Ex-NCC CEO, Ernest Ndukwe appointed as MTN Nigeria Chairman


Former Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr Ernest Ndukwe, has been announced as the Chairman-designate of MTN Nigeria Plc from September 2, 2019.

Mr Ndukwe served as head of the telecommunications industry regulator from February 2000 to March 2010.

Recall that on October 20, 2015, the NCC imposed a fine of N1.04 trillion on MTN for infraction of the provision of the NCC Telephone Subscribers Registration Regulations 2011; for failure to disconnect 5.2 million improperly-registered Subscriber Identification Modules (SIM) lines within the prescribed deadline, because these lines had economic activities on them without proper registration.

The firm had discussions with the regulator and ways of paying the fine were worked on. The firm completed the payment of the last tranche of the fine, N55 billion, in May 2019, the month it listed its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) by introduction.

Yesterday, the company announced that it has appointed the former NCC chief to head its board after the retirement of former head of the defunct Diamond Bank Plc, Mr Pascal Dozie.

Also, MTN Nigeria announced the appointment of some personalities to its board as non-executive directors.

First on the list is Mr Michael Onochie Ajukwu, who will serve as an Independent Non-Executive Director. He has over 21 years of experience in the banking industry with specialty in the Energy and Multinational sectors. He has extensive business experience in Africa and particularly in Nigeria.

In 2002, Mr Ajukwu disengaged from United Bank for Africa PLC as Executive Director, Corporate Banking and later served as a Director of Keystone Bank Limited.

He has extensive Board experience and serves as Chairman of Altech West Africa Limited, Munca Properties Limited and Mobax Nigeria Ltd.

Mr Ajukwu has been an Independent Director of Sterling Bank Plc since June 2018 and of Tiger Brands Limited since March 31, 2015. He also sits as a Non-Executive Director on the boards of Int-afact Beverages Ltd, a subsidiary of SABMiller in Nigeria and Novotel, a member of Accor Hotels group.

Mr Ajukwu holds a B.Sc. in Finance from the University of Lagos and an MBA in Accounting and Finance from New York University.

Another person appointed by MTN Nigeria is Mr Muhammad Ahmad as an Independent Non-Executive Director. Mr Ahmad is a seasoned public sector executive with over 35 years of experience traversing the financial services industry and the public sector. He actively advocates and supports institution building based on the highest corporate governance and ethical standards and has served on various boards and committees, including banks and not for profit organizations.

He was a pioneer staff of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Company (NDIC) where he rose to become a Director. He later served as the pioneer Director-General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Pension Commission (PENCOM).

Mr Ahmad worked at the Central Bank of Liberia as the Advisor and Technical Director on Bank Supervision under an International Monetary Fund (IMF) Programme. He coordinated the development of the Federal Government strategy document for the rebuilding of the North East that led to the constitution of the Presidential Committee on the North-East Initiative (PCNI).

Mr Ahmad served as Chairman, Technical Committee on the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance 2018 and currently chairs the boards of Polaris Bank (former Skye Bank); Taj Bank, Credent Capital Advisory and FATE Foundation. He serves on the Interim Board of International Energy Assurance Plc.

He is the founder of Jewel Development Foundation, a graduate assistance programme; and Certium Consulting, a strategic advisory and business applications company. Mr Ahmad holds a BSc. in Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University and a Masters Diploma in Innovation & Strategy, University of Oxford. He is an Associate, Toronto Center for Global Leadership in Financial Supervision, Canada.

Also appointed is Mr Andrew Alli as a Non-Executive Director. Mr Andrew Alli qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Coopers & Lybrand (PricewaterhouseCoopers) in the United Kingdom.

He worked for over a decade at the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in different positions including Country Manager for Southern Africa and Nigeria. During that period, he represented the IFC on the board of MTN Nigeria Communications Limited. He was subsequenHy appointed CEO of the nascent Africa Finance Corporation, which he built into a robust DFI focusing on African infrastructure, natural resources and heavy industry sectors. During his tenure as CEO, AFC made cumulative investments of over $4 billion in 30 African countries and achieved the second -highest credit rating for an African lending institution.

In December 2018, Mr Alli was appointed CEO of SouthBridge, a PanAfrican financial services firm focused on Investment Banking and Sovereign advisory, as well as on serving African and global corporates. He served as Non-Executive Director on the boards of ARM Cement Limited (October 2012 – March 24, 2017 and Guaranty Trust Bank Plc (June 2008 – June 30, 2016). He currently serves as an Independent Non-Executive Director, Development Bank of Nigeria. He is a Member of the Advisory Board, Lagos Business School (LBS). He holds a BEng in Electronics and Electrical Engineering from King’s College, University of London, and an MBA from INSEAD, France.

Another appointee is Mrs Omobola Johnson as a Non-Executive Director. Mrs Johnson served as Nigeria’s Minister of Communication and Technology from 2011 to 2015. She pioneered the Federal Government’s involvement in a venture capital fund and a network of start-up incubators and participated in the launching and execution of the National Broadband Plan.

Prior to her Ministerial appointment, she was country Managing Director for Accenture. She currently chairs the board of Custodian and Allied Insurance Limited and sits on the boards of Guinness Nigeria Plc as well as World Wide Web Foundation.

Mrs Johnson is the founding Chairperson of Women in Management and Business (WIMBIZ). She is a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Africa; UNDP’s Broadband Commission Working Croup on Gender and the International Telecommunication Union’s Powering Development Advisory Board. Since 2015, she has served as Honorary Chairperson of the Global Alliance for Affordable Internet.

Mrs Johnson attended the University of Manchester where she obtained BEng, Electrical and Electronic Engineering and King’s College London (MSc, Digital Electronics). She has a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from Cranfield University and is a Fellow of the Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN).

On the board too is Mr A.B. Mahmoud (SAN), who will serve as a Non-Executive Director. The respected legal practitioner is the Managing Partner and one of the founding partners of the law firm of Dikko & Mahmoud. He was elevated to the rank of Senior Advocate of Nigeria in 2001 and is a Life Bencher of the Body of Benchers.

He was once Kano Stare Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General and was in the public service from 1979 to 1993 during which time he held various positions including Director Litigation, Public Prosecution and Solicitor-General at the Ministry of Justice, Kano.

Mr Mahmoud is the immediate past President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), a Member of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA) and was accepted into the Energy Arbitrators List (EAL) in 2013. He is a Council Member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

He chaired the Committee that drafted the Securities and Exchange Commission Code of Corporate Governance for Public Companies 2011. Mr Mahmoud sits on the boards of various companies and charities including Stanbic 1BTC Pension Managers and Aliko Dangote Foundation.

He holds LLB and LLM (Company and Labour Law) from Ahmadu Bello University. In addition, he attended the Summer Institute in Corporate Law and Business, Northwestern University School of Law. He also obtained a Certificate in Techniques of Privatization, Harvard Institute of International Development as well as Certificate in Law and Development, International Development Law Institute.

Joining the board too is Mrs IFueko Okauru as a Non-Executive Director. Mrs Okauru is a Chartered Accountant, Chartered Tax Practitioner and Management Consultant. She served as Executive Chairman of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and as the Chairman, Joint Tax Board between 2004 and 2012. She also served as a Member and Coordinator, Sub-Commiftee on Capacity Building; United Nations Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Maters (August 2008 – July 2012).

She is the Founder and Director, ReSt-raL Limited (Leadership and Management Consultants) as well as Managing Partner of Compliance Professionals Plc. Mrs Okauru serves as an Independent Non-Executive Director on the boards of Nigerian Breweries Plc and SEPLAT Petroleum Dev. Company Limited. She is also the Chief Program Officer, Dagomo Foundation Nigeria Ltd/Gte.

Mrs Okauru is currently engaged as an associate with the Harvard University Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS) undertaking research in Leadership, Social Enterprise, Culture and the Nigerian Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Lagos, Imperial College, London and Harvard Kennedy School.