As I Clock 21 Years In Telecom Industry… ,By Emeka Oparah

Last Saturday, I clocked 21 years in the telecommunications industry!

I was delighted to receive a notification, early on Saturday morning, from the great Airtel Africa HR team reminding me of and congratulating me for my dedicated service to the organization!

Yes, I have spent all of the 21 years in the same organization with neither shame nor regret but delight and a sense of accomplishment. Of course, there have been low moments, but overall, it has been an amazing journey.

In return, I want to thank Airtel Africa for providing me the platform and opportunity to demonstrate my God-given talents. And what a journey!!!

I can never forget the concerns expressed by family and friends, including my parents, over my decision to leave the known (Cadbury Nigeria Plc), where I had built my name, to the unknown (Econet Wireless)!

I will not forget the changes from Econet to Vodacom to V-Mobile to Celtel to Zain and eventually to Airtel. I witnessed it all and played a significant role in those momentous occasions of ownership, brand and management changes. I’m not sure I know how I survived it all except to say God loved me (ans still loves me) extravagantly!!!

When the “turbulence” started immediately I joined the company in 2002, to those who loved me, it was like “Emeka, but we told you!”. The HR Director of Cadbury Nigeria, a very good man, Mr. Dayo Olawaiye (God bless you sir), kept reminding me that my position as Media Relations Manager was still kept vacant, just in case I wanted to esacape and return!

But I trusted God and persevered and believed that the storms and dark clouds would ultimately give way to sunshine and bright blue skies. The rest, as they say, is history!

I am realizing my childhood dreams in probably one of the best place to work regardless of it’s imperfections and I don’t take it for for granted.

To my Chairman, Sunil Barthi Mittal, I remain in awe of your doggedness, your determination and commitment to making history in the globaL telecommunications industry.

To my boss, brother and friend, Dr. Segun Ogunsanya, I cannot thank you enough for believing in me and trusting me and also giving me the opportunity to serve, to learn and to grow. I have absolutely no words for your choice to give me the chance despite all odds. Together, you and I have expanded our service, our focus, our clout and our mandate from Nigeria to Africa!

Finally, I thank God for His extravagant love and munificence bestowed so generously on an mostly undeserving Widow’s Son, the humble son of poor primary school teachers whose name is now firmly on the global map of business leaders and telecommunications experts.

Guess what? I believe my journey has just begun. Insha Allah, there’s great plenty yet to come!!!

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