Omobola Johnson Early Years
Omobola Johnson is one of Nigeria’s boardroom gurus, defying societal limits and breaking new grounds with remarkable achievements. Johnson has touched on several sectors ranging from politics, business, not-for-profit organisations, among others, within and outside Nigeria. As a pioneer of many trains, she conquered mediocrity to set high standards, becoming a woman of many firsts.
On July 1, 2021, Johnson took over leadership of Guinness Nigeria Plc board as its first female chair. But this isn’t the first of such records to be broken by the luminary whose name has appeared on multinational platforms and international organisations. She joins the pool of outstanding women driving impact in their roles — but for Johnson, a striking point of note is her vast leadership experience and continued pursuit for excellence.
CONSULTANT WITH DECADES OF EXPERIENCE
Born few years after Nigeria gained independence, Johnson gained her primary education at the International School, Ibadan in Oyo state. She proceeded to obtain her Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Manchester, United Kingdom.
Later she obtained a Master’s degree in Digital Electronics from King’s College, London, and a doctorate degree in Business Administration from the School of Management of Cranfield University.
Johnson started her professional career in management consulting in the London Office of Arthur Andersen/Andersen Consulting (now known as Accenture) in 1985. She was admitted into the Accenture Partnership in September 2000 and assumed responsibilities for financial services practice from 2000 – 2007.
In 2005 she was appointed as country managing director of the firm.
Johnson took early retirement from Accenture in March 2010 to engage in other interests by better deploying the skills and competencies acquired during her 25 years in Andersen/ Accenture.
JOHNSON AS A PUBLIC ADMINISTRATOR
Johnson is not a newbie in Nigeria’s political space. She was a member of the federal executive council while serving as the federal minister of information and communication between 2011 and 2015.
Prior to becoming a minister, she was appointed as a member of Nigeria’s presidential advisory council in 2010, providing support to the then acting President Goodluck Jonathan.
In 2011, Jonathan appointed Johnson as Nigeria’s pioneer minister of communication technology. During her four-year tenure at the ministry, she oversaw the launch and execution of the National Broadband Plan and the pioneering involvement of the government in a local venture capital fund and a network of start-up incubators.
She developed the country’s ambitious 2013-2018 National Broadband Plan and provided the needed structure and effort to bring down the cost of internet access in Nigeria.
During her tenure, the country also launched NigComSat-IR Satellite (Nigerian Communication Satellite).
Following a minor cabinet reshuffle in September 2013, Johnson was given extra tasks of supervising the operations of the federal ministry of science and technology.
TECH GURU, ICT EXPERT AND AFFORDABLE INTERNET ADVOCATE
She is passionate about information and communication technology (ICT). A glimpse at Johnson’s social media profile speaks about her love for the sector and its potentials in enhancing national development.
Her Twitter bio reads; “Passionate about ICTs potential for enabling inclusive development”.
During her tenure as minister, Nigeria became the first African country to join the Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) — a global coalition led by the Web Foundation, NGO working to make broadband affordable for all.
Between 2015 and 2018, Johnson served as A4AI’s honorary chair, where she provided the Alliance with strategic policy guidance and led high-level advocacy efforts to drive down the cost of internet services.
She is currently a senior partner at TLcom Capital LLP, a technology venture capital fund focused on deal flow generation, investment and value generation for technology companies in sub-Saharan Africa.
ONE FACE, MANY BOARDS
Her face resonates with the boards of several leading local and multinational corporations, including World Bank, Oxford Business Group and Bloomberg,
In September 2018, Johnson became a board member of the World Wide Web Foundation. A year later — in September 2019 — She joined MTN Nigeria Communications as a board member.
She is also a trustee of the World Economic Forum’s Future of the Internet Initiative and a founding chairperson and trustee of Women in Management in Business and Public Service (WIMBIZ), a non-governmental organisation she co-founded in 2001.
The engineer and ICT professional is a fellow of Aspen Global Leadership Network. She served as an independent director of the defunct Diamond Bank Plc between August 2010 to July 2011. She also served as director of Custodian And Allied Insurance Plc in 2011.
She currently sits on the advisory board of the Lagos Business School (LBS) and the international advisory board of the UN University Institute of Computing and Society in Macau.
Speaking on her appointment, Babatunde Savage, the immediate past board chair, said Johnson “complements the Board of Guinness Nigeria because of her unmatched skills and experience, and I am confident she will continue to provide the right leadership and valuable perspectives to enable the company sustains the execution of its unique strategy, drive profitability and enhance value for all stakeholders.”
As Johnson continues to take over new leadership roles, excellence remains the result as no limit appears to be in sight for the record-breaker and pacesetter boardroom guru.