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Olubadan welcomes Airtel, Assures Company of Support of Ibadan People

By Emmanuel Otokhine
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Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria; December 4, 2010: The Traditional ruler of Ibadanland, Oba (Dr) Samuel Odulana Odugade 1,CFR, at the weekend, welcomed the recently unveiled Airtel brand to Oyo State.

The Olubadan, who received the Airtel team led by the Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Rajan Swaroop, in his palace, commended the company for its decision to visit him and his people to announce the launch of its new brand, adding that Ibadan people are happy to associate with the company.

Dr. Odulana also applauded the company for providing extensive network coverage in his domain and for operating a transparent billing system.

The Odugade 1, who is the 40thOlubadan of Ibadanland, assured the team of the support of the traditional council and people of Ibadan for Airtel's operation in the area and prayed that God would make the company to grow in number and financially and to become exceedingly successful in Nigeria

Also, the Kabesi counselled the leading mobile operator in Nigeria to stick to the core attributes, especially good customer service, for which the company has been known for over the years despite its recent brand identity change.

According to him these qualities have endeared the network to the hearts of Nigeria since the inception of the company.

Speaking at the occasion, Mr. Swaroop said the mobile operator is particularly delighted with the opportunity to meet the Olubadan and to serve the inhabitants of one of the most important and largest cities in the country.

He also underscored the importance of the city to the economy, education and human capital development of the country, explaining that as a major education hub, Ibadan has contributed a great deal to the growth of telecom in Nigeria.

Swaroop said that though Airtel is an international company it is one of the cardinal goals of the firm to make the brand locally relevant in the life of every Nigerian and indeed African as a whole.

“We are determined to provide our customers affordable tariff and an array of innovative and appropriate products and services as well as improved network service quality.

He stated that “Airtel has the experience of serving large number of customers and communities with generally low income. We have over 200 million customers across our operations in Africa and Asia. About 150 million of these customers live in India which has a lot of similarities with Nigeria. We hope to transfer our expertise and experience of serving these communities to Nigeria”.

“The Airtel 2Good tariff we introduced a few days ago”, he explained, “is part of our plans to give our customers greater freedom to communicate on the phone. Nigerians need to feel free to talk on the phone without fear that staying long on the phone will drain a hole in their pockets. The new tariff makes it possible for our customers to make calls for as low as 20kobo per second”, he said.

Swaroop further explained that the company is determined to touch lives through its corporate social responsibility programme, stressing that the mobile operator is firmly focused on providing access to quality education to Nigerian children.

He revealed that Airtel will construct schools across the country, equip the schools with furniture, provide uniform for the students and upscale the skills of the teachers, a model which currently exists in India and has resulted in the adoption of over 250 schools throughout the country.

“We have already commenced a pilot project with the adoption of a primary school in a rural part of Abuja. The plan is to extend this to other rural communities across the country,” he stated.

The Chief Executive Officer also expressed the desire of Airtel Nigeria to create jobs for Nigerians, stating that hundreds of jobs will be created directly and indirectly in the coming months with the expansion of it Call Centres and extension of its distribution network wider and deeper into the cities and villages of the country.

He also said that the plan to increase the number of staff in Airtel Call Centre from 600 call agents to 1000 over the next six months would in addition to providing job opportunities for the teaming school leavers in the country, but will also ensure improved customers service.

In his response, the Olubadan urged the Airtel team to ensure that people from Ibadan are given a fair chance during the employment exercise. He then wished the company well and prayed for the team's safe return to Lagos.

The Chief Executive Officer of Airtel was accompanied on the courtesy visit by the Director of Regulatory and Government Affairs, Osondu Nwokoro; South Regional Operation Director, Godfrey Efeurhobo; Public Relations Manager, Emmanuel Otokhine; Regional Regulatory and Legal Manager, Tunde Soyemi and South West Zonal Business Manager, Francis Imoudu, among others.