Appreciating Maida’s transformational leadership at NCC

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By Williams Ochonu

“The task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been.” —Henry Kissinger.

The above quote is instructive on the realization that leadership is needed to transform our great country. But the question is thus: are those saddled with leadership positions aware of the enormity of the task before them? 

I have advocated this much in several of my writings on the need for those in leadership positions in the country to come to the table. One of those who have indeed come to the table is Dr Aminu Maida, the Executive Vice Chairman/ CEO of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC)

The NCC is a strategic government institution mandated “to ensure fair competition in all sectors of the Nigerian communications industry and encourage the participation of Nigerians in the ownership, control and management of communications companies and organizations.” 

With such a mandate, the NCC plays a pivotal role in the country’s socioeconomic development. It connects critical economic players, promotes their dialogue and informs their policies. Communication is the economy’s engine for change and gateway to new resources and opportunities. 

This is why I must commend the new leadership drive at the NCC led by Dr Aminu Maida, a thorough professional whose leadership has opened a new vista in the country’s communications sector. He hit the ground running with laudable plans and policies to re-position the NCC for optimal productivity. 

The thematic focus of the new NCC revolves around transparency and accountability in creating a level playing ground for stakeholders in the communications industry. This much has been visible in the policy direction of the NCC in recent times. For example, the drive towards ensuring fair tax policies and eliminating every incident of multiple taxation and regulations impacting the Nigerian telecommunications industry is a laudable one. 

The NCC has identified multiple taxation as a significant obstacle impeding the sustainable development of the telecom industry in the country, and the steps taken so far are commendable. This is on the heels of the fact that consumers always bear the brunt of multiple taxes because operators factor these taxes into the services they render. 

This is a smart one and indicative of what Nigerians should expect from the new leadership at the NCC. When the telecommunication sector is well-regulated, consumers will be the ultimate beneficiaries and contribute to sustainable growth and development. 

According to available data, Nigeria’s telecommunications and information services sector, in the first quarter of 2023, delivered N2. 508 trillion in financial value contribution to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), representing 14.13 per cent. The strategic importance of this input cannot be overemphasized. This indicates that leadership is central to the NCC’s ability to deliver on its mandate. 

I am glad that Dr Aminu Maida is living up to expectations. He has displayed a grasp of the issues in the sector. He has subsequently deployed brilliant policies and plans towards unlocking the endless possibilities in the industry to benefit Nigeria and Nigerians. 

Dr Aminu Maida is an astute professional who comes in handy with the requisite qualifications and experience to steer the ship of the NCC. His appointment by President Bola Tinubu remains a masterstroke. Dr Maida has displayed a brilliant work ethic that resonates with the human resources department of the NCC. Under such circumstances, productivity would thrive. This is the new atmosphere at the NCC.   

I agree with the quote by Herry Kissinger that the task of the leader is to get his people from where they are to where they have not been. This is at play at the NCC, and the chief driver is Dr Aminu Maida. 

In the months and years ahead, the reforms introduced in the telecommunication sector would begin to manifest. I think Dr Aminu Maida has written his name in gold within a short period. He hit the ground running and matched his words with action. I recall that when he assumed office, he stated that under his leadership, the NCC would ensure effective broadband infrastructure diffusion across the length and breadth of Nigeria. He also mentioned his aspiration to increase broadband penetration to 70% and to cover 90% of the population by 2025. 

These are lofty aspirations, and I must confess that the NCC is poised to create a dynamic regulatory environment that ensures universal access to affordable and equitable service and supports the nation’s economic growth through the entrenchment of integrity, excellence, professionalism, responsiveness, innovation, and commitment. 

It is a new dawn at the NCC. Someone joked that Dr Aminu Maida has the Midas touch. Anything he touches turns to gold. I agree. He is a lesson in leadership. Others occupying leadership positions in the country can emulate his passion and commitment. The Renewed Hope Agenda will remain a mirage if heads of agencies and parastatals in the country do not imbibe these attributes.

Ochonu is a public affairs analyst and wrote this piece from Abuja.