A Celebration Of Excellence


[ctt_author author=”12256″ name=”TELL” template=”2″ link=”bR1my” via=”no” ]TELL, Nigeria’s number one news magazine will on June 17 recognize real excellence in service to humanity in both the public and private sectors.[/ctt_author]


Maiden TELL Awards for Excellence identifies drivers of change


For the first time in its 26 years of robust investigative journalism, TELL, Nigeria’s number one news magazine will on June 17 recognize real excellence in service to humanity in both the public and private sectors. As a clear departure from the routine, TELL Awards for Excellence, which will be an annual event, will recognize integrity and excellence, no matter one’s status in the society. Award receipts are selected from a broad spectrum of nominees on clear, objective and verifiable criteria.

In this year’s maiden edition, Umar Garba Danbatta, executive vice chairman of Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, will be honoured with the Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the year 2016. A TELL delegation led by Nosa Igiebor, president and CEO of TELL Communications Limited, visited NCC headquarters in Abuja on April 27 to present the letter of award to Danbatta.

In his speech, Igiebor said that NCC has “a culture of excellence” that has been sustained since 2001. Due to this culture, NCC is not perceived as a public sector player. “When we called for nominations for the CEOs, a lot of nominations came in; when the votes were counted, it clearly went to our distinguished Professor Danbatta. What we found fascinating was that NCC is a public institution. So it was with a great delight that we approved that report.”

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TELL Awards Photo

A TELL delegation led by Nosa Igiebor, president and CEO of TELL Communications Limited, visited NCC headquarters in Abuja on April 27 to present the letter of award to Danbatta

He explained that TELL, known for its brand of critical and investigative journalism was not in the business of awards but concentrated “on good governance and what comes with it.” However, it is coming into the mix to shift focus to integrity, service and accountability. “There is so much distrust of government and when the government is doing well the public tends to play it down; NCC is one island that stands out clearly.”

TELL Awards Photo

TELL team visit Babandede

According to him, since Danbatta’s appointment over one year ago, he has brought his wealth of experience from the academia to bear on the culture of competence he inherited in NCC. “You have raised the bar since your appointment and we have no doubt that your management is pushing the frontier of excellence even further than you inherited it. It is therefore with great honour that we formally present the letter of award to you.”

In his response, Danbatta, thanked the TELL team and said it was “an epoch making occasion, profound to NCC because we have never had one from TELL.” He commended the magazine for its professionalism, competence and analytical reporting, which he compared to Time and Newsweek. “TELL is highly responsible, highly analytical and not given to sensationalism. You say it as it is! I like your frankness; may be because of where I come from – the academia; that frankness gets us into trouble with the public sector.”

Danbatta, like Isaac Newton, is building on the shoulders of giants. “I always acknowledge the great work done by my predecessors…We won’t ignore continuity; all the good work done that culminated in the achievements of NCC; wherever we go people come to learn what we are doing. We have received laudable accolades in the way and manner we conduct our business. I hope I can leave the NCC better than I met it without being specific. It is better said than done and we will allow the public to make the judgment. This is one of such occasions.”

He commended TELL Awards for Excellence Board for being transparent and rigorous. He said the award is recognition of the diligent efforts NCC is making to drive change. “All of us here are striving to make a difference. I think that is what it takes to make a difference. The perception of the public is different; they feel that we are public sector but we have succeeded in blending the values of private sector with the public service culture of the people. This has resulted in a world-class agency. We are happy with the perception of TELL publishers; you are the voice of the people and you are mindful of what you say.”

Danbatta affirmed that what makes NCC different is being responsive to the needs of the people. For instance, this year is dedicated as “The year of the consumer” to drive home the centrality of the people in the Commission’s business of regulating the telecoms sector in Nigeria. However, he lamented the challenges, which include quality of service on the part of service providers. He, however, regretted the attitude of some Nigerians who steal and damage telecom infrastructure. “There is a need to continue to educate Nigerians to ensure the protection of the infrastructure to bring about the desirable change the President talks about in his agenda.”

He said the award is for the whole NCC. “I will dedicate this award to the entire members of staff of NCC.”

Tony Ojobo, director of public affairs of NCC, in a vote of thanks, noted that “TELL has endured as a legacy. I don’t know how many magazines that have stood the test of time but TELL has weathered the storm and is still standing. That is the reason we are accepting this award; it is not every such offer that we accept. We want to see how we can further collaborate with TELL.”

Danbatta, a professor of engineering with a Ph.D in electronics engineering was appointed on August 4, 2015, to succeed Eugene Juwah, whose reappointment by former president, Goodluck Jonathan was rejected by President Muhammadu Buhari. Danbatta is building on the foundation laid by Ernest Ndukwe and reinforced by Juwah. His eight-point agenda is seen as the third phase in the telecom revolution in Nigeria, which he says, will “actualize further growth of ICT” in Nigeria.

Under him, NCC is focusing on innovation, investment, competition and consumer empowerment. He formulated  “Strategic Vision 2015 -2020,” predicated on eight pillars: to facilitate broadband penetration, which would provide and optimize access to and use of affordable fixed and mobile broadband everywhere in Nigeria and support availability universally; improve quality of service through the promotion of availability of critical information and communication technology, ICT, infrastructure that will support all required services; to optimize usage and benefits of spectrum by maximizing the availability of spectrum; provide diverse and affordable ICT services and ensure spectrum acquisition guarantees market competition; and  to promote ICT innovation and investment opportunities by promotion of innovations to Nigeria’s ability to compete in the global economy through increased investment in the youth and promotion of small and medium scale enterprises, SMEs.

Like Danbatta Muhammad Babandede, comptroller general of Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, is a quiet achiever, a workaholic and an innovator. Coming from a background of controversy of job recruitment and other challenges, Babandede has in just one year restored sanity in NIS and is fast driving the ease of doing business in Nigeria by initiating appropriate reforms, which are already bearing visible fruits. For his innovative leadership in NIS, which is helping business, tourism and dignity for Nigeria, TELL will honour him as “The most outstanding public officer 2016.”

On May 2, the TELL team led by Igeibor presented Babandede with his award letter at the NIS headquarters in Abuja. “In the public sector you are one of the people identified to be making a difference. In the past one year you have shown that NIS is more than issuing passports. You have demonstrated that you are one of those public officers who have made a difference in driving change,” said Igeibor. “This is hard to find in public service. The perception is that public service, especially immigration, is not efficient.”

Babs Alasa, chairman of TELL Awards Committee, was in the team along with Dejo Oyawale, chief operating officer, COO and Anayochukwu Agbo, general editor and Abuja bureau chief. Alasa explained that Babandede was chosen because of the policy measures he has put in place which have brought efficiency, transparency and accountability in NIS.  He formulated the Nigeria Immigration Service Strategic Roadmap 2016 – 2019 to drive the change mantra through effective border security and migration management.

In his response, Babandede said, “This is not for me; it is for NIS, for us all. What is intriguing about this award is that we didn’t ask for it. TELL is a magazine we know for fighting for the people; it is a magazine that works with honesty and professionalism.”

He confirmed that he has really done a lot since he was appointed in May 2016. He aggregated the challenges and the solutions in his three years strategic roadmap, which he is vigorously implementing. Issuing Nigerian passport has become easier, decentralized and the quality is of universal standard. He is also fighting corruption vigorously within the Service to give Nigeria a better image. He has carried out internal reforms that have made the service personnel more professional, more efficient and friendlier with the public yet firmer in the discharge of the responsibility. The e-documentation policy he introduced has made it possible to authenticate service personnel across the country at the touch of a button.

“Wherever I go, I can see my staff in my ipad; I have the data base. The identity card can be tracked; today we have one ID card.”

Today under the ease of doing business, NIS is successfully implementing the Visa on arrival policy, which can be done through e-mail; “we don’t need to see you.” Today, instead of filling three forms by visitors, it has been streamlined to only one for all the services.

Babandede, said, “the award is an encouragement from a reputable organization. I will double my efforts with my team to demonstrate change. We are the ones to make the change happen for Mr. President.”

Responding, Igiebor reaffirmed that TELL was dead on target in choosing Babandede as a driver of change in his sector. “I’m glad we came here; we have been vindicated in the decision we made. Immigration is unique; your officers are very friendly in their dealing with the public. You have enthroned a culture of making work count in public service.”

Innocent Inusa, head of human resources, in a vote of thanks, said that indeed “the award is for all of us but this man drives us to achieve.” He pointed out that in addition to his qualities; Babandede is a man of discipline. “He does not tolerate any indiscipline from staff; you must be at work when you should.” He described his boss as a team player. “Any decision taken is from management.”

From Abuja, the TELL team moved up to Borno State, where it presented a letter to Governor Kashim Shettima as an awardee at the coming event. Igiebor told the governor that the voting public’s choice of Shettima is an appreciation of the unyielding determination of the governor to provide quality leadership to the people of Borno State at a most difficult time, in view of the activities of the Boko Haram sect in the area.

The TELL chief executive noted the efforts of the governor to turn Borno State around in spite of the destruction, killings, fear, maiming and dislocation which the Boko Haram menace brought unto the state. He commended the governor for encouraging his people in the face of this daunting challenge, even as he devotes energy to the restoration process that have given hope to the people.

On his part, the Governor appreciated TELL magazine for deciding to acknowledge and honour people like him. He said he accepted the award since it is coming from a credible organisation. He commended TELL for its leadership role in fighting for the restoration of democracy in the years of the military, noting that he had always been aware of the efforts of TELL in its fight for good governance in Nigeria, being an avid reader of the magazine. He also commended TELL for leading the line in ensuring that democracy is entrenched in the country.

The team will, this week, meet with some other awardees to formally present them with letters, ahead of the June 17 ceremony.

Additional report by DEJO OYAWALE



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