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Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria - Phones - Nairaland

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Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by Kelklein(m): 7:48pm On Oct 10, 2015
‘I made the first GSM phone call in Nigeria... then corruption chased me out’ - Mr. Strive Masiyiwa

Chairman of telecoms giant, Econet Wireless, Mr. Strive Masiyiwa, in this post on his blog —
http://www.econetwireless.com/strive_masiyiwa_blog/index.php/its-time-to-play-by-a-different-ethical-set-of-rules-part-7-nigeria-1-of-5/, tells the story of his first hand nasty experience in the hands of corruption in Nigeria while challenging all to “be the generation that fights corruption.”

I had the privilege of making Nigeria’s first GSM phone call back in 2001 when I called the regulator to say, “We’re live!” Who would’ve believed then that Nigeria today would have more than 167 million mobile phones?! It all started out as a very exciting new chapter for enterprise in Africa.

Shortly after President Olusegun Obasanjo was elected, the new government announced an incredibly transparent international auction process for three national mobile phone licenses. To participate in the bid, you not only had to raise money, but there had to be a member of the bidding consortium who was an experienced GSM operator. Econet Wireless met the requirements because of its experience in Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Our Nigerian partners, which included state governments, local banks and high net worth individuals, were financial investors. The largest shareholder had only 10%. That was the written agreement. I managed to assemble a consortium of 22 investors to put up the money needed to bid. Our shareholders were all Nigerian, mostly institutional investors including leading banks and two state governments, Lagos State and Delta State. The license cost us $285m and was the most expensive license ever issued in Africa at the time. This was 2001.

We considered the investment not only about putting together a network, but also about building a nation. We knew it had the potential to transform Nigeria’s entire business and social architecture. Most of our investors had between 1-10% shareholding. Econet Wireless Nigeria had only 5% of the shares, but that was fine because it was 5% ownership of a very big pie. As the “technical partner and operator,” Econet was the company with the expertise to build and operate such a business.

Our financial investors recognised this, and also allowed us to receive 3% of the turnover as our fees. This was standard practice in the industry. We were one of the winning bidders and they gave us just six months to set up business and get our network operating. We were under a lot of pressure but our network was live two days before the others! Customers were pouring in. We were number one in the market with an estimated 57% market share.

Then came the fateful day when I was told that our company must pay a total of $9m in bribes to senior politicians (in state government) who had facilitated the raising of the money to pay for the license. I refused to authorise the illegal payments. Meeting after meeting was held to try to get me to agree, but I would not. The money would not be paid as long as Econet was the operator and I had signing authority. James Ibori, the Governor of Delta State, was demanding $4,5m be paid to him in his personal capacity. He was one of the most powerful men in the country and had a reputation for violence. When he heard that I was refusing to approve payment he issued an ultimatum: “Pay or I will chase you and your people out of the country.” I refused.

The shareholders met and voted Econet Wireless Nigeria out of management. They cancelled our management contract. James Ibori and his colleagues personally attended the meeting to remove us. After the meeting, one of them (a prominent local businessman even today) came up to me and said: “Unfortunately for you, God does not have a vote.” I had to withdraw all my staff and their families: 200 people in all. We left Nigeria. Most of our people had to be retrenched. The loss of the contract almost drove us to bankruptcy as a group.

They invited a big international operator to replace us as technical partner and operator. They changed the name of the company from Econet to V-Mobile. Within days of their arrival, the managers of the new operator signed off the payments demanded.

Then what happened? A few noble Nigerians had both the integrity and courage to carefully collect all the documentation on the movement of the money, and pass it all on to me. There’s a saying worth remembering in uncovering the trail of destruction that is corruption: “Follow the money”… I bided my time… then I wrote a letter to the United States Department of Justice! It was 2003. Spiritual Reflection I could easily have agreed to pay the bribes and I would have remained in the company earning millions every year.

My shares could have increased and I would have earned billions. It was all there for me. All I needed to do was to accept that the payments be made. After all, the money was not coming from my own pocket I also knew the price I and my company would have to pay:
•Lucrative contracts would be lost.
•Our reputation and prestige would be affected as these people would tell lies about the reasons we had to leave. They had powerful friends everywhere including some of the press;
•Many people would lose their jobs.
•My company could collapse.
•I faced personal danger.

Knowing all that, I still said NO! In Matthew chapter 4, Satan says to Jesus, “If you bow down to me, I will give you all the kingdoms on earth and their wealth.” Those who engage in corruption ( or ignore it) have bowed down to Satan. Whenever I see someone who is corrupt, or chooses to be quiet about it, all I see is someone grovelling at the feet of Satan. Let’s be the generation that fights corruption… and ends it! Will you join me?

137 Likes 11 Shares

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by temitemi1(m): 7:52pm On Oct 10, 2015
Naija my country cool cool cool

1 Like

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by Ebubeslym(m): 7:55pm On Oct 10, 2015
And i was thinking Kworoption started and ended with one man from Otuoke......
Imagine...

But wait oh!
So our Elder statesman was even knee deep in kworupshion as far back as then??
But is now flying around with his cloak of sainthood and writing Letters about moral uprightness
Choi! ......
Diaris god ooooh!

CHANGE INDEED!!

59 Likes 1 Share

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by Nobody: 7:58pm On Oct 10, 2015
OK
Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by agarawu23(m): 8:02pm On Oct 10, 2015
OK na
Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by segebobo: 8:03pm On Oct 10, 2015
If this man is saying the truth, I admire his courage.
If only we know the effects of corruption, duplicity & lies on the society as a whole. It's one of the reasons why despite the abundant resources we are blessed with, we still depend & look up to the whites for even the most basic things

20 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by newheartub(m): 8:07pm On Oct 10, 2015
Ibori and Obj must involved. corruption no be today

18 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by CR77(f): 8:09pm On Oct 10, 2015
Evidence pls

1 Like

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by eazysmiles: 8:09pm On Oct 10, 2015
grin
Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by KpStone(m): 8:10pm On Oct 10, 2015
Exactly the man I've been looking for.

Please use that your phone and call Buhari, beg him to ask the UK people to hire ambulance and Doctors without borders to be following Alison Madueke about.

Because,13 billion pounds,

She cannot die. Please

Oga strive musiwa, treat as urgent.

38 Likes 2 Shares

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by Kelklein(m): 8:10pm On Oct 10, 2015
segebobo:
If this man is saying the truth, I admire his courage.
If only we know the effects of corruption, duplicity & lies on the society as a whole. It's one of the reasons why despite the abundant resources we are blessed with, we still depend & look up to the whites for even the most basic things


he is one of the world's most outstanding Christian Billionaires (Check here WORLD'S MOST OUTSTANDING CHRISTIAN BILLIONAIRES )

..so he has no reason to lie about such a sensitive issue

his pic..(*I couldn't edit to insert it in the main post - as it hit fp)



16 Likes 1 Share

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by Raymondville(m): 8:10pm On Oct 10, 2015
Okk

1 Like 2 Shares

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by StepTwo: 8:11pm On Oct 10, 2015
and with all the bribe, where is James Ibori now? ....paying the price for corruption.

many will join him.

10 Likes

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by Ayoswit(f): 8:13pm On Oct 10, 2015
K
Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by tpiander: 8:13pm On Oct 10, 2015
evidence?
Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by omusiliyu(m): 8:13pm On Oct 10, 2015
Why is it not in guineas book of record then
Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by tpiander: 8:13pm On Oct 10, 2015
haitham023235:
.......

and so?
Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by Pavore9: 8:13pm On Oct 10, 2015
14 years down the road, what a journey!

'In Matthew chapter 4, Satan says to Jesus, “If you bow down to me, I will give you all the kingdoms on earth and their wealth.” Those who engage in corruption ( or ignore it) have bowed down to Satan. Whenever I see someone who is corrupt, or chooses to be quiet about it, all I see is someone grovelling at the feet of Satan. Let’s be the generation that fights corruption… and ends it!'
..........So deep!

16 Likes 3 Shares

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by anytexy: 8:13pm On Oct 10, 2015
Chai! See what Jonathan has done. The only corrupt man in Nigeria. Lol
Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by passionate88: 8:13pm On Oct 10, 2015
ehya.

1 Like

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by HRich(m): 8:14pm On Oct 10, 2015
segebobo:
If this man is saying the truth, I admire his courage.
If only we know the effects of corruption, duplicity & lies on the society as a whole. It's one of the reasons why despite the abundant resources we are blessed with, we still depend & look up to the whites for even the most basic things
Ok
Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by modath(f): 8:14pm On Oct 10, 2015
The curious case of the unnamed 2nd person.

He is not likely to mention it to avoid a lawsuit.





@pangea,

See what I advised- "The Topic Title", it must be catchy.....You did good but...

6 Likes 1 Share

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by BCISLTD: 8:14pm On Oct 10, 2015
angry there is no lie in all he has said. ...that is the norm in Nigeria. ...even down to churches. ..I've worked for years and there is no contract without kickbacks. ...u must give someone something sha.......even houseboy..gateman...etc


Obj...biggest thief of all

4 Likes

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by LieDetector(m): 8:14pm On Oct 10, 2015
On behalf of the Nairaland fraternity, I present you this golden trophy for being the first man to make a phone call in nigeria





WhoBeThisMan:
children of the first page, always making childish comments.
Ancient of days undecided, you've been noticed. My regards to my ancestors

15 Likes 1 Share

Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by Sicozone(m): 8:14pm On Oct 10, 2015
kk
Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by damton(m): 8:14pm On Oct 10, 2015
tpiander:
evidence?
.True talk.
Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by momodub: 8:15pm On Oct 10, 2015
I thought we have mobile in niger since 1998
Re: Strive Masiyiwa: Made The First GSM Phone Call In Nigeria by SirMarrt: 8:15pm On Oct 10, 2015
ok

1 Like

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