NIGERIAN Communications Commission (NCC) is not set up for awards acquisitions, but the profound performance of the regulatory institution has continued to stand it out for recognitions. And this is because NCC has continued to set the pace for telecoms regulation in Africa. It is no surprise that it is the leading light among its peers on the continent. The tag “world class regulator” is definitely not a misfit given the avalanche of awards and commendations it has garnered over the years. That this feat is no fluke was underscored in May, when the NCC was again garlanded as the “African Regulator of the year” after winning the award for 2015 in Accra, Ghana. The effort was doubled about a week later when it also got rewarded with the “2016 European Society for Quality Research Award for Best Practices in Regulation”.
Several institutions in Asia, Europe, the Americas and the African continent, among others, including the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO), the Africa Telecommunications Union (ATU), the European Union, and African Union (AU) have variously commended NCC for its top notch regulatory performance.
At different times, several regulatory institutions from different climes have had to borrow a leaf from NCC on how to become better regulators in their domains. One of the most recent was the visit, last year, by the Telecommunication Regulatory Board (TRB) of Cameroun, which signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the NCC. Director-General of TRB, Monsieur Jean Louis Beh Mengue described the MoU as “a defining moment for us as regulators.” He said that TRB will benefit “in a new area where we acknowledge the NCC has more experience, where TRB can tap and benefit from its rich experience in areas such as the control of Quality of Service, Number Portability, Consumer Protection and passive infrastructure regulation, just to name a few.”
That NCC shone like the northern star at the Africa Information Technology and Telecoms Award (AITTA) which took place at the Kempinski Hotel, Accra, Ghana, the climax of a two-day 3rd West Africa Telecom Summit and Expo 2016, did not come to many as a surprise. The event was hosted by London-based Mobile World magazine and United Kingdom (UK) registered Instinct Wave Inc. Director, Public Affairs at NCC, Tony Ojobo, received the award on behalf of the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), Umar G. Danbatta. The award was presented by Ghana’s Chief Regulator and Director-General of the National Communications Authority (NCA), William Tevie.
The organisers said NCC emerged as the winner of the award based on the U.K. firm’s Intelligence Unit gathering of data across the African continent. The report said “NCC’s strong and committed effort to enhance competitiveness and innovation as factors of economic growth” made it the winner of the award. It also acknowledged NCC’s transparent regulatory activities, prudent management of spectrum and human resources, as the factors that stood the Nigerian regulator out among its peers.
According to the organizers, the NCC remains the pathfinder and first among equals as far as telecommunications activities are concerned, which is why it remains a shining example of how the sector should be regulated. Today, thanks to its diligence, Nigeria is the investors’ first choice for telecommunications investments in Africa. The organisers also said that Nigeria, by ITU’s assessment, recorded the highest and fastest growth in numbers connected in five years consecutively and so got global kudos for that and coming home to Africa, the continent has continued to benefit from NCC’s experience and expertise.
The active subscriber base of Nigeria surpasses those of several countries combined in Africa and Africa’s largest networks reside in Nigeria, all thanks to the robust regulatory activities of NCC. While dedicating the award to the Almighty God, Ojobo said the diadem is only “a motivation for the Commission to do more, in protecting both the consumers and operators.”
Other award winners from Nigeria included National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), (for Local content promotion in Africa), President of Nigeria Computer Society (NCS), Adesola Aderounmu (for promoting advancement of IT professionalism in Africa), Main One Cable Company (for Africa wholesale Telecom Company of the year), IHS Towers (for Africa Telecom Infrastructure Company of the year) and Stanley Jegede of Phase 3 Telecom (for Africa Telecom Entrepreneur of the year).
The Nigeria delegation included, Acting Director-General of NITDA, Vincent Olatunji, President, Association of Telecom Companies of Nigeria, ATCON, Olusola Teniola, his NCS counterpart, Adesola Aderounmu, Cyber Security Expert, Abdul-Hakeem Ajijola and Kazeem Oladepo, among others.