By Stephen Kwande
In the twilight of 2022, the President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR through the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Professor Isa Pantami announced the replacement of Dr. Abimbola Alale, the erstwhile Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer of the Nigerian Communications Satellite (NIGCOMSAT) Ltd whose two terms of four years each came to an end and the announcement of Engr. Tukur Mohammed Lawal in her place.
Industry players received this announcement with the expectation that from where the outgone Managing Director stopped, the new helmsman would provide the push required to take the organization to heights not attained by its predecessors.
The appointment of Engr. Tukur Mohammed Lawal to superintend this important organization makes him the third Chief Executive Officer in its seventeen years of existence. On the day of his arrival at NIGCOMSAT LTD, it was a breath of fresh air for a work environment that eagerly awaited a new dawn in the management of affairs. And, what was more, there was a sense in which Engr. Lawal exuded the energy needed to reinvigorate a seemingly tired work force; someone with seemingly unstoppable vision and mission.
Though some sections of the media have already expressed skepticism simply because he is not from the ICT industry, his posture and zeal is already proving them wrong. This position seems to question the choice of the Hon. Minister who recommended the appointment and whose competence and achievements under the Muhammadu Buhari presidency remain unassailable.
Undoubtedly, l am of the strong belief that any doubts arising from the appointment does not take into consideration the appointee’s credentials which Pantami reckoned with in his choice.
Even without perusing the crowded Curriculum Vitae of Engr. Lawal, any discerning mind would believe that NIGCOMSAT is not going to be business as usual. From the onset, the day Engr. Lawal stepped on the Ground Control Station, he demonstrated uncommon work attitude which has already endeared staff to him and, day by day, staff continue to adjust to the dawn of a new era.
In the first week of his assumption of office, he started on a familiarization tour of different operating units and departments of the organization with a view to acquainting himself with the state of affairs of the organization as well as issues to be addressed. And as a safety expert, he has enforced the used of helmet as critical to the operations of the company especially amongst the engineers.
He started the second week by engaging different strata of the company. He received briefings from Executive Directors to departmental heads to further appraise himself with the operations of the organization.
Within this short period, he has also come out with a policy thrust that is expected to instil the right work ethic at NIGCOMSAT LTD. This is promoted via the following phrases which reflect the organization’s new thinking: ‘On time is late’, ‘See something, do something’, ‘customer is king’, ‘HSE are our core values’, ‘A clean workplace is SAFE’, ‘Corporate objectives override self-interest’, ‘l pledge to be our good ambassador’, ‘l pledge to confidentiality’, ‘l commit to Loyalty and Integrity’. These are the nine pillars that are expected to support his policy direction.
But who is Tukur Mohammed Lawal? He started his early life in the quiet, agrarian town of Funtua in Funtua Local Government Area of Katsina state. He attended the famous Bisije Primary School, Funtua from 1973-1979 and obtained his Primary School Leaving Certificate. From there, he proceeded to Government Secondary School, also in Funtua, from 1979-1984 and obtained his General Certificate of Education (GCE). His quest to acquire more education took him to the College of Advanced Studies, Zaria after which he got admitted to the prestigious Ahmadu Bello University where he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering.
His continuous quest for more education also saw him at the Abubakar Tafawa University, Bauchi where he bagged a Post Graduate Diploma in Management with Upper Credit. He has over time acquired additional educational qualifications including but not limited to Master’s Degree in Business Administration (Management), Certificate in Personal Effectiveness at the Famous Lagos Business School (LBS), Certificate in High Impact Leadership (LBS), Professional Diploma in Education, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Environmental Management at the University of Port Harcourt
Engr. Tukur started work as a voluntary primary school class teacher at his alma mater in Funtua. Shortly thereafter, he was called up for the National Youth Service Corps programme and was posted to teach at Methodist Comprehensive College, Sagamu, Ogun State. After his national service, he gained full employment and was posted to Minna as Industrial Officer II under the Federal Ministry of Industry, IDC, in Minna, Niger State, (1992)
From the Ministry of Industry, Engr. Lawal moved to AshakaCem Plc in 1992 as a process Engineer. He became the Environmental Coordinator of AshaCem Plc from 1992-1999 when he was elevated as Environment Manager from 2003-2005. Again, from 2003 to 2006, he was the Management Representative, ISO 900: 2000 Project. While retaining his position as Manager, he was moved to Health and Safety from 2005-2012. From 2012-2013, he was Manager, Training and Learning of the Human Resource Department. The dexterity and capacity he demonstrated in his job, saw him climbed the ladder and became the Country Health and Safety Manager in-charge of Nigeria and Benin Republic.
He also had a stint in the department of communications and public affairs and Sustainable Development of Larfage Africa Plc as Regional Manager (AshakaCem North).
Engr. Lawal is a member of many professional bodies. He is a Fellow, Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers; Fellow, Professional Leadership Practitioners Institute, Chartered Environmentalist, Society for Environmental Toxicology and Pollution Mitigation 1900667; Member, Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria, 3/1300766; Member, Institute of Safety Professionals of Nigeria; Member, National Industrial Safety Council of Nigeria; Member, Nigerian Institution of Safety Engineers; Member International Commission on Occupational Health; Member, American Society of Safety Engineers; Member, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, UK 4417; Member, Nigerian Institute of Training and Development; Member, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) 2001; Corporate Member, Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE); Associate Member, Nigerian Institute of Management; Corporate Member, Nigerian Environmental Society; Associate Environmental Auditor, Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment , United Kingdom; Unit Coordinator (2012-2019) Special Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission; Member, Board of Trustees, Green Watch and Environmental Awareness; and, Trained Auditor of Quality Management System with the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
A prolific writer, Lawal has authored many books among which include: The Ethics in Health and Safety Management(2009); A history of MASKA DISTRICT (2008). Environmental Protection as a Religious Duty, (2006). He also wrote a book titled: Funakaye Emirate of Gombe State (2011); and Appearance and Body Care of a Muslim (2000).
Against this background, he is highly recommended for his latest assignment at NIGCOMSAT LTD. It is time industry players extended hands of cooperation, friendship and work with him to move the Space and ICT industry in the right direction.
Kwande is a Senior Manager at the Corporate Affairs Dept NIGCOMSAT LTD.