[Opinion] Nigerians And MTN; A Parable For The ‘Mumudous’ By Adekoya Boladale

On 16th August 2013, over sixty million Nigerians were literally cut off from civilization, without prior notice or warning. Mobile Telecom Network (MTN) subscribers woke up to discover they were alone in this cold and lonely world. However that wasn’t the only offence; MTN did not deem it fit to tender any form of apology to its subscribers not until 12hours into the oblivion with a very short message less than twenty words. It is important to state that the numeric figure of these subscribers outnumbers the population of South Africa; three times that of Ghana, and twenty percent of the population of the United States (US).


MTN a South African mobile telecom company came into Nigeria at a time when the country needed a stable and consistent mobile brand. It was dubbed the ‘Telecommunication Saviour’ then selling its SIM at $400 and top up cards at 1,500 naira minimum. The telecom company enjoyed the monopoly to such an extent that it found the exploitation in Nigeria so rewarding and quickly moved its headquarters from South Africa to Nigeria. For quite some time, Nigerians were at the mercy of this sole mobile telecom service provider added with a lot of unreasonable terms and conditions until the likes of Glo, Zain, Visafone, Etisalat among others came in and made the market competitive. Surprisingly, despite the various juicy packages offered by these other companies, Nigerians saw no need to make a switch. The excuse then was logical and reasonable at least one out of the lots; ‘I can’t change my number; this is the line everybody knows me with’. In a bid to address this market inequality and create a level playing ground the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) moved in.


After long years of rigmarole, the NCC introduced the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) on April 22nd 2013, a service which enables subscribers to switch network providers while still retaining their number all at no cost. It is however alarming that with a service such as this; some Nigerians still find it hard to make proper choice.


The story above can only be likened to our current political and leadership problem. Our nation dilemmatic state is our own doing. MTN here represents the crop of emergency leaders that emerge at a time when we desperately desire democratic rule, we threw caution to the wind and gave power to rogues and criminals disguise as gents and saints. Yes they came to us with the best of roadmaps on papers but deep in their heart they nurse a villainous plan greater than that of Lucifer, but did we ever take time to ask them the right questions other than dance around them with drums and ‘bata’?


The now corruption-ridden National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) which in the past causes fear, panic and bring jittering to the soul of public office holders as become pawn in the hands of politicians and so bastardised that it’s now been paid to go on live television defending absurdity and felony (felony in this context means a crime against education), yet these are our youths and acclaimed future of our great country.

Over the years we have been milked, skinned, humiliated, deceived, tortured and played but any time better individuals who neither posess fat bank account nor enjoy the endorsement of the ‘powerful’ comes forth to take charge of our nation’s affair we take turn to label such person with volumes of unprintable names.


Nigerians in their usual lackadaisical attitude feel there is no need for a change or rather as they put it ‘Let’s play with the devil we know’. It is only a sign of gross foolishness for one to feel comfortable with darkness when there is a possibility of light in the next room; in fact it contradicts neuroplasticity- the natural ability to seek for change in discomfort fused in the human brain. We have come to find faith only in God and make no move to ensure we get the change our heart long for.


In some instances I have had to listen to some Nigerians in defense of the presidency. The arguments always start with phrase such as this; ‘…after all what did he do? Is he the one that created the problems?’ In most cases I have been forced to point out to them few out of the many sins of Goodluck Jonathan; the removal of subsidy, failed power supply (not generation), skyrocketing unemployment rate, perpetual insecurity and unimaginable geometric growth in corruption.


Yes, President Goodluck Jonathan in all righteousness never created Nigeria’s problems, but in 2011 when we were clamouring for a president I don’t remember we asking for a clueless one who lacks knowledge on how to solve these long age ailments. We never asked for a siddon look who knows nothing other than to sign Cheques and roll out pardons to criminals. Defense like this continues to show how gullible we are in a nation so blessed yet so poor.


A friend on twitter retweeted a post from one of his followers in Somalia who has been in the war torn country for three days, this fella acknowledged the woeful sights and dilapidated nature of the country but he shocked me when he said he was yet to experience a second of power outage, this is in a country that has been in perpetual state of war for so long.


Nigerians won’t learn just as the MTN subscriber’s won’t port. The people of Abia state whose Governor has failed to cleanse the potential world class industrial area off the ridiculous dirt trademark, would rather create crops of jobless praise singers and fire dancers who follows him around dancing and shouting to make ends meet than provide sound entrepreneur skills acquisition programme but deliver to them repainted and dusted projects as dividends of democracy won’t see the need for change. The people of Akwa-Ibom state whose Governor continue to use state resources to acquire fleets of bulletproof and military grade luxurious cars and jets at the expense of the masses while quoting ghost executed projects won’t see the need for change. The people of Ogun state whose megalomaniac Governor continue to construct roads at a whooping sum of 1.3billion naira per kilometer while accumulating huge debts and loans that would require the 10th generation to make full repayment, fails to create employment but rather promote thuggery, won’t see the need for change.


We all would be living in a fool’s paradise if we continue to believe something good will come out of these darkness, we are no different from the MTN die-hard Nigerian subscribers who get defrauded, short changed, exploited but looks at their reception-less network service bar on their phone smile, look up and say “I just love MTN”



Adekoya Boladale a political scientist is the Convener, Advocacy for Better Leadership (ABEL) and an alumnus of Tai Solarin University of Education (TASUED) wrote via [email protected]. Please follow on twiter @adekoyabee


  1. Records have shown that 49% of mtn’s subscriber have moved ” ported” to other subscribers. I think Nigerians have shown tremendous courage by that alone and should be commended and not term as “mumudous”. You likened this scenerio to d current political scene n you want us to PORT abi? which opposition party can sincerely SOLVE our uncountable challenges? Abi you want try? Make we port to where? APC…or where? No be dem pikin- Pst Tunde Bakere call dem a bunch of looters?

  2. I’m just hearing this and may be it was what had happened to my sim which has been having problem and we thought the sim has been damaged.I now set to retrieve it because each time I inserted it in the Phone it displayed sim error.All our recharges are going to South Africa but we do not like our indigeous one,GLO.

  3. I’ve always seen mtn as SA company but was not sure cuz it seems to be combination of two country. I agree with u on some not all, like the subsidy of a thing, i support the move of the Gov. but my probblem is, will the money recoverd from that be use to improve the lifes of ppl or to enriche there already rich pocket. Whic i belive most of us already knw the ans to that. God bless nija