Vanguard Newspapers Limited has recognised the executive vice chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Danbatta as the 2022 Regulator of the Year Award.
The annual Vanguard Personality of the Year Awards held today (January 27, 2023) in Lagos, recognised Danbatta’s transformational and inspiring leadership which brought about an effective regulatory regime in the telecoms sector and positively impacted Nigeria’s digital economy ecosystem.
Danbatta was honoured alongside other prominent personalities, including Prof. Babagana Zulum of Borno State, Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, Abdulraham Abdulrazaq of Kwara, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom and Seyi Makinde of Oyo, as well as the chairman of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and other Nigerians who have distinguished themselves in professional excellence and service to humanity.
Profoundly described as Africa’s Regulatory model, Danbatta has become a model to other African regulators in the sector.
A respectable scholar and distinguished academic, Danbatta has displayed a no-nonsense mien in discharging regulatory functions and is generally viewed in the industry as a calm and calculative leader who takes fair but firm decisions in his drive to steady the Nigerian telecom environment. This has, no doubt, inspired many African regulators to adopt Nigeria’s model to revamp their regulatory activities.
A professor of telecommunications engineering, before his appointment Danbatta was the acting vice-chancellor of the Kano State University of Science and Technology (KUST). As a lecturer, he supervised more than 60 doctorate, masters and bachelor students’ projects in diverse areas of telecommunications.
Danbatta, however, was not entirely new to the industry before he became the NCC boss, as he had a stint at the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI) – an international centre for advanced communications studies established by the NCC in 2004.
His first five years in office saw an effective regulatory regime through cutting-edge initiatives, strengthening the role of the telecommunications sector as a major contributor to the gross domestic product (GDP).
Currently leading the charge to achieve the Nigerian National Broad Plan (2020-2025), Danbatta was acclaimed for spearheading the predecessor campaign which Nigeria attained and surpassed the 30 per cent national target in 2018, from a paltry 6 per cent when he took over.
A statement by the commission’s director, public affairs, Reuben Muoka said the multiple, award-winning professor also mid-wifed a highly successful 5G spectrum auction last year, while his strides in reviving the emergency communications centers (ECCs) and the introduction of harmonised national emergency communication number (112) helped the NCC win the International Public Relations Association Golden Award in 2021, due to the pivotal role it played in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.
His stellar leadership style was recently rewarded by the organisers of the prestigious Zik Prize, as they bestowed on him the Zik Prize for Professional Leadership.
Danbatta earned his BEng and MSc degrees from the Technical University of Wroclaw in Poland and received his PhD from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology.