Econet-Airtel Nigeria: My 15 incredible years by Emeka Oparah

On the fifteenth anniversary of working with Nigeria’s major telecommunication company, Airtel Nigeria, Emeka Oparah, Vice President, Corporate Communications & CSR writes on his career fulfilling experience.

I’m lacking in appropriate words, in English Language, that is, to describe the last 15 years, during which I have moved from working for Econet Wireless to Vodacom Nigeria to Vmobile to Celtel Nigeria to Zain Nigeria and now Airtel Nigeria-same organization just severally named!

During the period, I have worked with some of the best Nigerians, Zimbabweans, South Africans, Arabs, Indians, name it. I have also had the rare privilege of working with bosses who, inexplicably, love and trust me-and subordinates some of who think (rather unfortunately) I’m a wonderful boss. Lol.

When I look back at the opportunities, the knowledge, the exposure, the rewards, the challenges, the highs and, well, the lows, I marvel at my good fortune. Most of the time, I hold myself undeserving of the love and respect I get from my colleagues and the unquantifiable generosity of the Great Architect of the Universe to me, Emeka Oparah, a most undeserving prodigal son in many regards.

So, I want to thank all those who have made these past 15 years historically, professionally, emotionally, financially and monumentally a success. It’s truly a success story, even if I say so myself. Not many who started the journey with me can say same. Some are no longer even here to tell their own stories-and it’s not because many of them were not better than me, but for the unseen hand of my Creator who’s always lavished me with His attention.

There are several reasons an employee would work in an organization for 15 years, like I have done. The most important is that such an employee is having a rewarding career. I have had a very rewarding career-and I am STILL HAVING a rewarding career. I did say earlier I have been blessed with good bosses, but my immediate boss, Segun Ogunsanya, is one made in heaven! And my team in Corporate Communications & CSR? World Class! I’m hugely indebted to them for every single credit, applause and accolade I have received on the job. I know, as one of my more mischievous friends reminded me last week, some smart kids born in 2002, when I joined what then was Econet, would be in the University now. True, but here’s what it is: we are both enjoying the marriage so we are staying in it!

It could sound gratuitous, but I must say here that Airtel is one of the best places to work in the whole wide world. Permit me to also add that the Indian-based Bharti-Airtel has disproved most of the skepticism about Indian-owned organizations with the way and manner it has managed its investment in Airtel Nigeria. I say this unequivocally as a proud Nigerian on the executive management team of the organization.

15 years in one organization is not a piece of cake, and so I thought I should “vent”. Thank you for your time and attention. This is NOT the whole story, though-as you’d imagine. The time will come for that, and you, my dear friends, will be among the first to know. To Him alone be the glory.


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