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Telecommunications contributes N2.3trn to GDP

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Nasiru Yusuf

Despite the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Nigeria’s telecommunications and information services sectors have contributed N2.3 trillion or 14.30% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2020.

Kano Focus reports that the data released by National Bureau of Statistics show that the contribution of the sector translates to N2.272 trillion, up from N1.821 trillion in the first quarter of the year.

This, according to NBS figures indicates an increase of 31.43 per cent.

While the entire Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry recorded 17.83 per cent in the second quarter, the 14.30 per cent contribution of the telecoms sub-sector was unprecedented, far and above oil and gas, and other non-oil sectors’.

Checks showed that, in 2015, telecoms’ contribution to GDP stood at eight per cent and has grown significantly quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year to reach the current milestone of 14.30 per cent.

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Meanwhile, industry stakeholders attributed the second quarter contribution of telecoms sector, which represents a leap from the 10.88 per cent in Q1 2020, to the sound regulatory environment enthroned by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).

The stakeholders, including the Association of Telecoms Companies of Nigeria, (ATCON), Association of Licensed Telecoms Operators (ALTON), and the National Association of Telecoms Subscribers (NATCOMS), who spoke with Journalists on the matter, commended the regulatory framework driving the digital frontiers in the last five years.

The ALTON Chairman, Gbenga Adebayo, thanked all industry players for their resilience and consistency of purpose.

Adebayo hinged the growth on so many factors including the investor friendly policy and regulatory environment championed by the leadership of NCC, commitment of all stakeholders, consistent investment on network maintenance and expansion, and sacrifice by sector operators.

To sustain this growth, the ALTON Chairman said the country should continue to invest in network expansion and maintenance operations, access to foreign exchange to procure network critical equipment, consistency in policy and policy environment.

Mr Adebayo said there should be access to spectrum and friendly policies around its allocation, assignment and cooperation between the stakeholders.

ATCON President, Olusola Teniola, said: “telecoms industry has remained bullish owing to the quality of leadership at the helm of affairs at the Commission.”

He added that NCC had become reference point in telecoms regulatory ecosystem in Africa and beyond.

In the same vein, President of National Association of Telecoms Subscribers of Nigeria (NATCOMS) Adeolu Ogunbajo, said the proactive regulatory approach of Danbatta has helped made telecoms “the oxygen that keeps economic activities afloat during the lockdowns and consumers are appreciative of the fact that the Commission, working with its supervising Ministry, didn’t allow consumer to suffer serious disruption to quality of service and quality of experience.”

Checks showed that effective regulatory regime, backed by various initiatives of the Commission and efforts of the supervising Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy at addressing industry challenges, is providing the needed digital valves that have supported the economy from collapse, since the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

The increase in broadband penetration, Internet usage, number of access to telephone and several other initiatives by the Commission, especially in the areas of driving tech innovations, employment creation, promotion of digital inclusiveness, which are policy directions of NCC, an industry regulator, have, in the last five years, boosted the sector’s contribution to GDP.

These policy activities have also enhanced growth of digital-based activities across other sectors of economy increasing efficiency and effectiveness in economic operations.

Speaking recently at the Commission’s first virtual telecoms consumer parliament (VTCP), the Executive Vice Chairman of NCC, Umar Garba Danbatta, noted that the NCC, ensured has always been innovative and proactive in its regulatory activities by ensuring that the economy remains afloat despite the restrictions occasioned by the pandemic.

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My relationship with President Muhammadu Buhari – Salihu Tanko Yakasai

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Yakasai and Buhari

In light of recent events that transpired over my recent comments about the government of President Buhari, I think it is absolutely necessary to shed more light on my decades of relationship with the President, and how I am not doing anybody’s bidding with my remarks but simply reacting to issues that are happening in my country.

What is more, my comments were not aimed at casting aspersion against the person or government of Mr. President.

Far from that!

I joined partisan politics in December 2000 at the age of 24, when I officially became a member of the defunct APP at my ward, Kawaji in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Kano State.

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At that time, Kano State was PDP-controlled under the then governor, Rabi’u Musa Kwankwaso.

So, I entered politics as an opposition member in my state. As at that time, I was contesting for the position of a councilor at my ward, which ended with my losing the primary election in 2004.

Pioneer Buharist

In 2002, I was in All Progressives Party (APP) when President Buhari picked the membership card of the party and officially joined politics to run for the presidency in the 2003 elections. At that time, I and millions of people particularly from the north welcomed this decision by the President with enthusiasm and zeal and we supported him 100%.

We were basically the 1st set of the so-called ‘cult-like followership ‘ of the President, simply because we believed in him to deliver and lead this country to prosperity.

He came into politics as someone people trusted and whom they see as an upright person that they can vouch for, earning him the nickname ‘Mai Gaskiya’.

We campaigned for him through thick and thin, street to street, the young and the old, and when it was election time, I was assigned by my party leaders at my ward to be the returning officer of our party, APP, for the presidential election which Buhari was contesting for.

We fought PDP hard at my ward to ensure that we delivered the ward to him in the election.

I did not sleep for almost 48 hours then, because I had to accompany the results to the local government collation centre to ensure that the results were not altered.

President Buhari did not win the 2003 general elections, but our party, the defunct APP won the governorship election in Kano State, which ushered in Mallam Ibrahim Shekarau as the new governor of the state.

But soon after that, there was friction between his camp and that of President Buhari, which later on after the 2007 elections led to the creation of a new political party formed by Buhari, that is Congress for Progressive Change, (CPC).

First meeting with Buhari

I, and my political leader at that time, Hon. Balarabe Wakili, a former member representing Nasarawa Local Government in the House of Reps (2003 to 2007) decided to pitch our camp with the President and not with Mallam Shekarau, and it was through Hon. Wakili that I first visited the President on a solidarity visit back in the early stages.

It is still in CPC that I contested for the State Assembly, which we suffered a lot because of the factionalization of the party that led to a lot of bickerings.

Ultimately, I neither got the ticket nor did our party win the election.

May I use this medium to thank the current Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Hajia Sadiya for the role she played in my election back then when she was the National Treasurer of CPC.

My surrogate father-in-law

The President, also served as my wife’s guardian during our wedding in 2006 on behalf of her late uncle, AVM Mukhtar Mohammed who was a very close associate of the President.

May I use this opportunity to tell my wife’s guardian that 14 years after he gave her hand in marriage to me, we are still living peacefully and blessed with 3 children.

We thank him for his fatherly role during the nuptial rites.

Back to politics, at the presidential level, I served as a member of the Welfare Committee of the Presidential Election of Muhammadu Buhari, with the current Minister of Water Resources, Hon. Sulaiman Adamu Kazaure as the chairman of the committee, during the 2011 presidential election.

After the formation of APC, I also served as a member of the Youth Committee during the 2015 elections, crisscrossing this country to campaign for the President which we eventually won and Buhari was ushered into government with popular national support.

Now having given the background of the long-term relationship between me and the President spanning 18 years to be precise, I have never known a political leader throughout my political career other than Buhari, even though I can count the number of times I’ve met him.

NEPU blood

I did not only wish for his success but I equally worked hard with everything that I’ve got for almost two decades to see his dream become a reality, and I will continue to stand by him.

When I see things that are going not the way they are supposed to, I naturally have that urge to try and express my concern about them, because I want things to work right.

I can understand, if by virtue of my position as an aide to a governor in the same party as the President’s that I have limitations and somehow the spotlight is always on me.

But occasionally, despite suppressing my opinions,

I find the NEPU blood in me triggering me to react.

This is in no way, meant to undermine the President or my dear party, APC.

Apologies to Ganduje

To my boss, His Excellency, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, OFR, I want to use this opportunity to apologise for putting Your Excellency in an uncomfortable position due to my personal opinions.

It is indeed something that I never intended to happen, and I am not happy about it a bit. I do not have a boss-and-aide relationship with Your Excellency; I rather have a father-and-son relationship with Your Excellency.

Indeed, I appreciate the support Your Excellency has been according me in the last five years, and I will continue to remain loyal to you and serve my state and my country through your government and in whatever other capacity.

At the end of the day, our prayer is for Nigeria to be great.

In the words of Barack Obama “Do we participate  in a politics of cynicism, or in a politics of hope?”

I am an optimist, and it’s our ardent HOPE that we will have the Nigeria of our dreams in which development and prosperity will be the norm rather than the exception; a country we can build a secured future for our children and generations yet unborn.

May we continue to do our best in ensuring this is the Nigeria that our forefathers sacrificed their lives for to lay a solid foundation.

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Salihu Tanko Yakasai, Governor Ganduje’s suspended media aide writes from Kano.

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Ganduje reopens Kano higher institutions October 26

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Ganduje

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

Kano state governor Abdullahi Ganduje has approved the reopening of state-owned tertiary institutions on October 26.

Kano Focus reports that the commissioner for higher education, Mariya Mahmoud Bunkure announced the decision on Monday.

The announcement follows the resumption of secondary and primary schools in Kano state on Monday morning.

Ms Bunkure, a medical doctor, however directed the management, staff, and students of the schools to observe Covid-19 protocols.

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LG election: KANSIEC begins sale of nomination forms October 19

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KANSIEC Chairman

Mukhtar Yahya Usman

The Kano state Independent Electoral Commission (KANSIEC) says it will sell nomination forms for local government election candidates from October 19 to December 03, 2020.

Kano Focus reports that the KANSIEC chairman Garba Ibrahim Sheka announced that the election will hold on January 16, 2021.

Mr Sheka, a professor of Economics, said political parties are to conduct their campaigns between October 12, 2020 and January 12, 2021.

He said parties should submit completed forms for the positions of chairman and vice chairman of the 44 local government councils at the state headquarters between September O7 and 13.

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He added that completed forms for the 484 councillorship slots should be submitted at the KANSIEC local government offices.

Mr Sheka said the election will take place before the completion of the tenures of the incumbent local government council officers.

“We will hold the local government election on 16th January, 2021 as the serving chairmen completes their tenure on 11 February.” He said

Mr Sheka added that the 2002 Act that established the commission requires it to announce the election date 21 days before it holds.

He however said that due to the huge number of political parties in Kano state, KANSIEC has announced the date 90 days before the election.

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