By Adedapo Adesanya
Nigeria has been re-elected as a council member of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) until 2026, the United Nation’s specialised agency that oversees global telecommunication operations.
As a result, Nigeria will serve on the council again from 2022-2026. Nigeria became a member of the union on November 4, 1961.
The Nigerian delegation was led to the global event by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Mr Isa Ali Pantami. Other members of the delegation included the Chairman of the board of Commissioners of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr Adeolu Akande; and the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer of NCC, Mr Umar Danbatta.
Commenting on Nigeria’s re-election into the council, Mr Danbatta thanked the ITU member states for the confidence it has in Nigeria.
“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 election of Nigeria and other countries, on Monday, October 3, 2022, into different regional groups that constitute ITU Council was the high point of the Plenipotentiary Conference 2022 (PP-22) ongoing in Bucharest, the capital city of the Republic of Romania.
The ITU is governed by the Plenipotentiary Conference and the Administrative Council. The Plenipotentiary Conference is the supreme organ of the union. It is the decision-making body that determines the direction of the union and its activities.
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.
Like Nigeria and the countries elected into the Council, American Doreen Ms Bogdan-Martin, as the first woman to lead ITU in its 157-year history, will begin her four-year term in January 2023.
Bogdan-Martin is the first American to hold the post since Gerald Gross, who served from 1958 to 1965.
Her immediate predecessors were Mr Hamadoun Touré of Mali, who was in office from 2007 to 2014, and Mr Houlin Zhao of China, from 2015 to the end of this year.
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 as Africa.