After Successfully Tackling MTN’s Fines and the 9Mobile Sale, Adebayo Shittu Resigns as Communications Minister

After Successfully Tackling MTN's Fines and the 9Mobile Sale, Shittu Adebayo Resigns as Communications Minister

Nigeria’s Minister of Communications, Barrister Adebayo Shittu, has announced his resignation. In his resignation letter, the former Oyo State Attorney General explained to the president that his resignation was to allow him focus on his ambition to become governor of Oyo State.

Appointed into office in October 2015, Barrister Shittu has only been in office for about two years and eleven months.

Evidently, Barrister Shittu was no tech industry player, neither did he have a tech track record. His appointment to the office of Communications Minister seemed a sit-tight affair that allowed him appear relevant in the country’s politics so he could fall back into the Oyo State gubernatorial race. His resignation now only confirms that.

However, his time in office was not without merits.

The ministry of communications is one of the busiest in the government. Alongside several departments, the ministry also has five agencies working under it. They include the NCC, NITDA, NigComSat, NIPOST and the Galaxy Backbone Initiative.

During his time as minister, Shittu also helped to support some government and private initiatives to foster tech development in the country. The minister faced two major challenges: the MTN fine and the 9Mobile crisis.

Of course, the MTN fine and the issues around it had been around for a while. Yet, the minister played a key role in bringing up the matter in 2015, and for helping to resolve it.  As a stakeholder in the matter, he supported the NCC countermeasures geared towards a successful resolution. Some of these measures include a significant reduction in the fine and the forced IPO of MTN on the Nigerian stock market.

Another key challenge the minister faced was the debt crisis of 9Mobile. In 2017, the NCC under Shittu intervened alongside the CBN in the 9Mobile debt issue. After failing to pay back its $1.2billion debt to 13 Nigerian banks, 9Mobile was in danger of a collapse. NCC’s timely intervention helped to keep the telco in business.

But it didn’t stop there; Mr. Shittu’s ministry coordinated the sale of 9Mobile to new investors. The key requirements for the sale were a financial strength to repay the debt and a history in the telecom business. And with the recent approval, Teleology looks set to take up the reins at that company.

Another agency, NITDA, also got some revitalization under his reign. After struggling to maintain its position as the government’s foremost tech regulator, NITDA now looks strong to monitor government IT contracts. The agency currently inspects government IT contractors to reduce the incidents of quack jobs.

However, owing to his ambitions to be Governor, one could argue that Barrister Shittu played a somewhat minimal role in government as the NCC, for instance, already works on autopilot, almost independent of its supervising ministry.

We wish him luck in his gubernatorial ambitions!

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