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Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Telecom: Nigeria toes the right path – Adebayo

Remmy Nweke

General Manager of the VGC Communications Limited, Mr. Gbenga Adegbayo, has declared that Nigeria is on the right path of development given the kind of evolution it witnessed through telecommunications in the last six years.

Mr. Adebayo, who spoke at the media presentation of his book, “Telecom in Nigeria, a role in the call” at the Association of Licensed Telecom Companies of Nigeria (ALTON) secretariat, Onikan-Lagos, said, “Nigeria, has been rated the fastest growing telecom industry even by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), so we’re on the right path.”

This is coming as two universities, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and Lagos State University (LASU), in addition to the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Abuja would benefit from the proceeds from the book sells.

He said that the book was an inspiration based on the belief that the future is bright for all Nigerians, just as he urged that citizens should imbibe the culture of reading, saying, “it is very good and good for the future of the nation and particularly for the coming generation.”

According to him, it is not an easy feat for the nation to have transformed her landscape from 500,000 in 1999 to over 25 million lines within five years.

Emphasising that today, many Nigerians have become empowered by telecommunications revolution and mobile phones, which was hitherto regarded as elitist due to prohibitive cost of ownership.

“Now it has become the primary means of reaching an increasing number of Nigerians,” he asserted.

The book, he said, was derived from the clarion call for collective effort in the development of social services and economic infrastructure in the country and borne out of the passion for the success of the all-important telecom sector of the nation’s economy.

Mr. Adebayo stressed that the book provides a brief overview of the development of telecommunications industry in the country from the pre-deregulation to events after deregulation as well as the challenges associated with service provision, development and maintenance of networks as well as associated infrastructure.

“It attempts in eight chapters of 156 pages including picture illustrations, to provide an overview of the industry, and its development, the gains, and challenges which led in part to the achievement that transformed the landscape to over 20 million lines within six years,” he affirmed.

The forward, he said, was written by the chief executive, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Dr. Ernest Ndukwe, while a goodwill message was also written by the immediate past Communications Minister, Chief Cornelius Adebayo.

On why the book billed for launch on October 30, this year in Lagos, was published in the United Kingdom, Mr. Adebayo explained that he wanted to ensure it receives an international flavour and was not due to lack of expertise from Nigerians.

The publishers and printers, Alden Group UK, he said, was founded in Oxford since 1832 and is one of the UK’s leading printers and even recognised as ‘Investor in People’ and nominated printer for the prestigious Oxford University Press.

He also announced that proceeds from the book sells would be donated to the best graduating student in the Electronic Engineering with focus on telecommunications in two tertiary institutions in the country, namely the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife and Lagos State University, LASU, as well as encourage training in fibre optic network infrastructure at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), Abuja.

As said by him, the proceeds would be used to sponsor an annual award for a consecutive period of five years for the best graduating student in telecommunications in the aforementioned universities, while a grant would be set aside for the best function specific trainee in fibre optic network infrastructure at DBI also for five years.

The seasoned telecom engineer also said that nobody would build Nigeria except her citizens, just as he enjoined stakeholders to join hands to keep the pace of development attained in the last half a decade going.

“Once there is a will, there is a hope and then, there is a way,” he concluded.

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