Recognizing Nigeria’s vital contribution to the global telecommunications industry, the country has been re-elected as a council member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) by the United Nations specialized agency that oversees global telecommunication operations. The country’s new tenure in office will span for 4 years (2023 – 2026). Nigeria and other countries were elected to different regional groups that constitute the ITU Council at the Plenipotentiary Conference 2022, which is going on in Bucharest, the capital city of the Republic of Romania.
ITU was set up to coordinate telecommunications operations and services throughout the world. Its operations are overseen by the Plenipotentiary Conference and the Administrative Council, which is the supreme organ of the Union and the decision-making body that directs the Union and its activities. Nigeria announced its desire to run for re-election to the ITU council and Radio Regulations Board some months ago, highlighting its impressive strategic leadership achievements in the council since it was elected in 2018.
Nigeria has triumphed in providing servicing for ITU over the years.
As a longtime ITU member, Nigeria has presided over several important conferences and committees, including WRC-15, the ITU Council Standing Committee on Administration and Management (SC-ADM), and the Ad-Hoc Committee on ITU Regional Presence (2019, 2022). In addition, Nigeria has led the ITU-Standardization (ITU-T) Study Group 20 for Africa, served as Vice-Chair of ITU-T Study Group 20, Vice-Chair of ITU-T Study Group 12, Vice-Chair of ITU-Development D Study Group 2, and contributed financially to the ITU’s headquarters. These factors strengthen Nigeria’s and ITU’s strategic and mutually beneficial partnership.
Highlighting the nation’s successes, Prof. Umar Danbatta, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Executive Vice-Chairman, stated that the nation’s robust ITU experiences were crucial to the transparent 2021 Fifth Generation 5G license auction. Nigeria achieved 40.88 per cent broadband penetration as of December 2021, implemented solid financial inclusion initiatives, and promoted universal access across institutions and communities through the Universal Service Provision Framework. The partnership with ITU has aided NCC in putting policies into practice successfully and initiating regulatory efforts geared toward accelerating Nigeria’s digital transformation, he added.
African countries secure 13 seats in the council election.
Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, the Chairman Board of Commissioners of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Adeolu Akande, among others, led the Nigerian delegation to the ongoing global event. The composition of the next ITU Council and the 12 representatives to serve on the Radio Regulations Board for the subsequent four years, was voted by the member states at the ITU conference that kickstarted on September 26, 2022, which is scheduled to end on October 14, 2022.
The ITU Council seats are assigned among five regions (A – E). Nigeria was voted into “Region D” for Africa of the ITU Council, which comprises 13 seats. Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda are the other 12 nations that were chosen alongside Nigeria. Also, nine seats were up for election in Region A for the Americas, eight seats in Region B for Western Europe, five seats in Region C for Eastern Europe and Northern Asia, and Region E for Asia and Australasia with 13 seats as Africa.
Danbatta expressed gratitude over the country’s re-elected.
Commenting on Nigeria’s re-election, Prof. Danbatta thanked the ITU member states for the confidence it had in Nigeria expressed by re-elected into the ITU Council, adding that the country had been playing critical roles over the years. He said, “The re-election of Nigeria as a member of ITU Council for the next four years, again points to the globally recognized leadership role Nigeria are playing in Africa and at the level of ITU council in the area of telecommunications policy formulation and technical regulations development to drive ITU’s mission and vision.”