Issue #25   •   Quarter 3/4 Edition   •   December 2018


Article Index

"Passion is a gender neutralizing force ...”
Marissa Meyer, VP Google.

mrs_udumaThis is an apt description for Mrs Mary Nma Uduma, the former Director of Consumer Affairs. A woman of substance who has dedicated most of her life to the service of the Nigerian public.

In developing this piece, naturally some research had to be done, to understand the essence of this spectacular woman. Amazingly, there was a verdict of almost 100% from everyone spoken to; on the outstanding, hardworking and committed qualities of Mrs Uduma.

She spoke to the Online Crew of The Communicator and revealed her passions, motivations, dreams for NCC and of course, life after NCC. It was privilege picking the mind of such an achiever.


Comments on Mrs. Mary Uduma from her Colleagues

Intelligent, beautiful mind, very hard working and knowledgeable.

Mrs. Beluchi Nwanisobi, SM(Consumer Affairs)

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She joined us (Consumer Affairs) in January 2011. A very thorough and hardworking woman. A mother to everyone. The whole of CAB will say that She Came, She Saw and She Conquered. Management should give her kudos for taking the mandate of SIM Card Registration, Number Portability and Mobile Payment to the nooks and crannies of the country through the various outreach programmes. Also for the execution of several projects like the Consumer Portal which was launched during her tenure. To leave unscathed after 35 years of public service, in sound health and working like a 25 yr old, calls for thanksgiving. Please note this; Mrs. Mary Uduma is our mother in CAB.

Dr J. O. Atoyebi, AD (Consumer Affairs)

Epitome of peace and mother of all.

Mrs. Margaret Amaku, SO(Procurement)


Who is Mrs. Mary Uduma?

I was born 25th May 1952. I did my primary school in a small village called Okon in Ohafia. I finished that in 1966 before the war. During the war we couldn’t go to school so it was after the war that I went on to do my secondary education. Immediately after the war in 1970 we relocated to Abakiliki in now in Ebonyi state and there I started secondary school. Between 1970 and 1972 I graduated from secondary school. My result was in the second grade. It was tough for us to continue our education because we were just coming out from the war in the Eastern part of the country. When I tried to go to university immediately, it did not work out, I had to go and work. I worked for about three years before going to the Institute of Management Technology Enugu (IMT). In IMT, I wanted to read accounting.
   I got admission into the University of Jos, but I hadn’t money to go and my parents hadn’t the money to send me to the University of Jos. I had to take the one that government could pay for me. So I did what was called technical education. It was a combination of education with a professional course. I did technical education accounting and economics and I ended that in 1979. I went on to do my youth service in Ogun state. During my youth service, I registered with the University of Lagos to do my BSc. in Accounting which I finished in 1985. It was during my youth service that I met my husband and I got married. I wedded in 1982 and I continued my course with the University of Lagos. It was a part time course and I got a job with Federal Audit now Auditor General for the Federation. I was working as an executive officer in Federal Audit while doing my course in the University of Lagos studying accounting. In between this I was writing my professional exams and in May 1985, I qualified as a Chartered Accountant and I got the prize as the best female student. I qualified in June the same year with a Second Class Upper BSc. degree in Accounting. Since then I have been working in the field of accounting. I left Federal Audit and went to an investment bank called Ivory Merchant Bank. I left the bank to join NCC in March 1995 as an assistant Director in Finance. I was more or less the first head of Finance in NCC.

Could you tell us more about journey in NCC?

mrs_udumaComing into NCC my first port of call was Finance department because I was a chartered accountant and having worked in the Office of the Auditor General I needed to contribute to the development of the Finance Department. Some of the financial authorization that is still being used in the Commission I started, such as drawing a budget, budget controlling, approval limits, how cheques are done, those that would sign cheques of certain limits and those that would sign cheques of further limits, few things that we manually did then before automation came into finance and accounting. I worked in the Finance Department from 1995-1999 as an Assistant Director, when I was moved to Head the Tariff and Charges department. I worked as a Deputy Director in Tariff and Charges from 1999-2004. From there I went to Corporate planning and I worked there from 2005 to 2006.
   In 2006 there was a vacancy advert by the Commission for two Directors, a Director (Licensing) and Director (Engineering). The previous directors were promoted to EC’S; EC (Technical) and EC (Licensing). I applied like others. It was highly competitive. It was PWC that conducted the process for NCC and after so many interviews finally I got the job as Director (Licensing) in September 2006. I had already been in Tariff and Charges which was part of Licensing before I went to Corporate Planning which led me to managing the international affairs of the Commission. I was going for global meetings, contributing to WATRA, ITU, ATU, ICAN and all those global partnerships that the Commission has. I worked there from 2006- 2010 when there was internal restructuring and re-engineering of NCC and that led to my being asked to head Policy Competition and Research and that department was still responsible for Tariff and charges because my last responsibility included tariff and charges so I had other people that were doing it so I was overseeing licensing, tariff and charges and the zonal offices. They were all under me. When the restructuring was done licensing was scrapped completely. I was heading public policy competition and economic research. This time I was looking after industry policy, policy development within and outside the country and I was doing international affairs as well as looking after tariff including the library. In January 2011, I was asked to head Consumer Affairs. So I have gone through finance, cooperate planning, licensing, tariff and charges, policy competition and now I am leaving from Consumer Affairs. It has been exciting being in Consumer Affairs.

Which Department was the most exciting and challenging and why?

Licensing, because it was at the peak of our trying to license operators which is the major mandate of NCC and I was in the middle of it. Categories, procedures for licensing, researching for what other people do or approving tariffs. It was very exciting. I loved it so much. When licensing was scrapped I was like why should we scrap licensing because I enjoyed it. It afforded me the opportunity to know so many people, counsel people, some people will come and say madam we want this license and I would advise what would work for them.
   I am a passionate person when it comes to work, I put all I have in whatever work you ask me to do. When I was in Finance I was putting my best, I went to tariffs and charges I started the department from scratch just like finance and when I was moved to licensing it was an addition to what I was already doing in tariffs and charges only I was at the other end of looking after tariff and charges. It was really exciting been there, I really enjoyed my stay as director for licensing. When I become director policy competition and economic analysis, what happened was that some of the jobs I had done before were the jobs I was doing except one that joined it and that was the library. When I came to Consumer Affairs, I really enjoyed myself because I put in all I have whenever I have to do something. I don’t work as if I am working for government, I work as if I am working for myself so that I contribute my quota with all my heart and that’s why people say she is restless