By Jessica Dogo
The Executive Vice-Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta, is billed to be honoured with the prestigious Zik Prize, in the Professional Leadership Category in Lagos, The Director of Public Affair (DPA), NCC, Dr Ikechukwu Adinde said in a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja.
The award, scheduled for Dec. 6, would be presented to Danbatta by the Public Policy Research and Analysis Centre (PPRAC), at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.
The PPRAC had, during a virtual conference, named Danbatta and the Group Managing Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr Kennedy Uzoka, as joint winners in the category.
Adinde quoted the Chairman of PPRAC, Prof. Jubril Aminu, as saying that “Danbatta, Uzoka and other prominent personalities who emerged in different categories of the Zik Awards, were carefully selected, through a rigorous and meticulous process for their notable contributions to national development.
This year’s event, which also coincides with the 25th anniversary of the Zik Prize series, would be chaired by Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka and the Obi of Onitsha, Alfred Nnaemeka Achebe, would function as the royal father of the day.
He said that the organisers cited Danbatta as ”a square peg in a square hole”, who through dint of hard work as NCC boss, was acknowledged to have leveraged telecommunications to lead the charge for Nigeria’s industrial revolution and knowledge-based economy.
“Telecommunications’ contribution to Nigeria’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown by 70 per cent from 2015 to 2020, whilst broadband penetration has increased significantly to over 45 per cent.
“Danbatta’s leadership has enhanced transparency and innovation in the sector, such that recently, NCC was acknowledged by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as one of Africa’s foremost regulators.
“The NCC boss has transformed the commission into a regulator of global acclaim. The establishment and implementation of the NCC’s auspicious strategic 8-Point Agenda, under Danbatta, has given direction to activities of the Commission”, Adinde quoted the PPRAC as saying.
According to Adinde, the organisers also acknowledged that Danbatta had, through far-reaching innovations, such as Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) registration and 112 Emergency Number, helped in efforts waged against insecurity in the country.
They also noted that the ”sector’s improved contribution to GDP as well as improvements in Quality of Service (QoS) delivery, broadband infrastructural development, broadband penetration, effective spectrum utilisation, consumer empowerment, technology innovation, had been phenomenal under Danbatta’s leadership”
Earlier, in his nomination letter, jointly signed by Aminu and Utomi, the NCC boss was described as “an outstanding public servant, whose initiatives and reforms had contributed to ICT.
The Zik Prize Center was set up in 1994 in honour of the first President of Nigeria, late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe, to encourage and nurture quality leadership in Africa and in the diaspora.
“The impending event literally puts Danbatta in the prestigious category of eminent intra-continental figures honoured by the foundation, including the late former President of Ghana, Jerry Rawligs; Late President Nelson Mandela, President Yoweri Muzeveni of Uganda, and former Chairman of NCC’s Governing Board, Alhaji Ahmed Joda”, Adinde said.
Other winners in this year’s edition of the prize, include the Senate President, Dr Ahmed Lawal and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr Boss Mustafa, who won in the political leadership and public service categories, respectively.
Gov. Babagana Zulum of Borno, Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta and Gov. Oluseyi Makinde of Oyo, also bagged the award for good governance.