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An unholy time for Nnama to speak on 2.3GHz fray

By Yahaya Suleiman
it is very unfortunate  hearing former NCC boss, Engr Emmanuel Nnama appearing on televisions and newspapers saying what he has been saying on the 2.3 Ghz controversy. Particularly as everybody that has love for the Nigerian telecommunications industry is urging the presidency to ensure a quick resolution of the issue.

I do not know whether Nnama wants to be seen as the new star of the 2.3GHz controversy or he is outright on a paid mission to smear achievements recorded since after his not-too-rosy stint in the Commission.

Since last week, Nnama has been moving round the television stations to campaign against the 2.3GHz auction and tried very hard to prove why the process adopted by the Nigerian Communications Commission is wrong.
Watching him on AIT and STV and reading him in The Sun newspapers of Friday, I feel challenged, as one associated with the telecommunications industry, to say a few things having known Engr Nnama over the years.

Just a quick search. Engr Nnama worked at the Nigerian Ports Authority, which he left without much achievements. He was Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission and was removed from office by the Federal Government after just six months.

His predecessor, Engr Cletus Iromantu, pioneer boss of the Commission, spent six years and the present chief executive is making history spending the tenth year.

In the two TV appearances, Engr Nnama spoke so much about his tenure at the NCC, the conferences he attended abroad and the various foundations he laid for what has come to be known as the telecommunications revolutions in the country. And yet he was removed in just six months!

Could the government have misunderstood his intentions to develop the telecommunications industry and gave him the booth within such a short time? This is not very likely. Government may be slow sometimes but the system really works when properly activated and knows when a process is being adulterated.

Industry operators will always remember that within the six months that Engr Nnama was at the NCC, his reckless attitude to work almost destroyed the foundation Engr Iromantu put in place in six years of labourious commitment to the development of the industry.

Quite ironically in both TV appearances, Engr Nnama has joined the 2.3GHz auction fray, canvassing that the Federal Government should cancel the process and follow the GSM auction style where the highest bidder would emerge.
For those of us following media information on the auction Engr Nnama failed to give any coherent reason on why the process should be annulled and a new one put in place.

He has tried to confuse issues by comparing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) of the United States to the Frequency Management Council (NFMC) of Nigeria. Without establishing a link, Engr Nnama questioned the release of the 2.3GHz frequencies and conclude that they were not properly given out.

For those of us in the industry, the question is, who is Engr Nnama working for? Since leaving the NCC after a six month disastrous sojourn, he has not been identified with any other meaningful venture or any other appointment where he has contributed to the growth of the industry. How does he wake up overnight like a long lost apparition and think he will be the voice of the Nigerian Communications industry which he least understand?

Just for historical reference the only process he conducted was so bizarrely handled and so controversial that the government had to step in to cancel it. Could his present campaign be linked to the fact that he is looking for company in the unenviable position of infamy?

It was also painful to see how he laboured, trying to lay claims to achievements in the sector. But the years of Engr Iromantu at the NCC are known as the pioneering years for a deregulated telecommunications sector, when building bricks were laid. The years of Engr Nudukwe will also be known as the years of exponential growth for the communications industry, the period when indeed Nigerians had access to phones once, meant for the parvenus and the rich.

It is difficult to tag the months of Engr Nnama. Perhaps, the years of the locust, when the industry chief regulator was too overwhelmed with opulence of office to understand the movement of technology apropos modernity.

Maybe, the local chief had better returned to his village to continue to enjoy his palmwine and accept that analogue age has given way to digital life.

Yahaya Suleiman is a Lagos based telecommunications Analyst.

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