Nigeria has been re-elected, for a second term, into the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations specialised agency that oversees global telecommunication operations. This development will see Nigeria serve on the council again from 2023 to 2026.
The election of Nigeria and other countries, on Monday, October 3, 2022, into different regional groups that constitute the ITU Council was the high point of the Plenipotentiary Conference 2022 (PP-22) ongoing in Bucharest, Romania.
The Nigerian delegation – which had the chairman, board of commissioners of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Adeolu Akande and the NCC’s executive vice chairman, Prof. Umar Danbatta – was led by the Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof. Isa Pantami.
At the conference, which started on September 26, 2022, and is scheduled to end on October 14, 2022, member states at the event voted on the composition of the next ITU Council and the 12 representatives to serve on the Radio Regulations Board (RRB) for the next four years.
Also, the 21st Plenipotentiary Conference of the Council saw the election of Doreen Bogdan-Martin of the United States of America as the organisation’s next secretary-general.
Like Nigeria and the countries elected into the council, Bogdan-Martin, the first woman to lead ITU in its 157-year history, will begin her four-year term in January 2023, when incumbent secretary-general Houlin Zhao would have completed his second final term of four years in office.
The seats in ITU Council are divided into five regions, A to E. Nigeria was elected into the ITU Council, ‘Region D’ for Africa, which has 13 seats. The other 12 countries elected alongside Nigeria are Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda.
Elections of member states also took place in ‘Region A’ for The Americas (nine seats), ‘Region B’ for Western Europe (eight seats), ‘Region C’ for Eastern Europe & Northern Asia (five seats) and ‘Region E’ for Asia and Australasia with 13 seats.
Commenting on Nigeria’s re-election, Danbatta thanked the ITU member states for the confidence it has in Nigeria as expressed by her re-election into the ITU Council, where the country has played a critical role over the years.
“The re-election of Nigeria as a member of ITU Council for the next four years, again, points to the globally-recognised leadership role Nigeria is playing in Africa and at the level of ITU Council in the area of telecommunications policy formulation and technical regulations development to drive ITU’s mission and vision,” the EVC said.
The ITU, originally established in 1865 as the International Telegraph Union and became a United Nations specialised agency in 1947, was set up to coordinate telecommunications operations and services throughout the world. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
A statement by the NCC director, public affairs, Reuben Muoka said Nigeria became a member of ITU on November 4, 1961. The USA joined on July 1, 1908; the United Kingdom, February 24, 1871 and UAE on June 27, 1972.
The ITU is governed by the plenipotentiary conference and the administrative council. The conference is the supreme organ of the union. It is the decision-making body which determines the direction of the union and its activities.
The council, on the other hand, acts as the union’s governing body in the interval between plenipotentiary conferences. Its role is to consider broad telecommunication policy issues to ensure that the union’s activities, policies and strategies fully respond to today’s dynamic, rapidly changing telecommunications environment.
ITU Council also prepares a report on the policy and strategic planning of the ITU, and it is responsible for ensuring the smooth day-to-day running of the union, coordinating work programmes, approving budgets and controlling finances and expenditure.
The council also takes all steps to facilitate the implementation of the provisions of the ITU constitution, the ITU convention, the administrative regulations (International Telecommunications Regulations and Radio Regulations), the decisions of plenipotentiary conferences and, where appropriate, the decisions of other conferences and meetings of the union.