Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta, the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), has emerged the winner of the 2019 Zik Prize, in the professional leadership category.
Making the announcement on Thursday, September 24, 2020, during a webinar, Prof. Pat Utomi a member of the Advisory Board of the prestigious award, said Prof, Danbatta and Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, the Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa (UBA) are the winners in that category.
“Prof Umar Garba Danbatta is a square page in a square hole. An academic professor, Danbatta has, through the NCC, led the charge to drive Nigeria’s industrial revolution and knowledge-based economy leveraging telecommunications,” Prof. Utomi explained.
Prof. Utomi further commented, “telecommunications’ contribution to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nigeria has grown by 70 per cent from 2015 to 2020, whilst broadband penetration has leaped from 8 percent to 42 percent, in the same period.”
“His leadership has enhanced transparency and innovation in the sector, such that recently, NCC was acknowledged by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), as one of Africa’s foremost regulator,” he noted.
In a letter of nomination in July 2020, signed by Prof. Utomi and Chairman of the Board, Senator Jubril Aminu, CON, the EVC was described as “an outstanding public servant, whose initiatives and reforms had contributed to Information and Communications Technology (ICT) playing a leading role in the socio-economic development of Nigeria.”
Set up in 1994, the Zik Prize was in honour of late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of Nigeria, in a view to encourage and nurture leadership in Africa and the diaspora.
Former President of Ghana, J. J. Rawligs (1995); Late Nelson Mandela, President Yonweri Muzeveni of Uganda and former Chairman of NCC’s Governing Board, Alhaji Ahmed Joda, among other illustrious leaders of the continent are all past winners.
Senate President, Dr. Ahmed Lawal and the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustafa, who won in political leadership and public service categories, respectively were among this year’s winners.
Others are Governor of Borno State, Babagana Umara Zulum, his counterpart from Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and Oyo State Governor, Engr. Oluseyi Makinde, who won in good governance category.
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