Lawmakers under the aegis of the National Association of State Assembly Legislators (NASAL) have honoured the Executive Vice Chairman (EVC) and CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta.
Prof Danbatta got the National Service Excellence Award for his transformational leadership in deepening access to telecommunications services in each state constituency in the last five years.
The award came a few months after the President renewed Danbatta’s mandate as the country’s chief telecoms regulator for another term of five years.
Director-General of NASAL, Hon. Uchechukwu Chukwuma, who presented the award in Abuja explained that “the award from NASAL not only underscores the remarkable leadership role by Danbatta in deepening the development and growth of the telecoms sector at the grassroots but also demonstrates the pivotal role of the EVC as a change agent, a catalyst for national development and a great Nigerian patriot.”
He stated that NASAL has consistently monitored the activities of the Danbatta-led NCC and observed notable improvements in telecoms services across state constituencies in Nigeria.
“Danbatta’s efforts have manifested in enhanced access to the Internet by our people, which has given them the opportunity to participate and ventilate their views constructively. As you know, citizens’ participation in political activities is one of the attributes of an ideal democracy and Prof. Danbatta has helped to promote this idea,” Chukwuma added.
The award is justified by the statistics from the Commission. Five years ago, 217 access gap clusters were identified in the country with 40 million Nigerians excluded from access to telecoms services.
Five years after, however, the access gaps have been reduced to 114 clusters with an additional 15 million Nigerians now connected when Prof Danbatta was appointed five years ago.
Receiving the award on behalf of the EVC, Director, Public Affairs, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde, explained that the award was an “encouragement and a challenge” to the EVC and his team.
“It is heartwarming that NASAL has found our EVC and CEO deserving of this award. The award is an acknowledgement that his accomplishments have not gone unnoticed. We at the NCC, value this gesture, which writes the history of Professor Danbatta’s achievements in a very distinctive and enduring way,” Adinde added.
Adinde amplified the justifications adduced by NASAL for recognising Danbatta, by citing various indicators that measure the performance of the telecom sector, which clearly show that the sector has been growing over the years and more impressively, in the last five years of Danbatta’s leadership.
“From the recent industry statistics and other relevant macro indicators, the telecoms sector, under Danbatta, has recorded positive growth in terms of active voice subscriptions, internet subscriptions, teledensity, broadband penetration and contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP),” he stated.
While noting that the last five years of Danbatta has witnessed a number of policy initiatives that have spurred industry growth and improved service delivery, Adinde restated the EVC’s commitment to ensuring that the Commission maintains its reputation as a foremost communications regulatory organisation.