By Olabisi Olaleye
A change of guard took place at ntel, Nigeria’s first 4G/LTE-Advanced network yesterday following the resignation of pioneer Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Kamar Abass.
A statement signed by Director, External Affairs, the company, Mr. Osondu Nwokoro, said, “Mr. Abass has stepped down from his role as CEO due to urgent personal and medical considerations. The NatCom board has named Abhulime Ehiagwina as Acting CEO and the company will embark on the search for a substantive CEO in due course.”
But industry stakeholders who do not want their names in print said Abass’ exit was certainly not based on health grounds. They also argued that he does not have any threatening or terminal illness but left honourably because the company was not really doing well because of paucity of funds.
One industry insider said funds were not pumped into the company and there were fears of history repeating itself.
Kamar Abass joined the Board of Directors of NatCom in 2015 as the CEO of ntel and led the company through launch on April 8, 2016 with operations in Lagos and Abuja and subsequently in Port Harcourt by December 2016.
He graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and holds an MSc in Transportation Planning and Management from the University of Westminster, London, UK, as well as an MBA from Cranfield University’s School of Management, Bedfordshire, UK.
With wide ranging experience in the global telecommunications industry, Abass led ntel to record a string of firsts; first advanced 4G/LTE network providing super fast iInternet access that enables voice, data video and TV on demand; first network to make a 4G data call on Monday, January 18, 2016; first network to make a VoLTE Call on Tuesday, February 23, 2016; first 4G/LTE advanced network to begin full operations in Nigeria on Friday, April 8, 2016 in Lagos and Abuja; first network to launch a bespoke 4G/LTE dual-SIM phone in Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the new acting CEO, Abhulime Ehiagwina, holds a BSc Accounting degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, an MBA from the University of Lagos and an Advanced Management and Leadership Programme (AMP) certificate from the Said Business School, Oxford University, UK.
Prior to joining ntel as Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Abhulime was CFO and Board member of Helios Towers Nigeria where he oversaw the Finance and IT functions. He helped grow the company, EBITDA, by over 300 per cent in three years and raised a $250 million eurobond, first non-bank or oil/gas company out of Nigeria. He also sat on the board of Interswitch as a non-Executive Director during this period. Abhulime has over 25 years financial management experience.
In the interim, the company has assured all stakeholders that it remains committed to existing obligations and will honour them. It has also clarified that the leadership transition will be smooth and orderly in accordance with no impact on its operations.