Tech Personality of the Week: Prof. Umar Garba Dambatta

Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta is an accomplished administrator, visionary leader and astute manager of man and resources. As the Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), he has demonstrated a firm understanding of the urgency to ensure improved broadband penetration for Nigeria by setting realistic growth targets and working assiduously with relevant stakeholders (operators, state governments and MDAs) to ensure the actualisation of the broadband and 5G goals.

His effort at strengthening human capacity development in the sector is as legendary as it is commendable and so is his push for more local content in the ICT industry as a whole.

Danbatta earned his BEng, MSc degrees from the Technical University of Wroclaw in Poland and received his PhD from the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST).

The multiple award-winning professor successfully spearheaded the attainment and surpassing of Nigeria’s national broadband target in 2018, and he is currently among those leading the charge for the realization of the new national broadband target of 70% by 2025, after the country achieved and surpassed its earlier national target of 30% penetration in 2018.

Through effective regulatory regime and various cutting-edge initiatives, Danbatta has strengthened the role of telecommunications sector as a major contributor to the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth, and boosted telecoms investment inflows from $36 billion to over $70 billion since 2015, among others.

Before his appointment to lead NCC in 2015, Danbatta, who is a professor of telecommunications engineering, had worked in academia as lecturer where he supervised more than 60 PhD, MEng and BEng projects in diverse areas of telecommunications, rising to the position of Acting Vice-Chancellor in a Nigerian university.

He was the Vice-President of the Digital Bridge Institute (DBI), an international centre for advanced communications studies established in 2004 by the Commission (NCC) for capacity in diverse areas of Information and Communication Technology (ICT).

While at DBI, Danbatta developed expertise in the following major areas of ICT implementation, policy and regulation, including Regulation of the Telecommunications Sector of the Nigerian Economy; Competition, Interconnection and Price Regulations in a Developing Economy; and Issues Concerning Authorization of Telecommunications Services in a Developing Economy.

The other areas of his expertise are Strategies for ensuring Universal Access and Service to Telecommunications Services; Strategies towards Effective Spectrum Management in a Developing Economy; Issues on Institutional and Legal Framework for Effective Regulation of Telecommunications Services; and, New and Emerging Technologies and Impact on Regulation of the Telecommunications Sector of a Developing Economy, among others.

He is a recipient of scores of distinguished awards and certificates of honour both nationally and internationally, including the prestigious Zik Prize in Professional Leadership. His strides in reviving the Emergency Communications Centers (ECCs) and the introduction of harmonized national emergency communication number, 112, helped the NCC to win the International Public Relations Association Golden Award in the year 2000, as the centers played a pivotal role in containing the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria.

Prof. Danbatta has served two terms of five years as a Member of Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). He is a Fellow of many professional bodies, including the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Nigerian Academy of Engineering (NAEng), Renewable and Alternative Energy Society (RAES) and Nigerian Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (NIEEE).


  • Fellow, Nigeria Academy of Engineering (FAEng);
  • Fellow, Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE);
  • Fellow, Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineering (FIEEE);
  • Fellow, Renewable and Alternative Energy Society of Nigeria (FRAES).
  • Ph.D (Honoris Causa), University of Jos

Honorary Degrees

Selected Awards for Danbatta and NCC under his leadership

Professor Danbatta is a recipient of several awards and recognitions both locally and internationally.

He is an author and philanthropist.



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