Nigeria’s state-owned satellite operator NigComSat Ltd yesterday officially welcomed on board its new Board Chairman, Architect Yusuf Kazaure, following recent board-level changes in many parastatals under the Ministry of Communications and Digital Economy.
In December 2019, the Federal Government of Nigeria issued a public notice appointing Yusuf Kazaure as the Board Chairman replacing Chief Dr George Nnadubem Moghalu, alongside three other appointees for NigComSat: Dr Najeem Salam, Executive Director, Marketing and Business Development; Prof Abdu Ja’afaru Bambale, Executive Director, Technical Services; and Hadi Mohammed, Executive Director, Administration.
The appointees have received their official letter of appointment from Nigeria’s Honourable Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr Isa Ali Ibrahim Pantami, indicating formal assumption of duties in their new role.
The appointments came in the wake of an intensifying call for full commercialisation and repositioning of NigComSat as many Nigerians express concerns over underutilisation of the company’s NigComSat-1R communications satellite and rising year-on-year operational losses.
Shortly after an official tour of NigComSat facilities in November by Nigeria’s lawmakers, the Chairman of the House Committee on ICT, Abubakar Suleija, told journalists that he was griefed at what he described as ‘negligence’ on the side of the board. According to him, the board has failed in maximising opportunities in the satellite communications segment to advance the country’s economy.
Yusuf Kazaure’s appointment couldn’t have come at any better time than now as NigComSat is undergoing a repositioning in a rapidly competitive market. Kazaure and NigComSat’s management team led by Dr Abimbola Alale will have a lot to tackle, especially, with the expansion of large multinational satellite operators and the emergence of highspeed satellite constellations in Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
However, some observers believe that Kazaure’s combined experience of over 25 years in the ICT industry will be instrumental in repositioning NigComSat and securing Nigeria’s slice of the satellite economy boom. Kazaure was part of the pioneer team that launched Galaxy Backbone, a state-owned ICT solutions company, in 2006 and later rose through the ranks to become the company’s CEO/MD in 2014 until his appointment in December 2019 as the Board Chairman of NigComSat.
Yusuf Kazaure holds a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from Bayero University Kano and an M.Sc in Architecture from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, as well as a Diploma in Computing from Oxford University and an Advanced Management Programme for Executive Directors from the Lagos Business School.
Joseph Ibeh is a Mandela Washington Fellow and Senior Analyst at Space in Africa. His experience spans industry research and market analysis with a focus on African-grown NewSpace companies, commercial space industry, national space programmes and real-life application of space science for sustainable development in Africa.