NITEL-Nigerian Telecommunication Limited is established and owned by the Federal Government of Nigeria. In essence, it is the State-owned company that is entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing the provisions of telecommunications services in Nigeria. Incidentally, this is the main objective of NITEL. The company is set up as an amalgam of the Telecommunications Division of the defunct Post and telecommunications (P&T), and the Nigerian External Telecommunications Limited (NET).
Fully commercialized under the privatization and commercialization policy of the federal government, NITEL has therefore come to acquire Public Limited Company (PLC). This is aimed at committing NITEL Plc to the provisions of efficient, reliable, and cost effective telecommunications services nationally and internationally. This has remained the main focus and guiding principle on which the company’s operatives are based.
For several years after its inception, NITEL Plc had enjoyed total monopoly.
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- Until lately, the policies of commercialization, and deregulation under the privatization concept have changed this total monopoly to partial monopoly. Before now, NITEL Plc was generally perceived as not willing to tolerate Privet Telecommunications Operators (PTOS) to be partners in progress in making telecommunications services available to people (Ekundayo, 1998).
Presently, all these have changed since the entrance of other telecommunications organizations into the industry. Ironically, these Private Telecommunications Operators (PTOs) are not really private and independent since they make use of NITEL’s gateway interconnectivity. This has therefore positioned NITEL’s new status in the telecommunications service provisions under a new dispensation with some challenges. These challenges can be found in the areas of customer satisfaction, human resources development, revenue generation, teledensity, as well as managerial and technical expertise.
NITEL as a typical modern organization has already started experiencing the impacts of these challenges. And as a measure to contain and handle these inevitable challenges, the top management of the organization is billed for training. This will enable them easily adjust to the prevailing challenges of the telecommunications industry, as well as cope with other national telecommunications policies (Omeata, 2000).
NITEL has to wake up to the reality that the era of arrogance and non-challant attitudes in corporate management is gone. Many other telecommunications operators are already in the business, and they are competing seriously with NITEL for customers, services, efficiency, revenue (Arzika, 2000).
Organization And Administrative/Leadership Structure Of Nitel Plc
NITEL operates three-tier organizational structure. The first is the Corporate Headquarters that is located in Abuja. The second has to do with the five zonal areas known as Lagos Zone with headquarters in Lagos; North-West Zone with head-quarters in Kaduna; North-East Zone with headquarters in Bauchi; South-West Zone with headquarters in Ibadan and; South-East Zone with headquarters in Enugu. The third-tier represents Territorial Headquarters of each state of the federation, Plus three other territorial headquarters in Lagos namely the Ikeja Territorial Headquarters, Lagos Mainland Territorial Headquarters, and Victoria Island Territorial Headquarters.
In consonance with the organizational structures, NITEL Plc also operates three layers of administrative structure. The Corporate Headquarters exercises the highest administrative and control structure. The composition of this highest administrative body of NITEL Plc is often in form of Board of Directors with the Chairman of the Board as the custodian of authority of NITEL in general, while the Managing Director is the Chief Executive Officer. There are however other members of the board.
Despite the fact that NITEL as business organization is a public limited company, yet the ever powerful influence of the federal government in the administrative matters of NITEL Plc through the Ministry of Communications cannot be ignored. After the affairs of the board of director, the next administrative hierarchy is other General Managers, including those of the afore-identified zones. These zonal general mangers oversee the administration of NITEL Plc in the zones concerned. Following these general managers are the Deputy General Managers, as well as Territorial Managers for each state within each zone. Next in the administrative hierarchy are the Senior Managers, and these are followed by Managers till the hierarchy descends to the least or lowest personnel in the organization (NITEL Plc).
NITEL started operation with about 500,000 telephone lines, and about 13,000 telex lines in the network. However with the introduction of the digital system into the network from 1990, the total installed capacity of telephone lines is expected to have reached 1000.000, or even above this (Cover, 1998). Other services which NITEL is expected to deliver are telex, and telegraph services.
The latest among these services are data switching system, electronic mail (national services only), press reception and broadcast, ward/data processing, teleconferencing , collect calls, cellular mobile telephone, and international and local and card payphone. NITEL also provides emergency calls services as follows: Police -199, Fire/Ambulance-999, Operator-190, NITEL Faults-192 and 197, Enquiries-194 and Speaking Clock-191, etc. The effectiveness and efficiency of these services are still very questionable.
With particular reference to Anambra State territory, the base for the study, there are four exchanges in the state. These are located in Akwa, Onitsha, Nnewi, and Nkpor. Akwa exchange consists of Akwa, Nimo and Abagana Stations. Onitsha exchage consists of Nnewi, Ihiala and Okoh Stations. Finally, Nkpor exchange consist Nkpor, Awada, Ogidi, Isifor and Ogbunike Stations. Okoh station, plus all the stations in Akwa exchange (Akwa, Nimo and Agabana) make use of the code number 048, while other stations in the state make use of the code number 046.