A resounding chorus of praise has emanated from a stakeholder group within Nigeria’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector, expressing admiration for the exceptional leadership of Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), and the unprecedented achievements witnessed in the country’s telecommunications sector.
This group, operating under the auspices of the Nigeria Information Technology Reporters’ Association (NITRA), has credited Danbatta’s visionary leadership with overseeing a remarkable transformation in Nigeria’s telecom sector. This transformation has transcended previous limitations and elevated it as a symbol of progress. During his eight-year tenure as the EVC of the NCC, the sector attracted an astounding $77 billion in investments, propelling it to the forefront of Nigeria’s economic landscape.
Danbatta’s leadership has also been acknowledged for its substantial contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), currently standing at an impressive 16 percent, a significant increase from the 8 percent it contributed in 2015. The sector’s undeniable financial impact is exemplified by a recent report from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which disclosed a substantial N2.508 trillion contribution to the nation’s GDP in the first quarter of 2023, representing 14.13 percent.
Chike Onwuegbuchi, the National Chairman of NITRA, highlighted a key achievement recognized by the ICT community, which is Danbatta’s bold decision to embrace 5G technology. This strategic move positioned Nigeria as an early adopter in the global digital economy, resulting in the generation of $820.8 million for the federal government from 5G spectrum license fees paid by leading operators.
“Furthermore, the issuance of a license to Elon Musk-owned SpaceX for Starlinks broadband services, a satellite-based wireless broadband offering with nationwide coverage potential, has been a game-changer for the industry and a testament to Danbatta’s forward-thinking approach,” he stated.
The ICT group also highlighted the substantial growth in the number of telephone users, internet subscribers, and broadband users during Danbatta’s tenure, which has surged to 218.9 million, 159.5 million, and 88.7 million, respectively. They pointed out that these figures, coupled with the generation of numerous jobs, have underscored the sector’s pivotal role in driving Nigeria’s economic development.
Furthermore, the ICT group acknowledged Danbatta’s unwavering commitment to innovation, regulatory excellence, and active stakeholder engagement. They noted that his approach has set a powerful precedent for achieving success, demonstrating the sector’s resilience in the face of challenges such as infrastructure vandalism, regulatory complexities, and power supply issues.
The ICT community has urged the federal government to replicate the telecom sector’s success in other industries, with the aim of propelling Nigeria into the ranks of the world’s top 20 economies. They view Danbatta’s leadership as a testament to what can be accomplished through dedication, innovation, and visionary leadership.
Meanwhile, as accolades continue to pour in, Danbatta’s transformative leadership in Nigeria’s telecom sector serves as an inspiring example of how visionary leadership can catalyze growth, innovation, and prosperity within the nation’s economy.
“His legacy will undoubtedly be remembered as a cornerstone of Nigeria’s digital transformation journey,” Chike said.