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Zain unfolds new offers, pitches UI, UNILAG at Africa challenge

By Moses Nosike

Leading mobile operator, Zain Nigeria has said its network is robust enough to support all the new consumers offer being introduced by the company.

UNILAG, UI face off in Zain

On-going academic quiz competition, Zain Africa Challenge will present an epic battle today when two of Nigeria ’s leading Universities, University of Lagos (UNILAG) and University of Ibadan (UI) compete for a place in the finals of the contest involving students in Universities across several countries in Africa.

To book a place in the semi final, the University of Lagos defeated St Augustine University of Tanzania in Round One; Ghana’s strongest team, Valley View University in Round Two and outclassed defending Champion, Egerton University, Kenya at the Quarter final stage.

On the other hand, the University of Ibadan thrashed University of Malawi in Round One; overcame a stiff opposition from one of the of oldest institutions in East Africa, Jomo Kenyatta University, Kenya in round Two;  and rolled over Mbarara University of Uganda in the Quarter final to book a place in the semi final stage.

According to the company’s Chief Operating Officer (COO),  Nigeria’s other representatives, UI team comprise a Physiology student, Nnaemeka Nwachukwu; Olatunji Ayoola Olalere of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery; Olanrewaju Ismail Shittu of the Faculty of Law and Tolulope Oloruntoba of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. The team is led by Lewis Ademola while Babatunde Adetona is the Liaison Officer of the group.

The show which is the first ever televised Pan-African educational contest among university students will be broadcast on Monday on Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) by 6.00pm to 6.30pm and Tuesday (7.30pm-8.00pm or 20.30-21.00 GMT) on Africa Independent Television (AIT).

Both UNILAG and UI will thrill their immediate audience as well as television viewers as they respond to fast-paced questions on a wide range of subjects including history, science, African culture, geography, literature, music and current events.

The programme will also feature an audience participatory quiz contest, in which viewers are asked to send in their answers via SMS, and stand the chance of winning fantastic prizes ranging from free airtime to mobile handsets. The audience quiz contest is limited to Zain subscribers.

Zain Africa Challenge involves three students on each of two teams competing over four rounds.  During each of the first three rounds, one student from each of the two teams compete head-to-head, playing face-off questions. The players rotate between rounds so that each of the three players gets an opportunity to compete in one face-off round.

When a player correctly answers a 10 point face-off question, his team gets an opportunity to answer a 20 point bonus question collectively.  Each face-off round is approximately 4 minutes in length (3 minutes in the Computerized version and at the Qualifying Tournaments).  At the end of the third round both teams enter the Ultimate Challenge Round where they attempt to answer 10 questions in 60 seconds, with each correct answer giving the team 50 points.

Zain Africa Challenge is part of the mobile operator’s Corporate Social Investment of Corporate Social Responsibility programmes designed to help Nigerians see, experience and appreciate its philosophy of ‘a Wonderful World.’

Emeka Oparah, Head of Public Relations and Corporate Social Responsibility , Zain Nigeria, said Zain is offering over $1,000,000.00 (one million USD) in travel grants, prizes and educational grants to participating institutions and students.

“This programme is not just about providing brilliant young people an opportunity to showcase their academic prowess, it also enables them to build lifelong relationships with people across the continent,” Oparah said.

To be eligible for selection, a University must be Government chartered or accredited, be in 3rd year of intake (or later), and should have at least 250 enrolled students.

The University of Lagos founded in 1962 is made up of two campuses, the main campus at Akoka, Yaba and the College of Medicine in Idi-Araba, Surulere. Both sites are in the Mainland of Lagos. The main campus is largely surrounded by the scenic view of the Lagos lagoon and is located on 802 acres of land in Akoka, North Eastern part of Yaba, Lagos , the State of Excellence and Aquatic Splendour.

From a modest intake of 131 students in 1962, enrolment in the university has now grown to over 39,000. It has a total staff strength of 3,365 made up of 1,386 Administrative and Technical Staff, 1,164 Junior and 813 Academic Staff.

The University is comprised of nine Faculties and a College of Medicine . The Faculties offer a total of 117 programmes in Arts, Social Sciences, Environmental Sciences, Pharmacy, Law, Engineering, Sciences, Business Administration and Education. UNILAG, as the university is fondly called also offers Master’s and Doctorate degrees in most of the aforementioned programmes. The University also has two Centres namely the Centre for Human Rights and the Centre for African, Regional Integration and Borderland Studies. The Distance Learning Institute (DLI) of the University offers courses in Accounting, Business Administration, Science Education and Library / Information Sciences.

The University College, Ibadan, was founded in 1948. At first, it occupied the old site previously used by the 56th Military General Hospital about eight kilometres away from the ‘new’ or permanent site. The new site covered over 1,032 hectares of land generously leased by the chiefs and people of Ibadan for 999 years. With equipment transferred from Yaba Higher College, the 104 foundation students (including 49 students in teacher training and survey courses) began their courses at Ibadan , on January 18, 1948; the formal opening took place on March 25, 1948. In February, 1948, London University allowed Ibadan its special relationship scheme. Arthur Creech Jones, then Secretary of State for the Colonies, and an influential member of the Elliot Commission, turned the first sod at the permanent site of the University College, on November 17, 1948, which became the Foundation Day.

In the latter half of the nineteenth century, well-to-do Africans in Lagos met the need for higher education by sending their children overseas for professional training. Some of these returned to press for the establishment of institutions of higher learning in Nigeria . Not much progress was made until the 1930s. In Nigeria, the Yaba Higher College (established in 1932, but formally opened in 1934) and the Yaba Medical School (established in 1930), which granted diplomas and certificates in selected subjects, hardly satisfied the aspirations of those who longed for university education.


Formerly known as Celtel Nigeria, the company was established in 2000, by a group of institutional and private investors.

The company made history on August 5, 2001 by becoming the first telecoms operator to launch commercial GSM services in Nigeria. In May, 2006 Zain Group subsidiary Celtel International acquired a majority stake in the company and re-branded the company to Celtel in September. Celtel Nigeria is now an important part of Celtel’s pan-African operations spanning 15 countries and serving more than 24 million customers.

The company is pursuing an aggressive network rollout as well as a quality and customer service upgrade in the quest to realise its vision of ‘Making life better’, not just for its customers but for all Nigerians.

The network, which currently covers over 1200 towns and 11,500 communities across the six geopolitical zones of the country, scored a series of many other “firsts” in the highly competitive Nigerian telecommunications market.
o          First to introduce free voicemail retrieval
o          First to introduce toll-free 24-hour customer care line-111
o          First to introduce free account balance check
o          First to start free validity enquiries
o          First to commence subscription-free conference calling service
o          First to commence free Calling Line Identification
o          First to launch service in all the six geo-political zones in the country
o          First to introduce N500 recharge card
o          First to commence emergency service (Celtel 199)
o          First to introduce monthly free SMS
o          First to introduce monthly airtime bonus
o          First to introduce monthly airtime bonus
o          First to commence 3G/HSDPA Trial Test
o          First to introduce Unity or flat tariff (same tariff across networks)
o          First to introduce free Sunday Calls Offer
o          First to introduce GSM payphone
o        First to introduce GSM Fixed Phone

About Zain

Zain is a leading telecommunications operator across the Middle East and Africa providing mobile voice and data services to 64.7 million active customers as at March 31, 2009. In terms of country footprint, Zain is the 3rd largest mobile operator in the world with a commercial presence in 24 countries.
Zain operates in Bahrain, Burkina Faso, Chad, the Republic of the Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Malawi, Madagascar, Niger, Nigeria, Palestine (currently operating as Paltel Group), Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia. In Lebanon, the company manages ‘mtc-touch’ on behalf of the government. In Morocco, Zain owns 31% of Wana Telecom through a joint venture.

Zain offers innovative services in its markets such as ‘One Network’, the world’s first borderless mobile telecommunications network enabling customers when abroad to receive calls and sms without charge and to make voice and data calls at local rates throughout 19 countries in Africa and the Middle East. This service allows a customer to top up airtime in their home country or from more than 1,000,000 outlets within Zain’s ‘One Network’ footprint.

The Zain brand is wholly owned by Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC, which is listed on the Kuwait Stock Exchange (Stock ticker: ZAIN). Zain is listed in the Financial Times’ Global 500 Index which ranks the world’s largest companies based on market capitalization ( Zain aims to become one of the top ten mobile operators in the world by end of the year 2011. For more, please visit or email


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