Tributes, As First Nigerian Telecoms CEO, Victor Haffner Passes On
FOLLOWING the death of Victor Adetunji Haffner, an engineer, the first Nigerian Chief Executive Officer of a Telecoms company and former President of International Telecommunications Union’s Administrative Council, industry players have expressed their condolences even as they reflect on his contributions to the sector.
Haffner (FNSE, FAEng) who died at the age of 96 years, was one of the founding fathers of the Communication Technology industry, an industry he traversed for over two decades from November 1954 when he was employed as pupil engineer in the Nigerian Posts and Telecommunications (P & T), and 1975 when he retired as Managing Director of the Nigerian External Telecommunications (NET) Ltd. He, however, continued making invaluable contributions to the development of the industry until he breathed his last on November 5, 2015.
A tribute signed by Telecoms industry players described Haffner as the first among equals in the Engineering profession, as he was registered as Engineer No 00001 with the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, (COREN). According to the tribute, “as a telecommunications engineer, Haffner coordinated the provision of point to point telephone and telegraphic services in virtually all major cities of Nigeria for the public service, as well as for police, maritime and aeronautical services.
During his tenure at the Nigerian External Telecommunications Ltd, he led the local counterpart technical team to provide communication for the Syncom Project, the pioneer experience of the United States of America’s National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) which launched its experimental satellite into orbit from Lagos in 1963. He also conceived the NECOM House, a 32-story skyscraper purposed to be a telecoms gateway and currently stands as the tallest building in Lagos.”
The tribute, which was signed by 10 Telecoms industry leaders including Biodun Disu (PPL Ltd); Biodun Omoniyi (VDT Communications); Emmanuel Ekuwem (Teledom Group), Ernest Ndukwe (Open Media Group); Funke Opeke (MainOne); Johnson Adegbulugbe (JayGroup); Lanre Ajayi (PINET); Nadu Denloye (CDNet); Stanley Jegede (Phase 3 Telecoms) and Titi Omo-Ettu (Telecom Answers Associates), also stated: “We celebrate his accomplishments and we are proud of the rich legacies he bequeaths to our generation.”
Haffner also served at various times at British Telecoms, Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company and Marubeni Corporation, and was member of the first Commission of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC).