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Monday, November 01, 2010

Obasanjo bags African Telecom award

The former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, would on Friday this week be honoured with the African Telecom Life Time Award and Lecture series, for his contribution in the development of telecommunications in the most populous nation on the continent.

This is coming as the adjoining lecture would be declared open by the Minister of Information and Communications, Prof. Dora Akunyili, who will also deliver a special goodwill message on behalf of the Federal Government, while the Minister of State for Information and Communications, Mr. Labaran Maku would chair proceedings at the lecture, to be attended by industry stakeholders.

Disclosing these, the organizers led by Mr. Mkpe Abang told ITRealms Online that the Africa’s prestigious telecommunications award for an individual, noting that Obasanjo was selected for his foresight and exemplary role in enthroning the Nigerian telecom revolution, which has brought unimaginable developments on all sectors of the country’s life as well as attendant spinoffs across the African continent. According to him, the special honour, under the auspices of the African Telecom Hall of Fame Awards would be presented at a colourful evening on November 5, 2010 at Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos.Abang, who is the editor-in-chief of IT & Telecom, the organisers of awards, highlighted that the choice of President Obasanjo was natural and very well in tune with the tenets of the African Telecom Hall of Fame Lecture Series, which include special recognitions for individuals, institutions and corporate bodies for exemplary contributions to the growth of telecom in their countries in particular and the African continent as a whole.

“President Obasanjo is one leader who contributed so much in uplifting Nigeria and by extension Africa through the encouragement and support, as well as the freehand he gave the regulatory agency, the Nigerian Communications Commission, to operate, right from day one that he got into office till the day he left,” Abang buttressed in a press statement made available to ITRealms Online.

He underscored the tact that history has it that before President Obasanjo assumed office on May 29, 1999, Nigeria had a little over 450,000 telephone lines with most of which either not functioning or in government offices.

“Before he came into office, Nigeria’s communications regulatory agency was in need of direction. President Obasanjo’s foresight in picking the right people for the assignment at the crucial time coupled with his non-interference with their job led to what we have today as the Nigerian telecom revolution, which has no doubt fuelled the telecom growth in Africa,” he asserted.

Abang pointed out that the letter of nomination to this effect has been acknowledged by former President Obasanjo through his Special Assistant on Administration, Chief Abraham Taiwo Ojo, via a letter to the organizers.

Excerpts from the letter read “I have been directed by His Excellency former President Olusegun Obasanjo to acknowledge, with thanks, the receipt of your letter of October 1, 2010 by which you confirmed the decision of IT & Telecom Digest to confer on him a ‘Life Time Achievement Award.’”

Ojo further said that Obasanjo was elated for the gesture, which he has accepted with pleasure.

“He, at this juncture, extends his gratitude to you and the entire management of IT & Telecom Digest for the honour,” he said, stressing that Obasanjo with the acceptance of the award, urged the organizers to continue in their efforts by maintaining and improving upon the standard of excellence, which has won the magazine its cherished esteem.

“Do keep the magazine’s flag flying,” Ojo noted in the letter.

Additionally, the organisers, said, Obasanjo deserve to be recognized as the hero of the African telecom revolution, mainly on the fact that the time when he assumed office as president, South Africa was the African country with the highest number of telephone lines in the continent, while Nigeria was literally missing in the map of telecom. Today, the organisers equally said, Nigeria is not just the destination for telecom investment in Africa but has assumed the position of a country with the highest telephone numbers in the continent.

Abang recalled that former President Obasanjo would be honoured with the most prestigious lifetime achievement award of the African Telecom Hall of Fame Awards, previously called the Nigerian Information Technology and Telecom Awards (NITTA) since inception in 2002.

He named some of the speakers expected at the event to include the immediate past Executive Vice Chairman, Nigerian Communications Commission, and his successor, Dr. Eugene Juwah, the Managing Director, Nigerian Communications Satellite (NigComSAT), Mr. Ahmed T. Rufai to name a few.

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