Twenty media professionals across the country have been selected for the maiden Media Innovation Programme by MTN Nigeria in partnership with the School of Media and Communications, Pan-Atlantic University.
The six-month fully funded fellowship is for innovative storytellers and media leaders that will equip them with new skills needed to function in the rapidly changing media world.
The MTN Media Innovation Programme began on May 23, 2022 and will run until October 28, 2022. The MTN-MIP Fellows cut across print, broadcast, online and social media.
Wondering who the 2022 MTN-MIP Fellows are? See their bios below!
- Abidemi Diaro
Abidemi Dairo is a Senior producer/reporter with Channels Television and has been reporting on the showbiz industry since November 2008. He is a seasoned journalist with a background in traditional print media. Before transiting to broadcast, Dairo received certification in journalism and special reporting from the Timbuktu Media Training Institute.
From movies to music, fashion and general lifestyle stories, he has reported from within and outside the shores of the country and has interviewed celebrities from Nigeria and abroad.
He has displayed exemplary knowledge of the showbiz industry and has been featured as a subject matter analyst on some other media platforms. He currently produces the daily Entertainment News on Channels Television.
- Adeyemi Adepetun
Adeyemi Adepetun is the Assistant Editor, Communications and Technology Desk at The Guardian Newspaper. He holds both an MSc and BSc in Mass Communications; MBA in Finance and HND in Banking and Finance. He is also an Associate of the Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (ANIPR).
Adeyemi has 15 years of journalism experience and nine years specifically in the reportage of information and communications technology (ICT). On the ICT desk, he has written several stories that have shaped the sector and equally set the agenda for government at the different levels.
He is a well-travelled journalist, within and outside Africa, for training, and coverage of telecoms, ICT and business conferences. He has also won several industry recognitions and awards. He is currently the MTN Telecoms Reporter of the Year 2020 at the prestigious Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA). Adeyemi is married with kids. He is gentle, inquisitive, helpful and loves reading and travelling.
- Agbonkhese Oboh
Agbonkhese Oboh is a hands-on and motivated team player. He is an expert communicator, writer and editor.
He is Deputy Online Editor – currently acting as Online Editor – of Vanguard Newspapers. He has a strong background in newspaper publication, networking in the media space and creating a presence in the multi-media space.
Currently, he is getting grounded in videography, video and photo editing, digital reporting, audience interaction and engagement and specific writing for a specific online audience.
He has a Higher National Diploma (HND) in Mass Communication, Auchi Polytechnic; Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees, both in Literature-in-English. The first is from Lagos State University (LASU), and the other, the University of Lagos (UNILAG).
Agbonkhese has been commended for his emotional intelligence and enjoys learning and teaching.
- Ameh Ejekwonyilo
Ameh Ejekwonyilo is a Senior Reporter on the Judiciary, Human Rights and Anti-corruption Desk of Premium Times Newspaper. He is also a joint winner of Premium Times’ Best Story of the Year 2021.
Ameh is also a 2021 grantee of the COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists, which was sponsored by the National Geographic Society, Washington, U.S.
He writes on the impacts of violent conflicts on vulnerable people.
He applied for the MTN Nigeria Media Innovation Programme (MIP) with hopes to acquire innovative skills in the telecommunications sector. He also sought to be a part of the MIP in order to horn his journalistic skills with a view to exploring entrepreneurial opportunities in the media and technology industry.
- Chima Akwaja
Chima Akwaja is the Technology Editor of Leadership.. He elevates ICT reporting in Nigeria with major exclusives, breaking news, and incisive and carefully researched feature articles.
Popularly called “The HOD”, Chima has covered numerous ICT events across the globe. His working experiences cut across National Newspapers, International Tech Magazines and Online Media. He was a Lead Contributor to the INVEST IN NIGERIA 2010 Handbook, a foreign investment publication for Nigerian High Commission, United Kingdom.
Chima is a winner of the 2006 AISI Media Awards of the ECA/AISI/IICD; 2009 IT Champion Award by the Information Technology (Industry) Association of Nigeria (ITAN); ICT Journalist of the Year at the Titans of Tech 2019 Awards; Most Outstanding ICT Editor 2019 and ICT Editor of the Decade 2020 at the Africa Digital Awards respectively.
Chima holds M.A and B.Sc degrees in Mass Communications from the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN) and Imo State University, Owerri (IMSU). He has attended training sessions at Pan Atlantic University, and the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ), among others.
- Damilola Fajinmi
Damilola Fajinmi is a Media & Communications Professional with a demonstrated history of over eight years working in the media production industry. She is a radio broadcaster, content creator, voice actor, and scriptwriter, and is also skilled in marketing communications, and media buying.
Dami Faj as she is called by her faves is a family and health enthusiast. This passion led to the creation of her radio shows; Parenting Conversations with Dami Faj on Beat 97.9 FM Ibadan and Sabi Ya Health. She also co-anchors Toko Taya (Mr & Mrs ) an indigenous program on Naija 102.7 Ibadan.
She is outgoing and very energetic with strong communication and interpersonal skills. She is a well-organised professional with a track record that demonstrates self-motivation, creativity and initiative to achieve corporate and personal goals. In November 2021 she won an award for best performance in Media Plan Compliance in the southwest region.
Damilola is interested in young adults and she enjoys helping them discover who they are so they can think bigger and build better.
Damilola loves music, podcasts and checklists and loves to learn and apply. She enjoys quiet moments, reading, watching movies and spending quality time with her family.
- Daniel Adeyemi
Daniel Adeyemi is curious about how technology is impacting the lives of Africans. As a senior reporter at TechCabal, Daniel writes mostly about big tech and high growth companies operating in Africa. He shares insights from investors in the African ecosystem through his bi-monthly column, Ask an Investor.
Before joining TechCabal, he spent the past 4 years working in the tech and consulting industry as an Accountant. Outside work, Daniel spends his time reading, playing/watching soccer, volunteering with the TEDxLagos team and occasionally painting masterpieces.
He applied for the Media Innovation Programme in order to gain an expanded view of the media space and to become more valuable to his organisation and society.
- Elsie Godwin
Elsie Godwin is a versatile Media Personality – TV/Radio Presenter & Producer, Blogger, Writer, Conversationalist, Content Creator, Facilitator and Marketing, Brands & Corporate Communication Specialist. She is a Co-Anchor & Co-Producer on WAYS Show Africa showing weekdays on DSTV CH 408/Startimes Ch 308/GOTV Ch 112 and the producer and Anchor of Reviews on the Couch.
Her passion for creating content and impactful conversation led her into broadcasting where she has interviewed over 300 successful businessmen and women, across different industries in Nigeria, Africa & Beyond. She is passionate about telling stories of and having conversations with successful people in order to help shape the Nigerian and African narrative and to mentor the younger generation.
In her capacity as a media influencer, she works closely with media agencies (BHM, Plaqad, H+K Strategies, DottsMedia, Alder Consulting, Anakle, etc) to help create and share amazing brand stories. She’s also a Google influencer affiliate.
- Esther Ndu
Esther Ndu is a News Producer currently working at Arise News. She co-produces the mid-day news, the exchange news and the entertainment news daily. In addition to her day job as a journalist, she is also a member of the board of trustees in a private primary school.
Esther believes in broadcasting authentic news in a simple and easy to understand manner. She has been named producer of the year and is reliable when given tasks.
Esther holds a BA in Classics from the University of Ibadan and a professional certificate in Basic Presentation from the National Broadcast Academy, Nigeria. She is always seeking knowledge in order to impact her generation meaningfully, as she believes that everything should be done to better humankind and honour God.
She joined the Media Innovation Programme in order to learn more about the nexus between information and communication technology and how to use these to improve the media sector in Nigeria.
She loves children and hopes to write about them. She also cherishes her quiet time.
- Mike Okwoche
Mike Okwoche is an award-winning international broadcast journalist. He is a Senior Anchor and Head of Newscasters at Television Continental (TVC) in Lagos, Nigeria.
He is a graduate of Public Administration from the University of Maiduguri in Borno State. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the National Open University of Nigeria.
He is an Associate Lecturer at the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ), Lagos as an instructor on Broadcast Presentation. He is the Country Director of media and communications for Mater Africa, an international NGO on humanitarian aid based in Italy and Nigeria.
He is an Alumnus of the United States International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), a program he ran in Washington DC, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina and California.
He has bagged the Newscaster of the Year award by the prestigious Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA) in 2019. He also won the Nigeria Broadcasters Merit Award (NBMA) in 2014.
He was the project coordinator of the Media Literacy campaign for the U.S. Department of State in Nigeria which was administered by AlumniTIES in Washington DC.
Mike is the President of the United States Government Exchange Alumni Association in Nigeria, an association created by the United States Mission in Nigeria to rally U.S. exchange alumni members in partnership to cause positive social change wherever they are.
He is the founder of Rewired Africa Media Network, a media content agency passionate about civic education, training, advocacy and mentoring in Nigeria.
He is married to Emem Okwoche with two lovely daughters, Elsie and Eliana.
- Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen
Nahimah Ajikanle Nurudeen is the Founder and Lead Strategist at TenticP Communications Nigeria Limited. She is a seasoned journalist and media practitioner with over 14 years of experience in the Media industry. She is currently the Managing Editor, AP News published by TenticP Communications.
Nahimah has a keen history of working in the media industry with excellent skill demonstrations in Corporate Communications, Strategic Planning, Marketing Communication, News Writing and Editing as well as Advocacy/ Communication for Social Change.
Having worked previously with Daily Trust newspapers covering several sectors of the Nigerian economy, she has deep knowledge of the nation’s business environment and social, cultural and political landscape.
Nahimah holds a Master’s degree in Mass Communications from the University of Lagos and is currently a PhD student at the Lagos State University, LASU, Ojo.
She is widely travelled for both local and international workshops and training.
- Peter Oluka
Oluka, Peter Ikenna is a practising ICT Journalist; Technopreneur, and Speech Writer, amongst other Media & Public Relations interests.
He is currently running TechEconomy.ng, a digital news platform that focuses on Business-People-Platforms-Institutions leveraging technology to enhance productivity and challenge the quantum of inadequacies in emerging economies like Nigeria/Africa.
Prior to that, he worked at the Nigeria CommunicationsWeek – a medium with a penchant for ICT reportage – as a Senior Reporter.
Peter started his mainstream journalism in 2010 with the Nigerian NewsDirect Newspaper based in Ogun State.
He also co-founded GrassRoots.ng, a news platform rooted in speaking for the global citizen. He also superintended the launch of NewsRepublic247.com.
Peter is currently the Vice President of Marketing & Communications, Njalo.ng; an online marketplace for ‘Classified’.
He obtained PGD (Mass Communications) from NOUN in 2015 and HND (Mass Communication) from the Institute of Management and Technology, IMT, Enugu in 2008.
Peter describes his quest for journalism and media practices as exceptional.
- Rasaq Ayinla
Razaq Adesanya Ayinla is a journalist with over 15 years of practice. He has valuable experience in both Broadcast and Print Journalism. He began his career as a Graduate Intern at Cub Reporter and graduated as Staff Reporter, Proof-Reader, Assistant Editor, Regional Editor and News Editor.
He currently prepares, collates and edits news stories and features from Southwest and Kwara States. He edits and produces news across western Nigeria for BusinessDay and makes daily editorial contributions to the paper’s general and specialised pages.
- Sakina Ahmed
Sakina Ahmed began her career in broadcast journalism when she was employed by the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria as an Assistant Translator and posted to one of its FM stations in Yola in 2011.
She is currently working as a Reporter for Fombina FM Yola with a passion for reporting on health, the environment and women and girl child rights.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in Language and Communication Arts from Modibbo Adamawa University, Yola
She applied for the MTN Media innovation program to gain the required innovative skills needed to recognize opportunities that will help her improve her career prospects and equally be an important contribution to society.
- Samson Akintaro
Samson Akintaro is a seasoned journalist with a knack for technology reporting. Akintaro started his journalism career in 2005 at the now-defunct Financial Standard Newspaper, from where he was drafted to the ICT Desk as a young reporter.
Being a versatile reporter, he joined another special publication, Stockswatch, in 2008, where he became a Capital Market correspondent for the paper. However, his love of tech reporting saw him move to a specialised and one of the leading ICT Magazines in the country, IT & Telecom Digest, in April 2011.
At IT & Telecom Digest, he rose from the position of a reporter to become a senior editorial staff of the publication, taking responsibility for the editorial content of the Magazine, while projecting the industry to the world through his reportage.
In April 2018, he joined the New Telegraph Newspaper as ICT Editor, a position he currently occupies. His incisive and illuminating writings about the Nigerian ICT/Telecom industry earned him a nomination for the Telecom Reporter of the Year in 2019 at the Nigeria Media Merit Award (NMMA). In 2020, he emerged as ICT Reporter of The Year, at the prestigious Africa Digital Awards (ADA).
In April 2022, he joined Nairametrics as Tech Analyst, where he continues to report and analyse issues in the ICT industry.
- Temitayo Jaiyeola
Temitayo Jaiyeola is a technology correspondent at the PUNCH newspaper. He is interested in stories that explore the intersection between tech and human activities. He is a data enthusiast, loves numbers, and insists that he should have studied Economics.
He writes prose and poetry when he isn’t haunted by the ghost of deadlines. Some of his writings have received positive nods — he was second runner-up for the Quramo Writers Prize in 2019.
When he is not writing or reading, he often folds inwards or takes random strolls.
- Ugo Unwuaso
Onwuaso Ugochukwu Francis, is a tech and ICT enthusiast, working with Nigeria CommunicationsWeek as a Senior Correspondent covering ICT, Business and Logistics.
He believes that technology is at the core of our ever-changing and evolving world and has written several articles on technology since he started covering the sector.
He has received several professional and capacity trainings on Information and Communications Technology (ICT) organized by reputable companies like Google, Microsoft, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA), etc.
Ugochukwu is the 2019 and 2021 winner of CommunicationsWeek’s Best Employee of the Year award.
Ugochukwu is a native of Awka, in Anambra State and is married with four beautiful children.
He holds a post-graduate degree in Public Administration (MPA) from Lagos State University, and an HND degree in Business Administration and Management from Lagos State Polytechnic, Isolo.
- Uhuotu Omilabu
Uhuotu Omilabu is a young, aspiring and resourceful broadcast journalist with a strong passion to stay above mediocrity as a reporter, editor and compere.
With a degree in Communication Arts, Uhuotu has contributed to the media space with reports on topical issues bothering on women and girls’ issues, health, education, agriculture etc.
She has been a part of several training sessions within her state of practice and across the nation. Uhuotu currently serves in the News Department of Inspiration FM, Uyo as a producer, reporter, editor and show host which highlights her versatility in the media profession.
Holding fast to honesty and integrity as core values, her philosophy is to treat people the way you want to be treated. She strongly believes that this will make the world a better place. Uhuotu is married with children.
- Vanessa Obioha
Vanessa Obioha, a writer and a journalist joined THISDAY Newspapers in 2012 as a contributing writer. She became a staff member in 2016, covering lifestyle and entertainment. However, she has ranged broadly across the newspaper pages, reporting on politics, business, sports, tourism, human interest, and other subjects.
She has also profiled prominent personalities in the entertainment and lifestyle sector in the lifestyle section of the Sunday paper, The Glitterati.
In 2015, she was nominated for the prestigious Nigeria Media Merit Awards.
Vanessa is also interested in poetry and has taken a screenwriting course with the New York Film Academy. She is a graduate of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism with distinction in Mass Communication.
With an eclectic taste in music, she enjoys listening to beautiful sounds, watching films and TV series, reading, travelling and discovering new cultures.
- Wasilat Azeez
Wasilat Azeez is a finance journalist, data enthusiast and fact-checker. She holds a first-class honours bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos.
She began her journalism career as a graduate intern with the Cable Newspaper Journalism Foundation (CNJF) in 2020. Upon completing the programme, she got automatic employment at TheCable, Nigeria’s independent online newspaper.
She is passionate about spotlighting women and persons with disabilities (PWDs), especially those who have made outstanding records in their respective fields by overcoming barriers and beating the odds to reach their goals.
As a budding academic in gender and development, Wasilat has co-authored a research paper on The Role of Associations of Women Journalists in Promoting the Interests of Female Journalists in Nigeria.
She believes that the MTN-MIP will help her grow in her journalism career by increasing her knowledge of the telecoms industry.
TechEconomy Publisher, Peter Oluka Joins NiRA Board
Peter, a multi-award winner practicing ICT Journalist was elected at the 15th Annual General Meeting (AGM) cum election held in Lagos on Friday at The Zone, Lagos where Mr. Adesola Akinsanya and Mr. Murtala Abdullahi emerged the new President and the Vice President respectively.
They took over from Mr. Mohammed Rudman and Mr. Toba Obaniyi in that order. Other members elected into NIRA Executive Board of Directors (EBoD) at the meeting are; Mr. Ebenezer Dare of Hostlag Limited, and Seun Kehinde of QServers Networks Limited.
Meanwhile, five members have been elected to the Board of Trustees of NiRA. They are; Mrs Ibukun Odusote; Publisher of ITRealms, Mr. Remmy Nweke; former Financial Secretary of NiRA, Mr. Biyi Oladipo; former NIRA president, Mrs. Mary Uduma and Executive Director Centre for Information Technology and Development (CITAD) Mr. Yunusa Zakari Ya’u.
Peter Oluka has been a .ng Domain Name Brand Ambassador since 2015). He actually started his mainstream journalism in 2010 working with the Nigerian NewsDirect Newspaper. His penchant for newsworthy events and stunts registered NewsDirect’s presence in the league of Property & Environment and Labour pious media outfits.
He also Co-founded GrassRoots.ng, a news platform rooted in Speaking for the Global Citizen. He also Co-founded Njalo.ng; an online marketplace for ‘Easy sell & Easy Buy’ or new and used products.
Nigerian Active Phones Tops 209m￼
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission, Professor Umar Danbatta disclosed this while delivering the Keynote Address at the dinner hosted by the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Media Merit Award, NMMA, to flag-off the commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of NMMA as Africa’s foremost media excellence recognition institution, at the Lagos Sheraton Hotel on Tuesday night.
“This represents a teledensity of 109.47%. Besides, basic Internet subscriptions have also grown from zero in the pre-liberalisation era to over 152 million. It is also gratifying that the broadband subscriptions now stand at 85 million, representing a 44.49% penetration,” Danbatta said.
Dwelling on the topic, “The NCC New Strategic Vision (Implementation) Plan (SVP) 2021-2025: A Transformation Agenda”,which signposts thedirection of the Nigerian telecom industry in the next five years,Danbatta recalled the trajectory of the evolution of telecoms in Nigeria.
Represented by the Director, Public Affairs of the NCC, Mr. Reuben Muoka, the CEO of NCC, he recalled the nation’s showing of a paltry 18,724 telephone lines at independence in 1960 to serve a population of 40 million people, translating to a teledensity of 0.5 at that time.
Today, “the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector contributed 18.44 per cent to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the second quarter of 2022. From this figure, telecommunications sector alone contributed 15 per cent,” Danbatta said to place on record the unprecedented contribution of the telecom and ICT industry to GDP.
N200 Billion ICT Bank and other Strategies to Rescue the Nigerian Telecom Sector ￼
By Elvis Eromosele
The Nigerian telecommunications sector must have nine lives. No, it is not a cat. It is however almost always in a near constant mortal struggle with the forces that be – read, government and its agents. The fact that it’s still here means that it has somehow managed to survive, remained sustainable and even dared to thrive. It is a phenomenon that ought to be studied.
Every indicator shows that the telecom sector remains the bright spot in the nation’s weak economy. It drives socio-economic development, boosts productivity and contributes to improving the lives of citizens like no other sector.
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted negatively on the global economy by precipitating lockdown and economic disruptions with transport, tourism and aviation sectors tumbling. The telecom sector however continued to “buga”. It saw an increase in voice service and massive growth of digital channels for daily routine activities ranging from telecommuting to entertainment and social engagements. The sector witnessed the growth and saw huge profits as financial reports from major operators show.
The Nigeria Telecom sector is a gift that keeps on giving. It has witnessed strong growth in recent years and is expected to have continued growth over the foreseeable future. The growth in the sector, according to industry watchers, has been driven by the increasing population, growing demand for communication services, and rising adoption of smartphone services. Some experts have pointed to strong support by the regulatory authorities which in recent times has led to the licensing of the 5G network in the country – a feat some have called the first in Africa.
Investors in telecom operations are smiling at the bank. It is not surprising therefore that everyone wants a piece of the action, even the government.
It must be stated that the government collects the value-added tax, annual operating levies, licensing fees and duties among others. This is in addition to all the other statutory taxes including PAYE and withholding tax.
Now, there are reports that the Finance Minister, Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed, is actively pushing for another tax, a five per cent excise duty on telecoms services. Most right-thinking Nigerians, including, interestingly, the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Prof Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, have kicked against it. If a recent news report is to be believed, the finance minister is not backing down.
If the government is keen on milking the telecom sector, it should at least step up on its behalf and help tackle some of the long-standing issues that have held the sector back.
The challenges are not new. Many of them have plagued the sector since the liberalization of the industry. Industry experts are quick to point out the fact that these challenges are also opportunities when viewed through the right lenses.
Here are seven of the most pressing challenges, with what I hope are feasible solutions. The government should give it a look-in if doesn’t want to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.
Difficulty in accessing long-term funds for the industry – The government must hasten to establish an ICT Bank. While it should be in the mould of the Agricultural Bank, it should operate like a venture capital entity. So, after due diligence, the ICT Bank will invest in tech starting with a clearly stated exit /pull-out date. I propose an initial take-off grant of N200 billion naira only.
Right of way – The goal of the right of way policies should not be revenue generation but to facilitate the speedy deployment of telecom infrastructure. In the short term, states can take a leaf from Ekiti State which reduced telecom’s right of way charges by 97 per cent. For the long term, states should install road ducts on a build-and-lease basis. The federal government can set an example here by installing ducts on all new federal roads and leasing to operators based on an agreed realistic billing scheduled for usage.
Multiple taxations – Again, governments at all levels, need to stop seeing telcos as only cash cows. Efforts must be towards proper harmonization of taxes and levies and so make it uniform across every state and locality. This will undoubtedly aid the planning and deployment of services by operators.
Energy challenge – Yes, the telcos knew that Nigeria had a power problem when they paid for licenses in 2001. But who could have imagined that the issue will persist unresolved, for this long? Currently, the logistics of ensuring round-the-clock availability of power is a nightmare that keeps whole teams awake many a night. A straightforward solution is the establishment of energy parks to serve critical infrastructure. QED!
Local content – Some progress has been made here, especially through the National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP). To move forward the government and other corporations need to host local content locally. As a corollary, Nigeria must urgently adopt the doctrine of data sovereignty.
Multiple regulations – This is another problem that is almost as old as the industry itself. The NCC has done a lot of work here. Nigeria must explore a converged regulatory regime as the way out.
Capacity building – Human resources have always been an issue but the recent increase if the rate of migration has made it a mini-crisis. The Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) and the NCC have their work cut out for them – bridge the gap between academia and industry via curriculum reform involving the industry and internships.
I’ll be the first to admit that these problems and solutions are not exhaustive. The NCC may want to consider calling a stakeholder forum to deliberate on the problems and proffer solutions. The white paper produced can now be the basis of engagement with the government and its relevant agencies.
For the government, the focus should not be only on sharing the existing telecom cake, but also on helping the industry bake a bigger cake.
Elvis Eromosele, a Corporate Communication professional and public affairs analyst lives in Lagos.