Telecoms stakeholders’ have called on the Minister of Communication, Adebayo Shittu, to keep his eyes on what can be done to deepen broadband penetration so that Nigeria will hit the targeted 30 per cent penetration come December 2018, than causing distractions at Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting with 2019 presidential campaign fez caps.
Many of the industry experts who spoke to Business Hilights on Thursday, expressed worry on why the Minister is yet to actively engage states governors on how best to track the challenges of broadband penetration which according to them include issues on Right of Way, multiple taxation, vandalism, BTS shut down by states’ agencies and forex scarcity.
Experts said hence the Minister’s efforts for the federal government to float an ICT University has crashed at the National Assembly, the best gift he can give Nigeria which he will be remembered for will be driving nationwide broadband penetration to an enviable limit before the end of his stay as a Minister of Communications.
Business Hilights gathered that but for the smartness of the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha, who halted Shittu’s distribution of fez caps and branded materials promoting the candidacy of President Muhammadu Buhari for the 2019 election, great distraction would have occurred during the Wednesday’s FEC meeting at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Shittu had appeared at the meeting in a fez cap with the inscription: ‘Continuity ‘19 – Muhammadu Buhari/Osinbajo’.
Sources revealed that whereas other members of the FEC were burdened with issues raised by former president Olusegun Obasanjo in his latest letter to President Muhammadu Buhari, Shittu was seen arriving the Council Chambers with a ‘Ghana-must-go’ bag, containing the fez caps and other materials for distribution to FEC members.
Though some members had received the souvenirs before the SGF halted the sharing, all of them that filed out of the Council Chambers with the caps carefully stowed away in their bags, apparently to avoid the prying eyes of reporters or possible backlash by a section of Nigerians.
Many Nigerians, who observed the cap on the head of the minister, wondered why the government described Obasanjo’s advice to Buhari to dump 2019 re-election bid as distraction when a minister is even driving a bigger distraction inside the FEC meeting.
However, in his brief explanation after the Council meeting, Shittu averred that “The cap is for politics. It is not for the Federal Executive Council deliberations”.