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Nigeria, others re-elected as ITU council member

Nigeria, among other countries, was yesterday re-elected as Council members of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the United Nations (UN) specialised agency that oversees global telecommunication operations.

The re-election is believed to be a clear recognition of the critical role Nigeria is playing on the global telecom stage. Nigeria will serve on the Council again from 2023-2026.

The election of Nigeria and other countries into different regional groups that constitute ITU Council was the highpoint of the Plenipotentiary Conference 2022 (PP-22) ongoing in Bucharest, the capital city of the Republic of Romania.

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. Other 12 countries elected alongside Nigeria are Algeria, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Morocco, Rwanda, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Tunisia, and Uganda.

Also, other member states were elected into 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.

A statement from the Director, Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Reuben Muoka, said the Nigerian delegation was successfully led to the global event by the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Isa Pantami.

Other members of the delegation include Chairman, Board of Commissioners, NCC, Adeolu Akande, and the Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Prof. Umar Danbatta.

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.

At the conference, which started on September 26, and scheduled to end on October 14, 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.

The 21st Plenipotentiary Conference of the Council also saw the election by member states, 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, as the first woman to lead ITU in its 157-year history, will begin her four-year term from January 2023, when Houlin Zhao would have completed his second final term of four years in office as ITU Secretary-General.

Commenting on Nigeria’s re-election as ITU Council member, Danbatta was quoted to have thanked the ITU member states for the confidence it has in Nigeria, as expressed by the re-elected into the ITU Council, in which it has been playing 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.

Governance of ITU

The Geneva, Switzerland-based ITU, was 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.

Nigeria became a member of ITU on November 4, 1961.

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 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.

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