from October 14, 2020 to end by January 13, 2020. The two telcos are expected to configure their networks to begin test and simulation for customer experience. The trial approval covers a few local governments, designated as the National Roaming geographic area, in Ondo State. Basically, roaming service will enable a mobile subscriber in Nigeria to automatically make and receive voice calls, send and receive data, or access other services when travelling outside a particular network geographical area by utilising the network coverage of other networks with roaming arrangements to access service. According to the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of NCC, Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the primary objective of the National Roaming Service trial is to encourage network resource sharing among operators. It is will also lead to operational expenditure (OPEX) optimisation and capital expenditure (CAPEX) efficiencies leading to freeing up of resources to expand mobile network coverage to unserved and underserved communities across the country, which will lead to improved Quality of Service (QoS) delivery to subscribers.
Review of InfraCo project for effectiveness
In the year under review, the NCC began a strategic review of InfraCo framework and their funding options. To this end, the Commission constituted a committee to review the framework for the licensing of Infrastructure Companies (InfraCo) and recommend sustainable funding options for effective implementation of the proposed national fibre project. It should be noted that the constitution of the committee was sequel to the requirements of the new Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP 2020-2025) and reports of relevant committees set up by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), which include the Inter-Ministerial Review Committee on Multiple Taxation on Telecommunications Operators over Right-of-Way (RoW) and the Technical Sub-Committee on Right-of-Way for Deepening Broadband Penetration in Nigeria. These requirements and reports relate to the imperative of reviewing the InfraCo framework to cater for the delays in take-off, change in exchange rate, supply chain and other challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Commenting on this, the EVC said, “The InfraCo project is dear to the government because of its ability to enhance robust and pervasive broadband infrastructure to drive service availability, accessibility and affordability.”
Continuous commitment to regulatory excellence, transparency and ethical standards.
The NCC has been ranked highest in terms of compliance to ethics and integrity among other sister agencies under the Federal Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy. The outstanding performance of NCC was contained in the recently released Ethics Compliance and Integrity Scorecard (ECIS), 2020 by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission’s (ICPC). With a total score of 81.15 per cent, the Commission topped the list among three other agencies under the Ministry, which featured in the intra-ministerial agencies’ ranking in ethics compliance and institutional integrity. The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) emerged second with a total score of 74.05 percent; Nigeria Communications Satellite Limited (NIGCOMSAT) came second with a score of 31.9 per cent while the National Information Technology development Agency (NITDA) occupied the fourth position with 17.65 per cent. The report underscores NCC’s critical role as a member of the Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU), which is the Federal Government’s vanguard for promoting ethics and ensuring compliance to ethical codes within the Nigerian Public sector. The ranking by ICPC, in addition to demonstrating NCC’s commitment to the orderly growth and development of the Nigerian telecommunications industry, underscores the Commission’s strategic role as a key enabler of positive change within Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape.
Further to this, the ICPC has on Thursday, December 10, 2020 in Abuja, inaugurated the NCC’s Anti-Corruption and Transparency Unit (ACTU). ACTU is the initiative of the ICPC, approved by the Federal Government to serve as an in-house mechanism for corruption prevention within MDAs, in line with global best practices of building strong institutions and institutionalising good governance in the fight against corruption. During the inauguration, Danbatta noted that that the ICPC itself has recently attested to the NCC’s high ethical values and professionalism as evident in the 2020 ICPC Ethics and Compliance Scorecard (IECS) report, where NCC topped other agencies in ratings. The EVC said the ICPC’s verdict also lends credence to the 2017 report of the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR)-piloted Self-Assessment Tool (SAT) deployed in MDAs, where the NCC came off with a Platinum Level (Exceptional) award that NCC was a level 5 (Platinum standard) organization, the highest rating possible under the BPSR Assessment.
Developing MVNO framework for increased telecom access
In the year under review, the Commission developed a Consultation on Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) Licensing Framework, essentially to bring another segment industry players, who will rely on existing operators’ network to offer services to Nigerians in the rural, remote, unserved and underserved areas of the country.
The MVNO framework is another initiative by the Commission to improve access and connectivity and it is based on NCC’s determination to introduce MVNOs’ services within the telecommunications market of the country. In pursuit of this, the Commission wishes to obtain comments from industry stakeholders and the general public on key considerations, which will be used to formulate a sustainable and efficient MVNO licensing framework, as well as a highly conducive regulatory regime that facilitates growth and development in the telecoms space, through competitive and differentiated services offered by these virtual operators.
Already, the document has been uploaded on the Commission’s website on December 10 and inputs from stakeholders on the MVNO document is expected to be obtained from members of the public within 21 days of the upload of the document on the Commission’s website. According to Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, upon closure of this period, the Commission will engage in deliberation sessions in an expedited manner to finalize its decisions about MVNO introduction in the market. A consultation report will then be generated and published to the public to create awareness of the Commissions decisions.
The Commission further noted that the consultation paper is in line with processes stipulated in the consultation guidelines put forward by the Commission in 2007. The Commission expected all comments received to be considered before making a final decision, although the commission may decline to use or consider anonymous responses. Comments and responses submitted are deemed independent from its respondent’s relationship with the Commission.
Sensitisation on Procedure for Lodging Consumer Complaints
The Commission leveraged its social media platforms and other legacy media to sensitise consumers of telecom services who are dissatisfied with services rendered to them by any of the Service Providers on the procedures for lodging their complaints to the Commission. They were continuously sensitised on their right to seek redress of any service-related issue by reporting to NCC after they would have reported to their respective service providers and are still not satisfied with the responses.
Continuous consultation on planned 5G technology deployment Following the misinformation, miscommunication, misunderstanding and misconception that greeted the trial of 5G by the NCC in 2019, the Commission in 2020 began a deliberate regulatory measure by developing a Draft Consultation Document on the Deployment of Fifth Generation (5G) Mobile Technology in Nigeria. The document defines the implementation plan for the deployment of 5G in Nigeria. It provides a background into the benefits of 5G technology and outlines the Commission’s plans and strategies for a successful implementation of 5G in Nigeria and clearly presents guidelines for the relevant areas of the technology and the expectations of the Commission from the operators. This Plan takes into account the expectations of all the stakeholders in the communications industry in Nigeria. Nigeria undertook 5G trials in selected locations within the country in collaboration with an Operator in 2019. The trial, among others, was to study and observe any health or security challenges the 5G network might present and the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, has clearly stated that “For the avoidance of doubt, as with the previous technologies such as 1G, 2G, 3G and 4G, the Commission will not commence 5G deployment without due consultation with all relevant stakeholders.”
Sanitising the industry of SIM-related crimes
The Commission is currently working with mobile network operators (MNOs) with other agencies such as the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) in line with Federal Government’s Directive, through the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, for telecoms subscribers to link their National Identification Number (NINs) with the SIM database with a view to addressing SIM-related crimes. In the year under review, spirited regulatory efforts were made by the Commission to remove improperly-registered SIMs from the networks and a number of arrest and convictions of fraudulently-registered SIM registration by ‘operators agents’ were also made to serve as deterrent to others who may be engaging in improperly-registered SIM cards, which is a criminal offence in the country and a threat to national security. The Commission also sensitized the consumers on this menace and encouraged them to stop the sale, purchase and use of pre-registered SIM cards as it constitutes a punishable offence under the law.
According to NCC, the use of pre-registered SIM cards gives cover for unwholesome activities like kidnapping, call masking, threat to lives, bullying, armed robbery, identity theft financial crimes and SIM swap fraud, among others. Closely related to this was the massive cybercrime sensitization that the Commission embarked on since the beginning of the year, culminating in a more widespread social media campaign in the month of October, with greater emphasis by the Commission on child online protection, considering the fact that most children now take Internet-based learning and educational instructions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and its attendant restrictions and the need to protect them online was taken as a priority for the Commission, as the regulator of the industry.
Counting benefits of MNOs listing on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. The Commission, in the course of the year, highlighted the huge benefits which its regulatory action of facilitating the listing of MTN Nigeria and other operators such as Airtel in the country’s stock exchange market in terms of economic gains to Nigeria and Nigerians, especially in the areas of boosting market capitalisation and yielding dividends to shareholders.
Market analysts report that MTN investors, alone, have raked in approximately N1 trillion in price appreciation and dividends since April 2020. The listing of MTN was as a result of NCC’s effective regulatory action taken during the mobile network operator’s fine settlement agreement in 2016, which compelled the telco to, among other things, list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). The listing was one of the outcomes of the NCC’s stringent regulatory posture, which served as tonic for other telcos such as Airtel to follow the same direction.
Continuing with spectrum trading initiative to boost connectivity The Commission this year lifted the suspension on the Spectrum Trading Guidelines (STG), 2018, pending the conclusion of the ongoing review of the Guidelines. The lifting of the suspension followed deliberations on the subject by the Board of NCC at its Special Board Meeting, which held on Wednesday, September 16, 2020. The Meeting was preceded by the suspension of the STG by the Board at its 96th Board Meeting held in May 18, 2020. “The Board was satisfied that, given the state of the consultation, it was possible to lift the suspension of the STG pending the conclusion of the review,” NCC said in a public notice in October, 2020.
The Commission had, in a statement issued on May 27, 2020, announced the suspension of STG 2018 for the Nigerian telecommunications industry and informed all licensed telecoms operators, prospective investors, industry stakeholders and the general public of the regulatory decision. The Board of NCC had earlier taken the decision for Spectrum Trading in response to telecommunications global dynamics, as well as the efforts to optimally utilise and maximise the benefits of Spectrum as a scarce resource. Spectrum is a limited resource, which, when inefficiently utilised, greatly limits broadband coverage and speed. The current Spectrum Trading Guidelines were developed in 2018 after industry-wide consultations and this instrument allows that the Spectrum resource be traded on the Secondary Market through Transfer, Sharing or Leasing (TSL) upon satisfying stipulated regulatory conditions.
According to the Commission, the Nigerian National Broadband Plan (NNBP), 2020-2025 launched by President Muhammadu Buhari in Abuja in March 2020, requires that these Guidelines be reviewed to ensure that unutilised Spectrum is fairly traded to facilitate rollout by other operators amongst others. The Guidelines will also help to address the need for ubiquitous broadband deployment to accelerate penetration and access in line with the economic Agenda of the Federal Government.
Review of ITR for Voice Services and Final determination of USSD pricing for mobile financial transactions
In September this year, the Commission (NCC) has embarked on a cost-based study to set the new pricing regime for mobile international termination rate (ITR) for inbound international voice calls in the country. The ITR is the rate paid to local operators by international operators to terminate calls in Nigeria.
As part of the process for the rate determination, the Commission organised a virtual stakeholder engagement forum with relevant industry stakeholders to intimate them with the ongoing cost-based study and the need to cooperate with Messer’s Payday Advance and Support Services Limited, the consultants engaged to carry out the study. Addressing the stakeholders in Abuja recently, the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the study has become imperative following the various implementation constraints arising from contending industry and market dynamics that met previous efforts at finding an optimum price for the termination of international voice services in Nigeria. Through the new ITR pricing, the Commission will be able to balance the competing objectives of economic efficiency and allow operators the latitude to generate reasonable revenue.
Additionally, the Commission, in furtherance of its mandate to protect the interests of consumers and support a robust telecommunications sector, revised its Determination on Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) pricing earlier published on the 23rd of July, 2019 and suspended by the Federal Government at the wake of its implementation by the operators. The amendment was necessitated following a protracted dispute between Mobile Network Operators and Financial Institutions on the applicable charges for USSD services and the method of billing. As a responsive and effective regulatory authority, the Commission recognises that its policies are not static and may be modified from time to time as circumstances demand. The NCC has, therefore, determined that Mobile Network Operators must not charge the consumers directly for the use of USSD channels for financial services in the form of end-user-billing. The transaction should be between the MNOs and the entity to which the service is provided (i.e. Banks and Financial Institutions).
Implementation of Accounting Separation Framework for Telecoms Industry
The NCC, this year, also commenced the implementation of the Accounting Separation Framework (ASF) in the Nigerian telecoms industry effective from July 15, 2020. The policy document, “Determination on the Implementation of an Accounting Separation Framework for the Nigerian Telecoms Industry”, which was developed via a consultative process in 2015, has undergone a comprehensive review by the regulator in collaboration with telecoms licensees and other critical industry stakeholders. The implementation will commence with six licensees include Airtel Nigeria, MTN Nigeria, Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited (9Mobile), Globacom Nigeria, Main One Cable Company Limited and IHS Nigeria. According to Danbatta, the Commission considers the Accounting Separation Framework “as an effective, least evasive and less costly solution to implement to meet its regulatory objectives”, adding that the implementation of the Framework is also a key deliverable for the Commission in the new National Broadband Plan (NBP), 2020-2025.”
Creation of Digital Economy Department to supports NDEPS
In continuation of its renewed strategy and vigour for effective delivery of its regulatory mandate, the Commission (NCC), in July 2020, created a Digital Economy Department, principally responsible for implementing programmes and policies aimed at fully supporting and promoting the national digital economy agenda of the Federal Government. The creation of the new department is in line with the Commission’s strategy to create a dedicated team, with the sole responsibility of giving necessary push to the promotion of digital economy vision of the Federal Government. According to Prof. Danbatta, “placing the newly-created department under the Office of the EVC also underscores the importance the Commission places on the need to successfully drive the overall national digital economy strategy of the government through ensuring its effective monitoring and supervision.” In addition to working with the eight pillars of the National Economy Policy and Strategy (NDEPS) document, the Broadband Implementation Unit in the Commission, hitherto placed under the Special Duties Department and all the staff of the Unit, are to move to the newly-created Digital Economy Department.
Already, Engr. Babagana Digima, an Assistant Director in the Special Duties Department has been moved and designated as the pioneer Head of the new department. The NDEPS, as a national policy document, was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari in November 2019 to add the needed impetus to the actualisation of the Federal Government’s Economy Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Increased inter-agency collaboration
In line with its inter-agency collaboration, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) in May, 2020, to ensure the tax agency ascertain accuracy and completeness of value added tax (VAT) elements and other taxes payable in the transactions of telecoms operators.
With the MoU, the FIRS will be able to integrate an application programming interface (API) technology solution with the systems of telecom Operators for independent verification of the amount of VAT that should be paid by mobile network operators (MNO) rather than relying entirely on the Operators’ books of accounts. The MoU with FIRS joined a long list of other orgainsations both in the public and private sectors which the NCC has collaborated with towards ensuring regulatory excellence, since telecoms percolates all the spheres of our society.
Gallery of awards with Zik Prize leading the pack.
The gallery of awards that came the way of NCC and its EVC this year is, no doubt, a testament to the recognitions of the excellent leadership ethos that are driving effective industry regulation at NCC. The highest of which is Zik Prize won by Danbatta in the professional leadership category. The prestigious award, which was presented to the EVC at an elaborate and well-attended annual Zik Prize 2020 organised by Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre (PPRAC) in Lagos on Sunday, December 6, 2020, was in recognition of Danbatta’s excellence regulatory finesse, which has resulted in accelerated growth of the industry since 2015. Other awards received in the course of the year include: The International Public Relations Association (IPRA) Golden World Awards (GWA) 2020 won by the Commission for its harmonized emergency number, 112 and the construction of Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) in 36 states of the Federation and the FCT with 19 states already operational and additional five ready for activation.
At the Security and Emergency Management Award (SAEMA) 2020, the NCC was declared Winner of ‘Emergency Management Security and Emergency Management Award and was additionally presented with a Certificate of Excellence for ‘Outstanding Accomplishments in Category of Emergency Management’ at the award.
Also, at this year’s edition of the Nigeria Tech Innovation and Telecoms Awards (NTITA), which held in November, 2020, Danbatta was honoured with the “Broadband Oxygenator of the Year” for his remarkable role and commitment to the development of broadband infrastructure to support the country’s digital economy drive while NCC, as a corporate organisation received the “Outstanding Contribution to Driving Greater Broadband Penetration Award of the Year.”
Earlier in August, 2020, two awards, ‘Human Rights Telecoms Defender’ for the EVC and ‘Human Rights Guard’ for the Commission, as a corporate entity, were presented by Wheel of Hope Human Rights Foundation (WHHRF), a frontline Nigerian Non-Governmental Organisation while the ‘Icon of a Greater Nigeria’ was also presented to the EVC by the Youth Coalition Against Corruption (YOCAC), a coalition of Nigerian youths from all walks of life. Coincidentally, WHHRF and YOCAC adduced similar reasons for finding the EVC and Commission deserving of the recognitions: for keeping Nigerians seamlessly connected in the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Also, in September, 2020, the National Association of State Assembly Legislators (NASAL) has in September, 2020, honoured the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta with a “National Service Excellence Award” for his transformational leadership in deepening access to telecommunications services across state constituencies of Nigeria in the last five years. Meanwhile, the winning of the aforementioned awards, among several others in the year under review, has been attributed by many industry stakeholders, stakeholders in the academia and traditional rulers in the country as a testament to the quality of leadership the NCC enjoys.
Corona was a blessing and also a curse. A blessing because it reminded us of the importance of life and how the slightest negligence can result in a worse accident.
It is also a reminder, of how the greatest asset of ANY government is their Human Resources and not their Physical Resources! From Dubai to Denmark, Cairo to Cape Town, and Los Angeles to Lagos, Covid 19 has disrupted our LONG-anticipated 2020, which was POPULARLY referred to as the golden year. Having said that, to move into a new era of 2021, our first attitude must be that of gratitude.
COVID 19 like a joke, came FASTER than a tsunami, crippled economies; stole the lives of many loved ones – without regards for political status, nationality or qualification. Some, who felt like gods, were REDUCED 6-feet down, but I repeat again, our first attitude must be that of gratitude.
As we keep extending our condolences to families of those that have lost their loved ones, WE USE THIS opportunity to remind us that COVID is real and the fear of Corona is the beginning of wisdom.
THIS YEAR, we’ve had to fight lotS of battles…from the Black Lives Matters, where discrimination and racism held the breath of our brothers in America, to the death of the Iconic sports entrepreneur – Kobe Bryant.
THE WHOLE WORLD, was held in SHOCK, when we woke up to the death of our Wakanda brother – Chadwick Boseman; we can’t still get over the death of radio personality – Dan Foster;
The explosion that erupted in the small city of Beirut, which was SO LOUD that the whole world felt the cry of our Lebanese brothers. History will never forget the controversies surrounding the American election, where one man almost DISRUPTED the democratic foundation that has held a nation for over 200 years.
It goes on and on! Our fine pilot leader Jerry John Rawlins, one of the champions of African nation! No other man has captivated the world in mental and physical dribblings like Diego Armando ‘Maradona’!. We at Sujimoto extend our deepest condolences to the family and the people of Argentina! Ladies and gentlemen, we shall not move into a new era, without first making our attitude be that of gratitude!
While still recovering from this HORRENDOUS pandemic, the EndSARS protest happened! The EndSars agitation was not only about the brutality of the Special Armed Robbery Squad, but a way to put an end to the historical and institutional looting of our educational palliative, infrastructural, economical and medical palliatives.
The EndSARS protest was to put an end to the injustice and institutional looting of the common wealth of our nation! And my first attitude is that of gratitude to my brothers and sisters, for lending our voice, knowing that one tweet can travel and start a conversation, that can change the narrative of our generation.
From the corners of Kastina to the borders of Borno, INSECURITY has become the bedrock of our nation. Inflation has skyrocketed, causing food insecurities, making life difficult for the COMMON MAN. EVEN Onions has become the local man’s diamond!
Economic chaos, job losses and Inflation, has made people commit suicide and many carring their bags seeking for opportunities in Canada.
In spite of COVID 19, the tension of #EndSars and the face of recession, we were FACED with two options; we had a CHOICE to give up or find opportunities where others saw calamity.
At Sujimoto, we made the choice to CONVERT our fears into fortunes, WE created NEW iconic projects, that will not only compete with the best locally but stand among giants globally!
The Leonardo – the most sophisticated residential building in Banana Island, WHERE every inch from foundation to finishing will elaborate the true essence of luxury. We took Abuja by storm and created Queen Amina -a luxury twin tower in the HEART of Maitama, designed to disrupt any form of mediocrity in the real estate industry.
We didn’t stop there! We are creating the Sujimoto Diamond City, where we would have about 1200 apartments, 98,000sqm of office spaces, 2 five star hotels, 20,000 seater conference hall, 10,000 car parks, hospitals, sport centre, independent power centre and many more…CREATING a mini Dubai in the centre of Lagos!.
What we couldn’t achieve in 5 years, we’ve achieved in 5 months! THIS WAS only made possible because we made a CAUTIOUS decision to turn our problems into opportunities and our fears into fortunes. YOU TOO can do the same but first, we MUST NOT enter into a new era, without attitude be that of gratitude.
From Kaduna to Calabar, Awka to Ikeja and Ikorodu to Ikoyi, I USE this opportunity to call on ALL NIGERIANS, to unite against the DISEASE of tribalism and enter the new era of 2021 with the attitude of gratitude.
Opportunity has no tribe or religion, but SHE ONLY understands entrepreneurship! I have travelled all over the world and trust me, Nigeria is the BIGGEST ground for uncommon Opportunities!
The Nigeria of the Adenugas, Dangotes and the Coscharis, IS THE SAME Nigeria where a Lebanese man can come as a Trader and become an industrialist; an Indian comes as a Storekeeper and end up a Manufacturer!
This can only happen because while many realist and pessimist are discussing, these guys are taking optimistic advantages that is changing the narratives of their destiny. We too can do the same by making a CONSCIOUS decision to turn our Lemon into Lemonade and produce diamonds from our coal.
To Nigerians home and abroad, and everyone who has made 2020 beautiful for us, we say may the odds be in our favour as we enter a new era!
Once again, let’s not forget the essence of making our attitude that of gratitude. BE a source of HOPE to the hopeless, because 2020 has shown us all that when your neighbour is hungry, your chicken is not safe!
I knew it was not going to be a walk in the park but I must confess I didn’t know it was going to be this intense. Thirty years in the newsroom toughens you but this, running points on information management of the state is like jogging uphill constantly. Try and imagine that, jogging uphill everyday. You know what that does to you? Even if you don’t jog, you can picture how hard that can be. One of the things it does to you is you want the nights to be long so you can postpone the jogging.
Then you begin to ‘unlike’ the sight of your beautiful red trainers, the sexy jogging pants that leave the guys drooling when you roll pass them. All you wanna do is curl up under the duvet and sleep some more.
In your dream, ah ah. May be in the next life but if you are Commissioner for Information and Civic Orientation in Osun State, you must love jogging uphill, befriend your trainers and learn to ignore those who are panting and drooling after your sexy behind. Seriously.
It’s been more than one year since I officially was sworn in into this office. I’m supposed to have relaxed into the job, right? I’m supposed to be used to the hard grind and merciless hours, right? Wrong on both counts, well done.
First, everyday is production day. Yeah. You are constantly alert, watching out for the darts and bullets. Too many people using your principal as target practice.
My principal, the Governor, he takes it in his strides. He says politics is interesting and that he signed up for service. Good for him. Bad for my shape. Ruins my make-up too.
I hope he’s not reading this.
Those using Oyetola as target practice, why are they doing it in the first place? Why have they chosen to go jogging in their dancing shoes?
First, they didn’t think Mr. Adegboyega Oyetola was going to pose any problem. Osun is broke. He will not be able to pay salaries. He will not be able to clear the backlog of pension arrears. And if he’s struggling with those basics, where will he find funds to do any meaningful projects. So, the bad guys figured, indeed were convinced that Oyetola was going to be easy meat. They figured wrong. They have since discovered that joggers, not dancing shoes were what they need for this race and round. So, each time they look at the remains of their ruined shoes and bleeding feet, they just grab at anything and hurl at the Governor .
I understand their pain. Poor, poor folks. But my guys (as Prosper would say in the TV comedy series, My Flatmates), you need to calm down, accept that this ain’t the race you will win.
All your permutations are destined to miss the mark. Oyetola is determined to make his mark, regardless of every distraction.
How did Governor Oyetola pull the rug from under those who thought he’d not be able to deliver? He ended the season of unpaid or half-paid salaries. The people who run the machinery of government deserve their wages. He pays consistently the backlog of retirement benefits. He implemented the payment of 100% CONMESS (for doctors) and CONHESS (for other health workers). He topped that with the implementation of the new minimum wage, lifted the ban on promotions. Now, workers, active and retired are happy and praying for him.
To think that election campaigns in these parts for a while had been about unpaid and half-paid wages, what are ‘my guys’ going to do now?
Oh, the projects executed, being executed and about to be commissioned are in dozens. Commissioners and heads of agencies are kept on their toes to deliver, all of us. So, every sector has been touched. The empowerment programs excite me. The joy on the faces of the members of Old Students Associations whose schools got their grooves back is awesome. The Primary Health Care Centers have been retrieved from the Snowball, Napoleon and Old Major of Animal Kingdom. From Agric to Commerce, Transport and Works to Security, things are looking up and there is hope Osun will be better than Oyetola met it.
But I must confess, the experience has been awesome. Wait, that does not mean I like all of them. Yes, I like the traditional drummers because I naturally like to dance. So when I step out of my car and the drummers swoop on me, I let go. They cheer me up and in any case, I have to part with some money, so I might as well get value for my investment, right? They drum, I dance a little and pay a little. Sometimes that happens four times in one day. Didn’t I tell you, this job is not a sit-in-your-office-and-drink-coffee job? You are all over the place. I report, I write, I come up with story ideas, I proof read and do all the attached politics.
My biggest lesson though is, there are still good men among our leaders. Not all of them are selfish and self centered. The day Governor Adegboyega Oyetola said to me: “Funke, I don’t want you responding to all those distractors on social media. I want to only see reports about what government is doing. I don’t want any distraction. Just promote and publicise what I’m doing. No embellishment. Strictly what you can defend.”
My jaw dropped. I quickly picked it before it landed on the floor. Wow, is this Governor a politician? Is he one of us? That was in January 2020. I swallowed hard and told myself he’d soon change. Is he not a governor, a Nigerian politician, baked in our political oven? He’d soon know ’whatsup’ and wise up. But Oyetola is still the same old kind, level-headed, warm, soft-spoken, measured leader. Not even the attack on his life in October changed him. Not the looting, not Endsars. Sure-footed daddy of all. He wouldn’t even let anybody be ‘convicted’ for flouting Covid-19 protocols. ‘Go and rev up the enlightenment, Funke. Yes, let them sit by the roadside. But don’t turn anybody into an ex-convict. They’ll need to fill forms, travel out of the country when all this blows over. Let’s look beyond today.”
I’ve learnt how to be calm in the face of extreme provocation. The foolish girl that broke the windscreen of the vehicle I was in the day the Governor was attacked would not have gone scot-free if I wasn’t copying Mr Oyetola. Even my closest family are shocked at how I’ve handled that.
After all the shots, axes and cutlasses attack, all Mr Oyetola had to say to me is: ‘set the records straight. I don’t want their lies to gain traction. Let’s do the decent thing.” Ah, I wanted to fight o, I must confess, because those goons almost made my children orphans that day. But I have calmly reported them to God and the host of heaven. It was not easy to be calm considering many things. Hmmmm. But this Governor teaches you daily not just by what he says, how he says it, but also what he does. Like I told him, I’m ‘prouding’ because he has shown that you can be a politician and still be a good man, that you can love the people you govern even when your life is threatened. He has made my job easy too. It’s been one year and sixty days of very long hours but this apprentice politician from the newsroom is learning fast.
In its new Television Commercial, First Bank tells a story that reflects the beginning of modern banking and how the bank has consistently grown with Nigeria’s enterprises through partnership and innovation. Raheem Akingbolu writes
When the promoters said First Bank was “truly the first, many grudgingly agreed. But deep inside its competitors – the possible grudging camp – is the truth regarding the extreme distance the bank has given others in performance and people relevance of its operations! They knew the bank was not bluffing. Not only has it rediscovered itself, but the ability to shed its ancient mindset in terms of operations and blend with modern trends in banking have left many agreeing that perhaps, the saying that the older the wine the better it gets in taste actually applies to First Bank.
Its new television commercial (TVC) says it all: a combination of historical renaissance and quite prescient validation of the innovation that usually drives its bewitching communicational ads. From the groundnut pyramids of the north, which was the symbol of the regions commercial edge and the cocoa bean mountains of Western Nigeria to the rubber plantations of the East and Mid-eastern region, First Bank has applied its new campaign to remind its decades-old patrons, customers, and even competitors, that the beat has refused to abate.
Throughout the campaign, First Bank subtly registers itself in the minds of the banking public that it’s entirely Nigerian – past, present, and the future. The well-crafted historical simulation captures how First Bank opened its first branch in Lagos in 1894 and started helping merchandise and local traders to grow their businesses. The excitement and enthusiasm on the faces of the bank’s early customers after getting their cash books from the Lagos office say it all.
Like someone who has gotten a glimpse of what the future holds with banking, the customers express surprises and happiness. The commercial captures the mood and goes back in memory lane on how the bank has helped many people succeed in their ventures. Subtly, the narrator takes viewers to Kano and reveals how the then richest men in the commercial city were making their deposit of 20 bags of Silver in an atmosphere that looks like the first operational day of the bank.
Perhaps the beauty of the commercial lies more in the way it strikes a balance between the ancient and the modern days through setting and swapping of background colours.
This was cleverly explored by those who conceptualised the TVC, especially in referencing the way the bank transformed into an online haven, driven by technology.
While reminding the patrons of the bank’s transformation and technological advancement, the narrator is quick to talk about the expansion of the bank beyond the shores of Nigeria to the West-African region and beyond. The TVC also positions FirstBank as a socially responsible brand by touching on various initiatives it has embarked on. Specifically, First Bank’s contribution to Sports through its support for football and athletics is captured very well.
For all these achievements, the narrator narrows the story to the bank’s ability to produce two governors of the nation’s apex bank –the Central Bank of Nigeria, apparently referring to Dr. Joseph Oladele Sanusi and Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. It will be recalled that Dr. Sanusi was appointed by the Federal Government as the Governor of CBN in May 1999 by President Olusegun Obasanjo, serving until May 2004. Sanusi was picked as a safe and conservative banker. He resumed the same day the former President Obasanjo was sworn in on May 29, 1999. He assembled his team of “eggheads” as Deputy Governors, a perfect mix of public and private sector experts. The Central Bank made remarkable progress under his leadership.
Then on 1 June 2009, the second First Bank product, Lamido Sanusi was nominated as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria by President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua; his appointment was confirmed by the Nigerian Senate on 3 June 2009, during the global financial crisis. It is on record that against all odds, the new helmsman superintended the transition and consolidation in the then wobbling and ailing banking sector into a virile and solid financial transactions sector.
Sanusi remained in office and continued his wonders until former President Goodluck Jonathan took over. In this position, Sanusi won the prestigious international award of “Central Banker of the Year.” Succinctly speaking, the TVC captures the 126 years history of First Bank. It also shows that the bank’s long years of existence notwithstanding, its handlers haven’t allowed complacency to dampen the drive to position the nation’s number one financial institution as the best and one of the best brands that are making Africa proud. For 126 years, FirstBank has navigated Nigeria’s banking landscape, supporting businesses and building other brands.
But the FirstBank story is that of not giving up despite all odds. However, the greater story hasn’t been told by those who daily promote it, but the hope of financial security it has consistently given to the ultimate owners of the brand – the banking public – continues to resonate. This explains why, in a country where the mortality rate is high in the market, the brand still remains a reference point, when it comes to building an enduring African brand in all the years of its existence.
Last, year, the Bank commemorated its 125th anniversary, and the event created a unique opportunity for it to distinguish itself quite clearly from other Banks and organisations in Nigeria, Africa, and the world. Through the anniversary celebrations, the team was able to reiterate that FirstBank has been part of Nigerians, enabling them financially and securing their businesses through needful supports and advisories, ultimately achieving their customer-centric goals.
FirstBank has today become a pivotal integral of Nigerians as individuals and Nigeria’s corporate history.
According to them, this sets the brand clearly apart in a space of its own, as a Bank that is beyond comparison – one which has woven into the fabric of the society for many years and has continued to be relevant, relentlessly and unrelentingly.
“You have less than a 100 years to make a mark.”
Three years ago, I started searching for a table based on two basic considerations. First, I wanted a functional table to get work done.
One that wasn’t too high or too low but would lend support to my posture and allow me work for long hours easily. The second consideration was more complicated but can be summarized in a single word — Legacy.
Legacy means what you inherited from the people before you — your dad, mum, relatives or loved ones. The flip side, seldom contemplated, is that legacy also means what you bequeath to people after you — your children, wife, siblings etc.
When I started searching for a table, I had three people work individually on the task. I was certain that they would deliver but unfortunately, none of the options made the cut. So my search continued until last Friday. Over three years later, and I finally found the table for me. A table with such immense beauty.
For the purpose of context, let me create a clearer picture for you. Post my midlife crisis (check my medium article re “Midlife Crisis”), I came up with 21 core rules to mitigate the effect of midlife crisis. In this article, I will dwell on one of those rules, which is the “legacy script”.
Legacy is a consolation prize for our inability to achieve immortality — if you can’t live forever, try to be remembered forever or at least for some time after you leave (die).
Following this core rule, I started searching for ways to build my legacy. Before I turned 40, it was all about making money. I never really thought about what I would do with all that cash when I finally made it but I just knew that I wanted to be insanely successful. Some people equate this to having insane amounts of cash but I think otherwise. Very few men have been immortalized by purely amassing wealth. We see instances where after men like this die, their wealth is scavenged and they quickly become forgotten once that well runs dry.
But a legacy built on more than just cash can endure. It is easy for exceptionally talented folks to build a legacy on their bodies of work but men of capital and wealth don’t easily achieve that status, hence my quagmire. It meant that even if I succeeded in making enormous wealth, there was no guarantee that I’d also have a legacy that endures.
The legacy script is the definition or outline of what you want to leave behind or how you want to be remembered when you are gone. It is more or less what becomes your brand, post existence. I dare say that life is an art form and like artists, we all have the opportunity to paint the picture of our lives, our legacy, and the first step to achieving that is articulating your legacy script and ensuring the following:
- It is relevant to and serves humanity — Functional
2. It is acceptable to most — Acceptance
3. And can be built into the consciousness of humanity — Consciousness
Let’s evaluate one of the greats with a remarkable legacy, Nelson Mandela. He served humanity by advancing the course of freedom and equality (Functional). The concept was acceptable to most, though progressively in the course of the struggle (Acceptance). And the entire story of his life has been summarized in a powerful way makes his brand endure (Consciousness). In the moment of victory, he was gracious enough (or wise enough) to show compassion and opt for reconciliation, not retaliation.
Another person with a powerful legacy is our very own Fela. He had the benefit of making remarkable music — of course as a result of talent and extraordinary hard work, which grabs the consciousness of humanity. But he applied his gift and resultant attention to advancing the course of humanity and freedom for his people.
The last component of this legacy script, “consciousness” requires a bit more explanation. You may achieve a great deal, but if it doesn’t grab the consciousness of humanity, it blunts the impact of your legacy. The significance of your legacy is reduced, because the lack of consciousness prevents the legacy from contributing to moulding and influencing society’s ideas/ideals and truly inspiring the next generation.
For musicians and truly talented individuals, the task of legacy consciousness is easy. Burna Boy, who in my view became the biggest African Artist ever, has grabbed the consciousness of humanity and the question now is what he does with it. On the other hand, mere mortals like us, regardless how much you are worth, you have to first check the “functional” and “acceptance” boxes and then push for consciousness. This is direct opposite for a talented individual, e.g. a musician.
The art of building consciousness can be mostly achieved through the following:
- By telling compelling stories. Authentic stories based on “functionality” and “acceptance”
- Creating symbolisms through visual arts and acceptable mediums
- Music and all forms of entertainment that can hold and project your message
The list above is not exhaustive, but the ideas border on symbolism and the Arts, which brings me back to my story of the “Table”. I aspire to build and support companies that will collectively form the basis of Nigeria’s economic emergence. I am positive that with VFD Group Plc and its associated subsidiaries, we will achieve this. It is a compelling story thus far and it will be way more compelling as we go along but that in itself doesn’t grab the consciousness of humanity.
“Being a mere billionaire is boring and holds no consciousness, you have to combine it with something more humane, something more impactful on humanity and inspires generations”.
What this quote is basically saying is, you have to lace your actions with symbolism to truly make it a legacy. The table is one of such attempts. The table is functional, acceptable as a means of getting the job done but the artistic dimension is what loads it with the right type of message to, alongside other things, grab the consciousness of humanity with the aim of inspiring.
It is not just an ordinary table, it is an assemblage of works by various artists that was fused to form a functional table. The core of it, the surface, was crafted in 1987 by Owie S. E. and it depicts the culture and history of Nigeria and its various ethnic groups. A stunning beauty but now a symbol of a possible Nigerian Economic emergence.
The consciousness of legacy is deeply rooted in arts thus any society that doesn’t reverence artists, living or dead, loses the opportunity of projecting their individual and collective legacy. This a story for another day as I have been told that my last article was “way too long”.
The concept of a “legacy script” is based on the fact that if we all, individually and collectively, strive for a higher purpose that serves humanity, the world, our continent, countries and immediate communities will be better off.
What is your legacy script?
Nonso Okpala is the GMD/CEO of VFD Group (Viadaz FD Limited), a financial services holdings company in Nigeria with interests in foreign exchange, debt investment, international remittance, real estate and payment businesses.
Over the past nine years, pay-tv operator on Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT), GOtv Nigeria, has remained consistent in ensuring subscribers get the best deal at an affordable rate. The customer-focused organization, which marked nine years of operation in October, have shown through their numerous campaigns that their main goal is to ensure that many households enjoy top-class television entertainment delivered via the most modern broadcast technology on the DTT platform.
The company not only provides its subscribers with a wide access to affordable information and entertainment which has a rich mix of informative, educative and entertaining programming, but they also empower young Nigerians to make them contributors to the economic and social well-being of the country with youth empowerment initiatives
With its latest pay-off line, ‘Love it’ let’s take a look at 9 ways GOtv Nigeria has endeared itself to Nigerians and become a preferred option for families.
- Promotion of Local Content: GOtv continuously promotes local content on the three Africa Magic channels broadcasting exclusively vernacular content, as well as the family-oriented channel, AM Family which provides viewers with a variety of local programmes as well as popular Nigerian series/dramas such as; The Johnsons, Flatmates, Halita and Ajoche. This has given producers a lucrative outlet for their craft and has brought investments in the acquisition of local creative content.
- Impressive Sports and International Content Line-up: GOtv parades a right mix of content and delivers it to people from different walks of life with different viewing needs – whether it’s riveting reality shows, the excitement of international football leagues or the latest blockbusters. Subscribers get the best of the Spanish and Italian football leagues, select matches of the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League romantic telenovelas, action dramas, reality programming, documentary, entertaining kiddies’ content and many more.
- Enhanced Service Options: GOtv has consistently invested in technology that enables subscribers manage their accounts without hassles. Subscribers get to mana,ge notifications settings, change their subscription package, update contact details, fix decoder errors, pay for their GOtv accounts and view their payment history using their mobile devices without physical presence at the company’s outlets. The various self-service options are My GOtv App, USSD Code *288#, Paga, Quickteller, ATM, Bank Apps, MultiChoice Outlets/Sabi Men and Toll-free numbers that cut across the four dominant telco networks in Nigeria.
- Naija-centric Packages: These localized packages exclusively designed for the Nigerian market, offer quality content at great value for subscribers. With the GOtv Max, subscribers get to enjoy the widest variety of choice entertainment including the best selection of sport at NGN3600 and get over 75 channels; GOtv Jolli package guarantees affordable, unmissable viewing across 68+ channels, with flexible payment options so subscribers save without compromising on entertainment at NGN 2460; GOtv Jinja offers over 50 channels at NGN1640.
- Promotion of Sports in Nigeria: Beyond providing top-notch entertainment for its subscribers, GOtv has also helped in reviving boxing in Nigeria. GOtv is currently the biggest supporter of Nigerian boxing through the immensely successful GOtv Boxing Night, which is widely regarded as the biggest boxing show on the continent. GOtv’s intervention, which began in 2014, was conceived to revive the sport reeling from decades of gross underfunding and poor organization. Alongside GOtv Boxing Night runs the GOtv Boxing NextGen Search, a talent discovery and nurturing scheme that has provided an impressive number of future boxing champions since its launch in February 2016.
- Commendable Empowerment Schemes: The GOtv Sabiman schemes provides young Nigerians with technical training that enables them to resolve various issues related to the GOtv service. Sabimen go door-to-door in their assigned neighborhoods to resolve issues of connection and assist subscribers to renew their subscription through e-payment platforms. A similar initiative is the GOtv Canvasser Scheme through which young people are provided basic marketing skills to enable them make GOtv products more accessible to subscribers. Another social-economic empowerment initiative is the “Moms and Pops”, which makes just a little capital requirement from participants to be GOtv sales agents. GOtv through these schemes has empowered over 6,000 young Nigerians and employed more than 10,000 dealers, retailers, installers and sales agents.
- Advanced DVB-T2 digital broadcasting standard: GOtv premiered the advanced DVB-T2 digital broadcasting standard. This guaranteed premium grade audio-visual quality and at the same time showed readiness to lead the country’s march towards digitization.
- Support of Digital Switchover in Nigeria: In addition to being the first operator to adopt the use of DVB-T2 in Nigeria, GOtv Nigeria is the first DTT operator to back the Federal Government’s efforts at raising awareness about the digitalization process. In support of National Broadcasting Commission’s (NBC) digital migration flag-off in Jos, Details Nigeria launched the “Digilevelz Don Land, No Carry Last” campaign, which covered 26 cities across the country and boosted public awareness and understanding of the process.
- Pioneering Audio Channels: In another pioneering move, GOtv Nigeria became the first DTT operator to carry audio channels on its platform with the launch of Wazobia FM and Naija FM.
A woman, Hajiya Habiba Aliyu, has filed a civil suit before the Federal High Court, Kano, seeking N250m damages against a textile firm and five others for alleged infringement on the rights of her deceased daughter, Nafisa Aliyu.
Habiba claimed that the defendants used her daughter’s pictures and artworks on their textile materials without any permission.
She alleged that the defendants copied the artworks of her late daughter on Facebook and used them to attract customers.
Habiba, through her counsel, Aliyu Suleiman-Jatau, argued that selling, marketing retailing, and distributing of Mudatex Textiles Materials and products of the other four defendants with the artwork pictures of her deceased daughter infringed on her rights.
Other defendants in the suit are a Chinese national, Ms Ling Haiying; Hongkong Runda Textile Company Limited, Mudatex Brothers, Dan Kano and Sani Tahir.
The presiding judge, Justice Sa’adatu Ibrahim-Mark, adjourned the case till December 11, 2020, to hear the preliminary objection.
The recent events of the country have showcased clearly how the digital age is a pretty difficult one to manage. Many thanks to the very much information that is out there and can be assessed by a simple sign up. This has also indicated how much challenging the task before President Buhari has been and how his successor must be a proven digital savvy individual in order that there can be a transition between war against indiscipline and corruption and a need to get the buy-in of the young Nigerians and their quick and digital expectations.
This I’m sure resonates with what any reasonable youths wants to see going forward.
It has not been a secret especially for those who follow up with me that I had since thrown up the #DigitalAgenda23, a cause which presents Dr Isa Ali Pantami, the current Minister of Communications and Digital Economy as being worthy of piloting the affairs of the nation by being Buhari’s successor or at least being a Vice to a southern candidate should the argument for rotational presidency become fruitful. I had highlighted his political suitability in my November 4, 2019 article titled ‘Isa Ali Pantami as Near Perfect Fit for 2023 permutations’ and which can be found here https://opinion.premiumtimesng.com/2019/11/04/isa-ali-pantami-as-near-perfect-fit-for-the-2023-permutations-by-hashim-suleiman/.
In today’s piece however, I am highlighting his technical competence at looking the part with regards to the needed ideology for the kind of leadership required to solve the much problems that have been clearly understood now and that President Muhammadu Buhari is trying to solve by first allowing a democratic identification of them and initiating many policies that would attempt to solve them but this surely requires someone who would consolidate on them and that person has to be digitally inclined thus our initiation of the #DigitalAgenda23.
For every society that truly wishes to progress, there has to be deliberate effort at employing visionary and critical thinking in the analysis of issues and the possible way forward and this has to be employed devoid of emotions and sentiments. For some of us who have always had interest in the public space for over 6 years now, we can say categorically that we understood the current happenings of the country to be related to the young people’s hunger of seeing one of theirs attain leadership status so there can be familiar conversations. What some of them don’t understand however is that nations go through processes of evolution and those processes have to always be appreciated too. President Buhari is the nexus between those stages and we do understand that now is the time for a digital political ideology even though that also has to be done with caution because power is usually negotiated for and not to be snatched.
Furthermore, even before the current protests and agitations, some of us have known and identified the need for a digital transition but found it hard to find an icon that could champion such until the coming of Dr Isa Ali Pantami as DG, NITDA when we noticed that a man had emerged who looked the part owing to his age, education, moral uprightness and digital awareness. We put him under the radar and observed him until he vindicated us by working hard enough to merit a ministerial position where he on assumption to duty immediately hit the ground running as is typical with the expectation of a digital mind. He immediately reengineered the ministry to conform to the expectations of a society that truly requires transformation into a 21st century one. At this point we birthed the #DigitalAgenda23 and it was high time every right thinking Nigerian young person keys into it and equally flies with it.
At the last count, Dr Pantami had commissioned over 500 digital economy projects around the country in about 4 years and appeared more than willing to do much more. Again there had been about 68,000 individuals who had been trained to acquire digital skills. The man then capped up all these with his willingness to identify young visionaries and catapult them to stardom as in the case of the cerebral 40 year old Kashifu Inuwa Abdullahi whom succeeded Dr Pantami as the DG of NITDA. You can clearly see how he is willing to create and expand a sort of dynasty of young men who he will not stop at ensuring they achieve much more technically and politically. While Dr Pantami has merited the leadership of the National Digital Agenda come 2023, the expectation is for his dynasty members to look to see to their emergence in different leadership cadres be it legislature or State executives.
Finally, I am using this medium to congratulate the Nigerian youths who now appear hungry for leadership and incidentally have one of them who has distinguished himself for the task and this leaves the only hurdle to be a proper mobilization of the youth constituency with a view to accepting the leadership of Dr Pantami as the driver of such movement. The agenda is however subject to engagements and conversations going forward and we are very much open to it. We shall soon open the conversation up and we encourage every youth who regard themselves as fit and worthy of leadership to present themselves so we can all form a formidable team for the actualization of a progressive digital Nigeria through #DigitalAgenda23.
A new Nigeria has birthed!