By Emmanuel Elebeke
ABUJA- Federal government says Nigeria will be presenting itself for re-election into the Administrative Council seat of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) at the upcoming election of the union to be held at its 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference to be held in Dubai, United Arab Emirate in October/November this year.
The minister of Communications, Barr. Adebayo Shittu, disclosed this on Tuesday, while declaring open the second African Preparatory Meeting (APM) for ITU 2018 Plenipoterntiary Conference (PP-18) which is going on in Abuja.
The minister also disclosed that Nigeria will be presenting Mr. Williams Ijeh for election as Director, Telecommunication Development Bureau of the ITU during the conference in the UAE and solicited for the support of the ITU member states for Nigeria.
Shittu therefore, charged the participants at the meeting to come up with quality decisions that will immensely benefit the African region and the world at large.
‘‘It is my believe that this meeting will enable member states come up with preliminary positions on agendas for the PP-18. I am happy that the African Region has deemed it fit to prepare for this important conference, which will make member states put their heads together to fight a common cause. I will us all not to under estimate the importance of these preparations.
‘‘I am pleased to inform you that Nigeria will be presenting itself for re-election into the Administrative Council seat as well as presenting Mr. Williams for election during the ITU conference in Dubai. I wish to seek your unflinching support for Nigeria twin candidates,’’ he added.
The ITU Plepotentiary conference is the key event at which ITU member states decide on the future role of the organization thereby determining the organization’s ability to influence and effect the development of telecommunications/ICT worldwide. The Plenipotentiary conference is also the top policy-making body of the ITU held every four years, setting the union’s general policies; adopts four-year strategic and financial plans and elect the senior management team of the organizations, the member s of Council and the members of the Radio Regulation Board (RRB).
In his remarks, the Secretary General of ITU, Houlin Zhao, urged African nations to work together in leveraging ICT to develop the continent.
He expressed hope that Africa will soon emerge a global champion in the innovation and use of emerging technologies.
‘‘We must work to use ICT to transform Africa by making ICT a useful tool, to help us achieve each and every UN SDGs. The future of our lives is strongly affected by emerging technologies. I am pleased to note that ICT, innovations will be launched by African engineers and innovators.
‘‘We will in this meeting see how we will use ICT work out the future of African continent. I am much confident that in the nearest future, Africa will begin to enjoy the same socio-economic life like any other continent enjoys.
‘‘We want to see ICT made in Africa and use in Africa. Africa has contributed to global ICT global technological services and development.’’
Earlier in his address, the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerians Communications Commission, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the importance of the gathering cannot be understated when considering the ITU Framework and Plenipotentiary process.
The EVC stated that Nigeria sees the work of ITU as integral to the development of ICT in Africa and in tune with its focus of achieving ubiquitous Broadband deployment that will in turn lead to sustainable socio-economic development of its citizenry, stressing that the challenges posed by the development of new technologies cannot be over emphasized as the benefits far outstrip whatever risks we may face.
‘‘This meeting sets the tone for our gathering here and I am confident that the deliberations that will take place in the next 3 days will further enhance Africa’s common position at PP-18.
It pleases me to note that Nigeria, beyond being your host, will be a very active participant at this meeting as we have submitted a number of proposals for your consideration.
‘‘Nigeria sees the work of ITU as integral to the development of ICT in Africa and in tune with its focus of achieving ubiquitous Broadband deployment that will in turn lead to sustainable socio-economic development of its citizenry. This we believe can only be achieved through continued and deepened partnerships of which the ITU provides the most ideal platform.
‘‘Nigeria has witnessed phenomenal growth in its ICT sector and acknowledges the support of the ITU in the country’s ICT evolution. Nigeria has been a long standing member of the ITU council and has always seen itself as a flag bearer for the interest of Africa and other developing Nations as a whole.
‘‘To this end, and with your support we wish to continue the good work we have been doing over the past decades. The presence of the ITU Secretary General signifies the importance accorded to Africa within the ITU.’’
Prof. Danbatta urged participants to harness their expertise and experiences from previous meetings to overcome their differences. He also urged them to put together and synthesize well-articulated and impactful common proposals that will ensure Africa’s participation at PP-18 produces the necessary strategies to ensure the digital divide in the continent is significantly reduced with Africa not just being a major consumer of technology but a producer as well.