By Olutayo Irantiola
The Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, has gone beyond being a typical government agency to becoming a case study on strategic engagement and education of the population. The agency has made significant progress in its strides to ensure that everyone within the country knows their digital rights and they are well informed. Leaving no strata of the society behind, NCC has created a series of platforms wherein people are engaged at their level across the country.
With the creation of the Consumer Affairs Bureau in September 2001, the rate at which people have been informed has been unprecedented. Some avenues through which people have been educated include the face-to-face events; digital, print, and electronic channels-
The Telecom Consumer Parliament (TCP) is NCC’s flagship forum for in-depth engagement with service providers to discuss issues of contemporary interest affecting consumers of telecom services in the country. TCP aims to shape the regulatory policies of the Commission and had equally led to the development of several regulations that are benefiting consumers and other stakeholders in the industry. TCP had also become and remains a credible and useful platform for consumers, Telecom Operators, and the Regulator to reflect on and proffer solutions to pertinent industry issues. The agency continued to be innovative in its approach when the pandemic struck, by organizing the 1st virtual edition of the Telecom Consumer Parliament where stakeholders were educated in August 2020.
Also, with the intent of not leaving anyone out of the educative series, the commission equally created another sector-based engagement forum tagged, “Telecom Consumer Conversations”. The TCC is a matrix of the Year for the Nigerian Telecom Consumer designed by the NCC to expand the frontiers of engagement with telecom consumers in all nooks and crannies of Nigeria, and the NCC Zonal Offices are the key drivers of the campaign. This particular educative series is targeted at various sectoral groups such as Professionals; Youth Corps Members; University Communities; Market and Village Squares. With this in mind, everyone is engaged at a level that is within their intellectual capacity. Recently, the Village Square Conversations took place in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
NCC has also shown her deftness in using broadcast channels through which they reach out to various stakeholders. The commission has started the Telecom Consumer Town Hall on Radio (TCTHR), a radio-based interactive consumer outreach programme of the commission, broadcast under the auspices of NCC Digital Signature, the commission’s flagship radio programme. During TCTHR, there would be NCC officials and representatives of MNOs in attendance in the studio to educate listeners.
As the month of May 2022 was coming to a close, another NCC Digital Signature Programme was announced. The TV show will be televised every Thursday on NTA International, at 7:30 pm. With this show, there is no way that anyone will stay oblivious of the strides of the commission in the country.
According to a Statistica report, in a survey conducted in 2020, most of the households in Nigeria had a television. The majority of households owning a TV were located in urban Nigeria. In urban areas, 61.1 percent of the respondents owned a television, while around two percent declared that someone else in their households had one. Another report by SES, the leader in global content connectivity solutions, in its annual Satellite Monitor, noted that satellite TV reception was the choice for 11.8 million households in Nigeria in 2019. These figures would have increased and these statistics have made the NCC respond by creating another TV series tagged “Telecom Television Dialogue” where an executive of the commission speaks to Nigerians via television. This approach is very strategic to reach the various ends of the country through television programming.
One cannot be surprised at the abundance of international leadership opportunities, awards, accolades, and assignments given to the helmsman of NCC, Prof Umar Danbatta, and his team. This is premised on the various exploits of the commission and many telecoms regulators across Africa have been coming to take lessons from Nigeria.
The use of new media for NCC is unprecedented for a regulator in Nigeria. The updates of news to various media partners- print and online are massive; they have also adopted social media as their home. With these updates, they have gained massive followership and they can use the various social media channels to attract Nigerian netizens. Through their social media handles, they have been able to host Twitter live chat sessions- Telecom & the Citizen; disseminate timely information & education via NCC’s social media handle to their teeming consumers. The commission also produces Skits, digital banners, and audio-visuals for consumer education and awareness periodically.
Also, the commission’s adoption of podcasting is novel. Podcasting is a growing concern in Nigeria and the agency has explored this digital channel at reaching her customers. They have really shown their digital cum technical strength in using new media.
NCC has become a government agency that can run competitively with any private sector player in the strategic deployment of communications tactics. This, in turn, has endeared the organization to make Nigerians. We need more of such agencies, commissions, and ministries to change societal perception and also appreciate the effort that is being put into the overall development of Nigeria.
Olutayo IRANTIOLA is a Lagos based PR Consultant, Public Affairs Analyst, Citizen Journalist and Creative Writer. His blogs on www.peodavies.com. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org and on 08052048143