Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, Executive Vice Chairman (EVC), of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has been confirmed for the second term of 5 years in office by the Nigerian Senate.
Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, gave the cheering news during the plenary session after the Committee Chairman, on Communications, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, who was represented by Senator Michael Opeyemi Bamidele presented the final report to the entire Chamber.
The Committee Chairman while giving reasons for the swift confirmation and reappointment, stated that Danbatta’s pedigree and landmark achievements, especially during his first tenure evokes and speaks volume of his sterling qualities, adding that the NCC boss met all laid statutory criteria.
Tinubu said that the investigative background checks carried out by the committee further revealed Danbatta’s impeccable character.
“I hereby rise to present the report of the Senate Committee on Communications on the screening of Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta for reappointment as the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer for the second term of 5 years of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC),” she said through Senator Opeyemi.
She recalled that on Tuesday, 14th July, the Senate considered the reappointment of Prof. Danbatta as EVC/CEO of NCC for a second term and referred to the Committee on Communications for legislative action.
She noted that the committee carried out the screening exercise diligently, adding that the nominee responded brilliantly and showed his preparedness to confront head-on the challenges ahead.
“The nominee met the statutory requirements which also validate his competency. Preliminary checks do not reveal any form of fraud or vices on Danbatta’s record,” she said.
Senator Barau Jibrin, Kano Central Senatorial district, said that the committee did a good job in the reappointment of Prof. Danbatta, for another 5 years.
Recall that during the screening, while giving what could pass as a convincing account of his stewardship in the last five years, Danbatta said the diligent implementation of NCC’s auspicious strategic 8-Point Agenda, which he put in place when he assumed office in 2015, provided the basis for most of the Commission’s achievements in the last five years, especially in the areas of service availability, accessibility and affordability.
“As a Commission, we are committed to challenging our current achievements. Consequently, we are poised to work more with the National Assembly and other necessary stakeholders in order to ensure we take Mr President’s digital agenda for the country to the next level in the next five years,” Danbatta told the Screening Committee.
Danbatta was first appointed for a five-year term in office as the NCC’s Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, on August 4, 2015, and was subsequently confirmed by the Senate on November 25, 2015.
With the Senate confirmation, Danbatta has received a vote of confidence to continue to steer the regulatory activities of the country’s over $70 billion telecommunications industry for another five years towards fast-tracking Federal Government agenda on digital economy development.
Danbatta’s visionary leadership has been hinged on NCC’ Strategic Vision Plan (SVP) for the fiscal years 2015-2020, focused on the 8-Point Agenda, the effective implementation of which has led to impressive broadband penetration which rose from a mere 6.0 per cent in 2015 to 40.14 per cent in May 2020.
Active Internet subscriptions also increased from 93 million to over 141 million currently during the period.
The number of active telephone subscribers also rose from 150 million in 2015 to 192.32 million in May 2020 with teledensity currently standing at 100.72 per cent, following the rebasing of the teledensity to 91 per cent in March 2019.
The increase in broadband penetration, Internet usage, number of access to telephone and several other initiatives by the Commission, especially in the areas of driving tech innovations, creating employment, promoting digital inclusiveness, have helped improve the sectors’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP) contribution from 8.50 per cent in 2015 to over 11 per cent currently, with a lot of digital activities taking place in all the sectors of the economy.
Professor Danbatta is set to consolidate the modest achievements of the past five years by focusing on broadband penetration, consumer protection and empowerment, efficient resource utilisation, and facilitation of fibre infrastructure deployment.