Sunday, November 19, 2006

NITEL wakes up?

Two Brits from BT have taken over NITEL and MTEL - Steve Brookman and John Weyr respectively - as part of the management contract arrangement they have with Transcorp. I suspected something was up when we received a big bill last week - the first in months. We'd deluded ourselves into thinking our NITEL landline was for free calls. Oh well. Let's hope they do a good job and sort out that old chestnut SAT-3.


Anonymous,  9:31 pm  

As someone with 10 years in the telecoms industry the whole thing makes me sick. In my time in the industry in the UK I have worked with some very competent and qualified Nigerians. As a matter of fact, at one point, myself and another Nigeria were the most successful Client Directors in my orgasnisation and we were managing two major high street brands so this whole thing of having to parachute in oyinbos (again) does not sit well with me.

The CTO of Nitel (ex of MTN) is a very competent lady that was brought back from the US where she was a Director at Verizon. How hard did the search and selection people at Transcorp look for other qualified Nigerians? BT is not investing a kobo in Nitel yet will reap several million pounds from their "consulting". I expect these clowns will soon be swanning around in their 4x4s with armed guards and serviced flats whilst regaling their chums back home about how tough life is in Nigeria, how backward we are and the only way to get things done is with a brown envelope. Numpties.

Did we not learn enough from the Pentascope fiasco. And by the way I have tried to look up these two clowns on the net and there is no mention of them which means that they have done nothing of note within BT or BTConsult to merit press attention. In our industry if you have managed a division or even led a sales\marketing team at some point or another you would have doen some PR but I can find nada.Maybe they are apprentices come to cut their teeth before going back to the real world. Harsh I know but I am upset.

My other irritation (sorry to hijack your innocous post Jeremy) is this whole thing about BT being a great success story and having great experience in turnaorund. Puh leez. BT was a monopoly like Nitel which until recently, when it was forced to by legislation, controlled most of the fixed line infrastructure in the UK. Following deregulation it is losing customers hand over fist, margins are being eroded and it is scrambling around in a blind panic to find the next holy grail.

I will not take up any more of Jeremy's post with my rant but will post my full views on my blog. Aaaaaaaaaarrgh.

Anonymous,  3:56 am  

jeremy also buys into this idea of oyinbos being the saviors of us poor darkies. but i can't blame him, he's one of them so of course it makes him feel good.

But our leaders are another matter. I mean why bring in a couple f flunkies to do simple things like send out phone bills. why continually degrade the black population in nigeria like this.

our education system needs a major overhaul and needs to be injected with a serious dose of black pride

Anonymous,  8:00 am  

Jeremy - seems you find yourself in a difficult position not being able to say anything without your colour being brought into it. Not sure how anonymous has come to this conclusion but then again different strokes for different folks.

I guess being married to a Nigerian, living in Nigeria, creating a blog about Nigeria, running a website about Lagos, creating a publishing house for authorsd and then bringing them to Nigeria for tours must be your way of covering up the rampant racism and white supremacy that is really running through your veins. I am glad that anonymous can see through your beard. Me, my eyesight is not so good.

Jeremy 8:06 am  

Now now Toks-Boy. Don't defend me. That means you must be either a) a house nigger or b) a sexist Nigerian male. For according to some of the commentors, you can't actually agree with me without being complicit with The Man.

It is a little trying that there seems to be a legion of hyenas out there waiting for the oyinbo to stumble. It shows how white supremacy can distort people's minds, both white and black.

Jeremy 8:21 am  

Anonymous: no in fact I don't buy into the idea of 'oyinbos saving darkies' (how many times does one have to make the same point?).

I have constantly critiqued donor culture/white people coming to the rescue in Nigeria in my blog.

It is sadly an attitude that comes from the culture itself - for many Nigerian firms, the pinnacle of success seems to be having a white person in senior management. Witness Arik air, witness MTN until recently, witness countless other firms (for Glo, white means Indian). You simply cannot impute to me an attitude that is prevalent within the culture, project it onto me and turn it into a racial issue. Ask yourself this: why do Nigerian firms like to have white people working for them?

Styl Council 1:17 pm  

OK..This is too much. CALL ME WHATEVER BUT I MUST! MUST! DEFEND correct the ridiculous response that's been whipped up by Annon.

Firstly for the sake of this argument (and for those that do not know) Jay is my brother-in-law! We have been on opposing sides on this blog a few time.So I am not not just jumping to his defens

To Toks: I read your post last night, and i your arguement was to-the-point and well balanced. So much so that i was lead to read your blog. As a result of your post i had begand to write a response, but i had to stop as my son woke up and that was that. I know that you are angry with this whole NITEL issue. I ma even more annoyed as i worked in BT and my partner still workd in BT, and we have spent a couple of years trying to find out (internally) what's going with BT and NITEL so that we could put ourselved forward to work on the project, Needless to say, we met with a brick wall!!

The problem is with BT, NITEL and the Naija government and NOT JEREMY!

Please do not join the white-man-must-be-bad brigade, just bcos its a white-man giving the information. In this case you will agree that, that is all Jeremy served to do! Inform of the new management structure at NITEL. He was not giving an opinion about these 2 guys from BT! "Oh well. Let's hope they do a good job and sort out that old chestnut SAT-3." Let's focus and discuss the issue at hand. Lets not digress into race abuse!

To Jay, YOU also need to stop reacting to such comments from the like of annon. Surely you're able to ignore such views and dismiss them by not responding to it! You are big enough to hold your council and to make a judgement call as to when to respond! STOP encouraging these juviniles by responding! Hold your council and they will eventually get bored!!!

To Anonn, You are just a FOOL!!! You're one of those people who would rather blame other people's children for the disgsuting behaviour of your undiciplined child than to accept fault!. You're an insignificant pleb whose only rality is a constant state of denial!!! If you want you can go to my blog and respond to me, i will not respond becos people like you are NOTHING to people like me!!!

Now Lets get to the my point on the whole BT/NITEL issues....

Firsly i categorically agree with you about the headhunting issue. I can categorically confirm that there are many talented and experienced Nigerian proffessionals in BT who would have relished the chance to work on a project of this nature. I am talking about individuals who are experts in their field. Individuals who are able to apply the required passion to manage a challenge of this magnitude! Proffessionals who have a sound understanding of the local requirements/benefits of a working NITEL, combined with a strong grasp of the global market and its opportunities.

Secondly, you wrote: "this whole thing about BT being a great success story and having great experience in turnaorund. Puh leez"
This statement is untrue. Its very simple, BT can bring to NITEL, a wealth of investment (as they are still very much in favour with the city) required for a brand new infrastructure, cos lets face it, NITEL will require and overhaul! BT will also bring to NITEL, technical and managerial expertise and the invaluable experience of changing a state owned monopoly into a profit - making (albeit sometimes struglling)private entity.

Like most people outside of BT, you suffer from a misconception. Allow me to point out a little known fact to you, BT is more tightly regulated by the government than any other telco in the UK or the world for that matter, despite the fact that the British government are still the majority shareholder!

This is part of the aching pains that BT suffer from. As a result BT are less able to be as 'foot-a-float' as their competitors. Yet they are still part of the leaders in the industry, they invest very heavily in innovation and cutting edge convergent technology, 21CN project is the buzz around town at the moment and believe me, there's a lot of interest in the industry. They have some of the best trained managers in the industry. They will provide NITEL with access to worldwide catalogue of telecoms suppliers and provider...Like Albacom in Italy (now part of BT, supplier agreements with the likes of France Telecom (notorious monopoly in France..incidently if you think BT is bad, you should try dealing with France-Telecom), some of the best experienced telco engineers in the industry, Leading suppliers like Cisco, Avaya, Nortel etc are working partners. They also have access to 120,000 workforce, not many companies can boast that! On a more personal note, they boast a good number of female senior executives! They are winning back a lot of the customers that they lost, as customers are beginning to realise that irrespective of the supplier, BT usually owns part of the delivery mile. BT is competitive!!!

Believe you me, I don't think they are faultless, not by a long short!! As a former government entity, they (a large part of the workforce) are still suffering from the wrong work ethic! The old boys network is still very much de-rigeur. Like most companies in the west - Institutional racism still exists in some quarters! The delivery process from cradle to grave is still too long. The retirement portfolio is still too expensive hence the current process of redundancies.

To conclude, NITEL could do a lot worse that to the managed/taken over by a company like BT. A legacy of experience of this magnitude is absolutely priceless!

Jay, i thank you for bringing this to my attention as i now have 2 names of individuals who i can lobby to get a job on this project. This is the kind of project i was trained for and its the kind of challenge that gets my juices flowing!!!

If anyone has the e-mail details of these people, please, a beg (and I’m not ashamed to say it on the WWW) pass on their details. I have already sent out the word to my contacts in BT to find out how I can contact these guys. My CV is ready and waiting !!!

Toks would it be wonderful if people like you and I can argue our way into these projects and start making a difference…The question is I’m ready, are you???

ijebuman 1:57 pm  

Ouch, a bit defensive today, seems like we're beginning to see the man underneath all that 'liberal' exterior lol

who knows why Nigerian firms like to have white people working for them ? could be the Nigerian mentality for 'imported things'. I've often wondered why CoolFM has an American doing the breakfast show in the morning? or why a friend loves having sex with white women (he claims it gives him a feeling of power, power over what?)
but i digress
There's always going to be a master-slave complex in any dealing between Africans and Europeans because even though African countries are 'independent' the African mind is not.

It reminds me of the story about the chained elephant (various versions of this story exist so i don't know who the author is)

'A visitor to the circus once notice that a huge elephant was chained by
the leg to a short spike in the ground. He couldn't understand how that little spike and weak chain could control such a huge elephant.

Surely, he thought, if that elephant wanted to, it could easily break
free. Perplexed, he asked the elephant's trainer, why the elephant just didn't
break away.

And the trainer said, the elephant doesn't know any better. It doesn't
know it can easily break free. And that is because when the elephant was very small, they chained the elephant up the very same way.

At that time, the little elephant tried and tried, but the chain and the
spike were strong enough to control him.

After a while he got tired of testing the chain and spike and just
stopped forever. So, later when the elephant is fully grown and could easily break free,
he just never tries.

He has been trained to not break free. And at that point, the little chain on
his leg is all that's needed.'

Anonymous,  4:16 pm  

Styl -i already wrote to jeremy privatly with regards our friend anon.Jeremy sef. U for think say he don sabi all these wahala people by now but no he go still dey pour petrol for fire.

Anyway, as regards BT you made some very good points and I take them on board. I am just annoyed at the way Transcorp is foisting them on Nigerians as this all shiny entity. I also wonder why if BT was so interested in Nitel they did not put in a bid of their own.

I can tell you that the reason you hit a brick wallis because this whole Bt we are hearing about is actually BT Consulting. One could insinuate that they just want to come chop yanfu yanfu and then go (but then again I will leave those sort of comments to anon).

Styl Council 5:39 pm  

Toks..Thanks for your e-mail!

I've found out that BT's mister fixit- works in BTI (BT international). Now BT international do not tend to go to GS(global services for resource). So you may be right, they have gotten these 2 guys from consulting..Which then leads me onto my pet hate...My experince of the PMs at BT consulting is that they are an overpaid/egostical bunch of sosos.
I once had to hand over one of my very challenging/innovative projects to a programe director from Bt consulting- I was a programme mangager. Yes the contract and project was a complex international IPT project, but i did not expect to spend 4 weeks holdiong his hands through the whole thing!! This was suppose to be a handover, insted it turned into a training session. He was incappable of managing the customer or the deliveries of the contract...
Wait for this, The first and perhaps the most direct action he took, was to book a flight to the US to meet the customer. He then had me on confernce (listen only so the customer wouldn't know that that british black-girl was still working on their contract) to advice him of what to do if things became difficult...He and I were communicating by internal BT MSN!!! All my senior managers were aware of this arrangement, including the VP. I was "encouraged" to play ball. He had been sold to the customer as a director who was going to save the whole contract and fix what that black-girl had done! Never mind the fact that it was this balck-girl that took on the challenge when no-one else wanted to do it, I wrote the process and set up the working and reporting method, as a result of the black-girls programme plan, BT were able to generte £1.8M billing revenue from this customer! To free me of his bloodsucking, i wrote an exception plan and geve it to me to use as his working refernce.
Yes, incredible! I know; but i could not say no! I was a contractor and every day on the contract was another page in my daily-bread!
I remeber one of my collegues saying to me at the time, that i should write a book about it and how it would sell so well!!

Had written the book, it would have been called the Politics of Networking!!


dami 2:29 pm  

"BT was a monopoly like Nitel which until recently, when it was forced to by legislation, controlled most of the fixed line infrastructure in the UK."

maybe thats why theyve been brought in and hopefully they can provide a "better" service
BT is stil the best provider in the uk probably because they controlled the whole thing before.
i think Nitel can do a BT in nigeria too and provide even cheaper solutions.

toks-boy, how far na :-D
any hints on how i can get a summer/1 year placement with BT?

srikanth 10:48 am  

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srikanth 10:49 am  

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