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Meet the people who decide your internet experience  

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Data firms

Data is as essential as air, right? At least, that’s what these men will have you believe. Much more than call-credits, data now accounts for a regular percentage of the average Nigerian’s monthlyif not weekly budget. MTN alone generated as much as N74 billion from data sales in Q1 2020.  

So, this week’s profiles will be focused on the men and women who control leading internet service companies in Nigeria.   

Some of these companies are telcos but as we know, they also provide internet services for many Nigerians. The other internet service providers on the list were sourced from the NCC Q3 2019 report and selected using the number of active subscribers and presence.   

Segun Ogunsanya – MD, Airtel Nigeria  

Segun-Ogunsanya

Segun-Ogunsanya

Ogunsanya was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Airtel Nigeria operations in November 2012.   

Prior to that, he had worked in other administrative positions for notable companies. Segun was the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Nigerian Bottling Company (NBC), the franchise bottler of the Coco-Cola Company Nigeria.  He also worked as Managing Director and Head of Retail Banking Operations at Ecobank Transnational Inc. from 2008 to 2009.  

Ogunsanya’s impressive administrative profile can hardly be separated from his solid educational background, as he is a graduate of Electrical & Electronics Engineering and also a Chartered Accountant.   

In addition, he has attended several professional and management courses in and outside Nigeria and is accomplished in several sectors.   

Under his leadership, Airtel has moved to become the 3rd largest telco by subscriber base worldwide and is reported to have over 46 million subscribers in Nigeria.   

He is a member of the Business Support Group in Nigeria, a former Vice President of American Chambers of Commerce in Ghana, and a member of the Implementation and Technical Committee of Strategic Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise Policy, among others.  

 

Funke Opeke – Founder, MD/CEO Mainone  

Funke Opeke, Founder, CEO Mainone 

Funke Opeke, Founder, CEO Mainone

Funke Opeke garnered 20 years of experience in the telecommunications sector in the United States of America before returning to Nigeria in 2005.   

She started as Chief Technical Officer of MTN when she returned to Nigeria, and also served as the interim Chief Operating Officer of NITEL after advising Transcorp on the acquisition.   

Chief Ms. Funke Opeke, is the founder and CEO of MainOne, formerly Main One Cable Company. MainOne services cuts across several countries in West Africa where it provides communications services and network solutions to major telecom operators, ISPs, government agencies, small to large enterprises, and even educational institutions.  

Funke holds a first degree in Electrical Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife Nigeria, and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Columbia University, New York.  

Stephane Beuvelet – Acting MD, 9mobile  

Stephane Beuvelet became both board member and Acting Managing Director of 9mobile in 2018.   

This telecom executive has about 20 years technical experience and expertise in management, financing and commercial, and business and organization development.  

Before coming into 9mobile as Chief Technical Officer, he held similar position in Celtel Brazzaville, MTN Cote D’Ivoire, and Telma Telecom, Madagascarwhere he was also Deputy Group CEO.  

Ferdinand Moolman – MD/CEOMTN Nigeria  

Ferdinand-Moolman-MTN-1

Ferdinand-Moolman-MTN-1

Ferdinand Moolman became MD/CEO of MTN Nigeria on December 1, 2015, when the operational structure of the company was reviewed after the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) slammed a $5.2 billion fine on the giant telco.   

Their offense? They failed to meet a deadline to disconnect unregistered subscribers.   

This became Moolman’s first task as CEO, and after long talks and negotiations between the company and the NCC, this fine was reduced to $1billion.   

Part of the agreement, which had the fine reducedmandated the group to publicly list the Nigerian unit shares on the NSE.  

Through strategic and timely decisions over the last five years, the company has become the second most capitalized—after Dangote Cement—on the Nigerian bourse. Under Moolman’s leadership, the yearly revenue of this company continues to astound investors; this is in spite of other fines and settlements that the company has had to make.   

Before becoming CEO, Moolman was the Chief Financial Officer of MTN Nigeria, a position he assumed immediately after he was transferred from MTN Iran cell where he was Chief Operating Officer (COO).   

Moolman is a graduate of the University of Pretoria and University of South Africa.   

 

Mike Adenuga – Chairman/CEO, Globacom  

Mike-Adenuga-4

Mike-Adenuga-4

Nigerian billionaire Mike Adenuga is not only the founder of Globacom, but he is also its Board Chairman and Chief Executive Officer 

The long story of how he moved from being a Taxi-driver in New York to become a serial entrepreneur and billionaire can fill a book, but we can conclude that the major turn-around in his fortunes happened when he received a drilling license in 1990 and entered the business of oil exploration and exploitation 

Mike Adenuga has his degree in Business Administration from North Western Oklahoma State University, and also has an MBA from Pace University, New York. 

 

Ajay Awasthi – CEO, Spectranet Nigeria 

Awasthi was appointed CEO of Spectranet Nigeria in December 2017.  

He has had over 17 years of experience in the telecoms industry, beginning in India which is known to be highly competitive. He has held several administrative and senior management positions, even in the solar energy and electrical products sector, and is experienced in setting up multi-channel distribution and optimising business operations. 

He is an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore 

  

Mr. Charles Anudu – Founder, MD/CEO, Swift Networks Limited  

Mr. Charles Anudu – Founder, CEO, Swift Networks Limited

Mr. Charles Anudu – Founder, CEO, Swift Networks Limited

Swift Networks is only the latest entrepreneurial venture for Charles Anudu, as he is known to have successfully launched other companies.  

He founded Swift in 2002 after obtaining a Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) License from Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) to provide multi-service broadband connectivity services to businesses and residential subscribers. 

His administrative experience started at Rhone-Poulenc Nigeria where he worked as General Manager, before leaving to found The Candel Company Limited where he was founding Managing Director and Chairman. 

Charles has a Bachelor of Agriculture Degree in Crop Protection and Master of Science Degree in Plant Ecology from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and the University of Ibadan. He also has a Diploma in Computer and Telecommunications Electronics and has several professional certifications including being a Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA).  

An Alumnus of Harvard Business School and the Lagos Business School, where he has done multiple management programmes, Charles is a member of the Economic Intelligence Committee of the Nigerian Presidency.  

   

Ejovi Aror  Group Managing Director, ipNX   

Ejovi was appointed the Group Managing Director of ipNX in 2002.  

Before this, he had spent 14 years at Telnet Group, with his last 6 years there as the Managing Director of iTECO, one of the group subsidiaries.  

He holds a first-class degree in Electrical/Electronics Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, and a Masters’ degree in Data Communications Engineering from Brunel University, UK. He also has an MBA from the Lagos Business School (1998).   

 

Abiodun Omoniyi – Founder/MD, VDT communications  

Abiodun Omoniyi founded and served as the pioneer Managing Director of Bitcom Systems Limited (a System integration company established in 1989), from where he moved to establish VDT Communications Limited in 2001, to focus mainly on providing Broadband Communications Service to the growing data-centric financial sector of the Nigerian economy.  

He has since led the growth of VDT through his dynamic management style from the then onebranch office to the multi-branch entity it is today, providing broadband services to numerous customers in the banking and financial services sector, logistics, and manufacturing, public and government sectors, FMCG, etc.  

Abiodun obtained his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering (B.Eng.) degree from the University of Ilorin and is an alumnus of the Lagos Business School. He has also attended several business and management pieces of training outside Nigeria.  

  

Kendall Ananyi, Founder & CEO Tizetti Network Limited (wifi.com)  

Wifi.com.ng is the internet service provided by Tizeti Network Limited, a company that Kendall Ananyi founded in 2012 to deliver high-speed unlimited Wi-Fi internet access to customers.  

Before 2012, his work experience cut across noteworthy companies including PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Microsoft in Canada. He haover 15 years of experience in telecoms and software, project management, and software experience.  

Ananyi has a Masters in Computer Engineering from the University of Victoria, Canada.  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

 

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Business

Akinwunmi Adesina responds to US, ‘I maintain my innocence’

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Akinwumi-Adesina

In reaction to the new, independent probe that was ordered by the board of African Development Bank (AfDB) into his activities, AfDP’s incumbent president, Akinwunmi Adesina, said he is not guilty of any wrongdoing. He also vowed to remain in office.

Adesina’s response to the fresh investigation was disclosed in a press statement that he personally and released on Wednesday, May 27, 2020. Adesina hit back at ‘unprecedented attempts by some people to tarnish his reputation’ and stated that he would continue to work with all the shareholders. In his statement, Adesina also expressed confidence that a fair and transparent probe would eventually prove his innocence. He said:

I maintain my innocence with regard to trumped-up allegations that unjustly seek to impugn my honor and integrity, as well as the reputation of the African Development Bank.

“I am confident that fair, transparent and just processes that respect the rules, procedures and governance systems of the bank, and rule of law, will ultimately prove that I have not violated the code of ethics of this extraordinary institution.”

The AfDB boss also cited his heroes, Nelson Mandela and Kofi Annan, whose lives proved that human beings can grow through the pain.

Akinwumi Adesina, who is the first Nigerian to lead the largest multilateral financial institution in Africa and among the top 5 in the world, had previously dismissed the allegations as spurious, unfounded, and blatantly false. The allegations from the whistleblowers border on claims of giving contracts to acquaintances, appointing friends and relatives to strategic positions, amongst others.

The U.S treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, in a letter to the AfDB board, expressed serious concerns about the questionable internal investigation and hurried dismissal of the allegations by the ethics committee of the bank. He thereby called for an independent inquiry into the matter, having feared that dismissing the allegations without appropriate investigation would tarnish the reputation of the bank.

In the meantime, it appears that the AfDB President has the support of some leading African countries including Nigeria and South Africa, as he canvasses vote for a second term in office.

As a show of support, a former Director-General of Securities and Exchange Commission and current Vice President of the World Bank Group, Arunma Oteh, issued a tweet describing Adesina as a man of integrity and a great leader who remains the best man to lead the AfDB.

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Feature

What expert expects from fixed income market this week

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The Nigerian fixed income market is expected to witness a moderate activity as well as moderate liquidity during the new week. This is according to Nkem Azinge, a Currency Trader at UBA who spoke to CNBC Africa.

According to her, the market is expected to witness an OMO maturity during the week which, by the way, is going to be a short trading week due to public holidays on Monday and Tuesday. The OMO maturity will help maintain balance, even as liquidity in the system will just be moderate.

“Going into next week, there is an OMO maturity coming in. So, that will help to ensure balance. It is a short trading week. So, liquidity will just be moderate,” she said.

Earlier on during the interview, Azinge explained why there was also relative activity in the fixed income last week. According to her, the OMO market witnessed “buying activity as offshore players looked to deploy idle cash. We also saw banks buy as the market opened liquid.”

However, the trend reversed by Thursday because investors took advantage of lower yield in the market to “take profit in anticipation of the PRR debit that was expected” and CBN’s FX auction.

On the other hand, the bond market witnessed mixed sentiments last week. This is because while a number of people took profit on their auction, others sold off in anticipation of a possible increase in supply.

In the FX market, the CBN re-opened its whole bill auction by pumping as much as $72 million into the market. This helped to ensure liquidity in the market.

Azinge noted that it had been more than two months since such an auction occurred, a situation that led to very limited supply in the FX market. Therefore, the auction was a welcome development even as it indicated that the apex bank is now ready to meet growing dollar demands by Nigerians.

Note that the CBN’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting is slated to take place on Thursday. This is also expected to influence activities in the fixed income market during the new week.

Watch Azinge’s entire interview with CNBC Africa by clicking here.

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Recession hits Newspaper firms, owners slash salaries by 50%

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Nigeria has boasted to have the freest and most outspoken press among other African states, though the industry has consistently been the target of harassment by past military dictatorships, and even in some cases, by democratically elected Governors and Presidents. Many journalists have been imprisoned, exiled, and tortured.

As we speak, the industry and practitioners are facing a different kind of torture. This time around, not by any political office holder, but by a looming recession that has befallen the industry. Though the industry had been battling with several hurdles before the advent of Coronavirus, the pandemic is threatening its survival amid other uncertainties.

The sector, according to some journalists and industry watchers, is currently grappling with several problems, ranging from COVID-19 pandemic, depleted funds due to the lockdown across major cities, loss of revenue due to lower ad sales, looming job loss, and salaries slashed, among others.

The staff of most of the print news platforms are going through bad times. While a lot of them were informed of salary cuts from April 2020 till further notice, some have lost their jobs as their employers embarked on ‘Operation Cut Cost at all Cost’.

The unfortunate thing is that the sack is on-going. What that means is that anyone that was not sacked in April should not be over-confident, as the firms are rolling out more letters of dismissal or slash in staff salaries.

In separate interviews, some staff of The Nation, BusinessDay, Punch Newspapers, Television Continental (TVC), and Cool FM, among others, lamented over fears of either losing their jobs or suffering more salary cuts.

A lot of them told Nairametrics that their managements had told them that it would never be ‘Business as usual’, as no one could tell when the COVID-19 pandemic would be over.

In the case of The Nation, findings revealed that the medium is currently serving some staff across departments letters of disengagement. Already, over 100 out of about 500 workers (across Nigeria) have been sacked and still counting.

One of the medium’s managers, who claimed anonymity, told Nairametrics that the management told employees that the exercise would continue until the company stabilized, a time which no one can tell for now.

That is not all, The Nation has also slashed salaries of everyone earning over N60,000 by 50%.

He said, “It started when the company reduced the pages of the Newspaper from 48 to 32 pages and the excuse then was that it was due to the lockdown, which crashed the readership of the newspaper.

Another notice followed that a certain percentage of the staff strength would be reduced.

“As if that was not enough, we got another notice that salaries would be cut by 50%, which was the final straw. We got confused because we had thought if people are sacked, there wont be a pay cut.

This is indeed a bad time for the industry and for us here because if more people are sacked, few of us left would have to do their jobs with less pay.”

For Punch, one of the reputable and widely read newspapers in Nigeria, this is indeed a trying period. After exploring other options like slashing pages of the dailies from 62 to 32 (depending on the numbers of advertisement), the Ademola Osinubi led-management also took a COVID-19 induced decision and informed its staff beforehand. Here is an excerpt of the memo Osinubi sent to all staff:

This pandemic has dealt with our business telling and severe blows. Our circulation and advertisement revenues dipped dangerously, compounding the operational and revenue challenges birthed by the migration of a majority of print newspaper readers and adverts to digital platforms.

“I am not at liberty to disclose all of the measures that the management has taken so far. But the ones that could be made public include an immediate reduction in print pagination; staff furloughing to comply with government and expert advisories on social distancing; the temporary shutdown of the sports newspaper; and significant financial reengineering.

“All projections point at a bleak and uncertain future for the media industry and the economy. Notwithstanding, the company’s commitment to the welfare of its staff remains cardinal, hence, the decision to pay 100% salaries in the month of April and fulfil all annual leave obligations, despite the dip in revenues.

All staff, including our colleagues, asked to stay away from work in April, have been paid their full salaries.”

But does that mean the workers should not expect full salaries in the month of May?

“Considering the fact on the ground and the body movement of the board, full salaries may not be paid in May and some people, especially in the newsroom, would be forced to resign.

“The management has started from the Sports desk and would soon move to other desks. The idea is to concentrate more on the online version of the platform and start a significant financial re-engineering,” a source in the company told Nairametrics.

The Nation and Punch Newspapers are not the only firms that have either slashed salaries or dismissed staff. While Tribune Newspaper reduced pages from 46 to 32, and slashed salaries between 10 and 35% depending on the level of the staff, BusinessDay also reduced the pages of its Monday editions, which is its major product, from 65 to 32, and New Telegraph dropped pages from 48 to 32 among others.

In the broadcast sub-sector of the industry, the workers of AIM Group, owners of Nigeria Info, Cool FM, Wazobia and Arewa, have to swallow the bitter pills too.

While trying to ensure that the majority of its staff are retained, the group had no choice but to let some of the staff embark on unpaid leave.

The Head, Human Resources of the Group, Oyinkan Adeniyi, in an internal memo seen by Nairametrics,  said:

The Management of AIM Group has had to weigh a lot of options that can be taken during this trying times to minimize the negative impact the pandemic has had on our operations, ensure the majority of our staff are retained while still meeting up with financial obligations to you our highly esteemed employees, suppliers and other stakeholders.

“We have reached a very difficult position of placing all staff who are currently at home, not working since the commencement and who will not be working now that skeletal services will be commencing on a Furlough (unpaid leave) until things normalize.

This means that while staff who are home now and not working remain our staff, they will not be paid salaries for the period not worked and until they are recalled back to the office.”

How long it will take the media organizations to rebound, and re-engage their employees to work optimally, depends on how early the nation survives COVID-19 or how soon the Federal Government offers bail-out to operators in the industry.

Though, the bail-out option may be a tall order, stakeholders are optimistic that the industry may soon be out of the woods.

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