I don’t know if anyone recalls the GSM revolution in Nigeria sometime in 2001.
Well one of my companies was in the thick of it and we wanted to work with the networks MTN and Econet Wireless to implement a virtual and logical top up.
To explain further we decided that since the networks had claimed that the cost of printing the cards was so high it was only economical to print N1,500 (MTN) and N1000 (Econet) denominations, we would provide an electronic platform to dispense airtime to users in smaller denominations.
We were able to get Econet to agree but MTN proved difficult. They had signed a deal exclusively with another company already which originated more or less from SA and so we the Nigerian company could not be granted same.
It took the then Vice President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to intervene and insist that as a Nigerian business we MUST be given a chance. That is how we came to a compromise and signed a joint venture agreement to work together.
What this meant is that Nigerians benefitted from being able to buy lower denomination cards. Imagine the dilemma being stuck with the option of buying either a N1500 or N1000 recharge only.
I am proud to say that myself and my partners contributed to this innovation and we will not have succeeded without the intervention of a Vice President who understands the importance of local businesses thriving.
I have never had a chance to say thank you to Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, but I intend to do so by offering my support in the 2019 elections.
This is my Atiku Story.