Examining Nigeria’s Leadership Role In CTO | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Examining Nigeria’s Leadership Role In CTO

Posted: Sep 24, 2015 at 12:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Stories by Emmanuel Okwuke,


With an annual growth rate of over 30 percent, a tech-based research firm, Pyramid Research, has rated Nigeria as having one of the fastest growing telecoms sector in the world.

This is because with over $32 billion local and foreign direct investment (FDIs), 150 million active telephone lines, mobile Internet users of over 90 million, while teledensity peaked at over 100 percent up from less than one percent in 2001, Nigeria’s telecoms sector has become a reference point globally.

Also, the country has developed a broadband policy, which is expected to be an enabler of faster economic development.

In the National Broadband Plan, the country has set an auspicious 30 percent broadband penetration target to be achieved by 2018 up from the six percent penetration recorded in 2013. Broadband penetration currently stands at 10 percent.

Furthermore, the regulatory regime provided by the telecoms regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has been recognised locally and internationally as one of the key factors to the accelerated growth being recorded in the nation’s telecoms market.

Already, a number of telecoms regulators from other African countries have also, at one time or the other, come to understudy the NCC. This feat has also propelled Nigeria to leadership position in some regional and International telecoms organisations such as the Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), where Nigeria recently took over the leadership position.

CTO Leadership

The 54-member nations of the CTO rose from its yearly Council meeting held last week in Nairobi, Kenya and elected Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the NCC as the new Chairman of the commonwealth body, a position help by the former NCC boss, Dr. Eugene Juwah until last week.

Chairmanship of the CTO, by its rules, is usually country-specific as that country’s chief telecoms regulator holds the position. Nigeria was elected into that position in 2014 and by the last election, the first tenure ended and another began.

Also, coming with the election of Danbatta was the resumption of Engr. Shola Taylor, another Nigerian as the Secretary General and Chief Executive of CTO.

Taylor was named Secretary General on June 16, 2015 in London, United Kingdom and subsequently took oath of office during the opening of the CTO Forum 2015 in Nairobi, Kenya.

The oath ceremony took place in the presence of over 400 participants, including representatives of over 30 member countries who attended the Forum, which took place on September 16 – 17, 2015.

Additional Responsibilities

With the re-election of Nigeria to the Chairmanship and Secretary General positions the country has effectively taken control of the affairs of the close-knit CTO and the country would be expected to be a major force in championing telecoms development, not only in its homeland but also deploy an Afro-centric approach to its regulation.

In a release signed by Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Mr, Tony Ojobo, he noted that after the election, Dambatta thanked member nations for the honour done to Nigeria and promised to provide visionary leadership that will take CTO to the next level.

Ojobo noted that Danbatta also commended the immediate past Secretary General, Prof. Tim Unwin, for his dedication to duty, which had positively impacted on member nations.

Transforming CTO

Speaking at the oath taking ceremony last week, Taylor assured of his readiness to work with necessary stakeholders towards making a difference in the telecoms landscape among the commonwealth nations.

He said: “I feel a high sense of responsibility to take this organisation to greater heights. It is indeed a big challenge and I am all set to build on the foundations of my predecessors. I did not take this job just to be seen talking. I want to make a difference and plant a new ICT tree at the CTO”.

More specifically, Taylor said he was determined to make a difference for all member countries in a number of areas such as mobile, science; aeronautical; maritime and radiolocation; fixed-satellite service; mobile-satellite service as well as satellite regulatory matters.

He promised to leverage on his robust national, regional and international experiences to unleash greater development in the member nations in the next one year.

Before his appointment as the Secretary General of CTO, Taylor has been the Chief Executive of Kemilinks International, a global ICT Consultancy firm based in Lagos, Nigeria.

CTO/ITU Collaboration

Meanwhile, representing the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Deputy Secretary-General, Malcolm Johnson, expressed the readiness of the Union to collaborate with the CTO to advance the development of ICTs throughout the Commonwealth.

He expressed full confidence in the ability of Shola Taylor, who early in the year narrowly missed being the Secretary-General of ITU, to lead the Organisation successfully and wished him well.

Stakeholders’ Upbeat

According to stakeholders in the Nigeria’s telecoms sector, the new leadership mantle bestowed on the country was a justification of the confidence and belief the member nations have in the Nigeria’s telecoms regulatory prowess, which, they said, had positioned the country as a force to reckon with in the global telecoms stage.

President of the Association of Telecoms Companies, Mr. Lanre Ajayi, said over the years, Nigeria has been playing noticeable role in the development of telecoms market in the African continent. “We have liberalised the sector and allowed more players to come into the market to play under good regulatory regime and this has deepened competition, which is good for the end users.”

Chairman, Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators of Nigeria (ALTON), Mr. Gbenga Adebayo on his part, noted that this new status of Nigeria, taking full control of CTO leadership is something that will impact generally on nations of the Commonwealth as they tap into the regulatory skills of Nigeria and specifically on Nigeria where the country is able to benefit from expected global collaboration with CTO.