Nii Quaynor, the main point man for ICANN in Africa, who was Missing In Action (MIA) for over a decade at ICANN has been facilitated to get the” Ethos Multistakholder” award by ICANN.
ICANN’s ‘Multistakeholder Ethos Award’ is its second year of running and is given to recognize “those ICANN participants who have deeply invested in consensus-based solutions and the importance of ICANN’s multistakeholder model to Internet Governance.” Three people have so far been awarded with Avri Doria being the first winner last year, and currently a known community leader Cheryl Langdon Orr along with Nii Quaynor during the ICANN 53 meeting meeting Buenos Aires, Argentina.
What is worrying about this trend that ICANN continues to favour its own insiders is the very reason why Africa will never grow in the global internet governance circles. The practice of only recognizing and awarding ICANN buddies and colleagues in the same circle.
Exactly why Nii Quaynor got an award is not known, but what is know but cannot be admitted is that there has been no tangible work that can be attributed to him, apart from the overly erroneous “Father of Internet in Africa” which should rather be “Father of Internet in Ghana, (Refer to this article). It is also a well-known fact that Nii Quaynor was never present at ICANN for over a decade and came back to the scene round 2009. His long term departure from ICANN is said to be attributed to the problems caused by anti-competitive and politically related practices faced at his organization Network Computer Systems where he was founder and chairman.
His come back role is also mostly attributed to self-serving actions and activities in the African new gTLD platform: his own initiative (.africa), where major exclusion and side-lining of other important African internet stakeholders in favour of his own initiative. He is therefore ICANN’s well protected comeback man.
Why we have not heard of “Father of Internet” Asia, Latin America, North America, or Europe (All of them have NIC’s just as AFRINIC attributed to him, they are standard ICANN projects) is a discussion reserved for another day. But seriously ICANN is not going to get headway in Africa through this chronic way of recognizing loyal foot soldiers. So what is ICANN’s agenda in all these?
In Africa there are countless tangible names who have driven Africa’s internet governance platform, in areas such as DNSSEC, Pan African Internet Satelite projects, Regional fiber optic infrastructure, Africa online: a pioneer of pan African ISPs. One right under the nose of ICANN, a veteran Internet technology expert Adiel Akplogan who joined ICANN in the newly created role of Vice President for Technical Engagement who served most recently as the Chief Executive Officer of AfriNIC, the Internet Numbers’ Resource Registry for Africa, a position he has held since 2004.
ICANN is already irrelevant in Africa. ICANN Africa, under this self-awarding regime by ICANN will never get a chance to grow afresh with new innovative leadership. ICANN’s outreach methods remain a slow punctured pace with nothing new or revolutionary, which will eventually cost ICANN Africa its future. Where there is no mentorship nor continuity, recycling the same people will remain persistent at the expense of the upcoming leaders at ICANN Africa.
ICANN has a history of awarding people then naming them in a certain committee, which then gets scrapped or become irrelevant for some reason or another e.g. the Globalization Advisory Group, so what is most likely is that ICANN will build Nii’s image and try to use it for as long as possible, if only to show their footprint in Africa – a one man path.
Finally, thanks to the outgoing CEO of ICANN, whose hiring practice has brought huge public embarrassment to ICANN, creating his own insider circles on ICANN Board and staff, which in the past years was staffed with his close work associate, friends and allies, many outside of ICANN will remember Nii Quaynor as someone who brought shame to the African landscape through his influence peddling, conflict of interest, greed, and the controversy over the African new domain to his own advantage.
Be as it may, Africa shall be watching for the next assignment of ICANN Board to Nii Quaynor in Africa, as ICANN’s version of success in Africa depends on how a single point-man of ICANN will perform his duties wearing the accolades he has received in just the past few years from ICANN. Since his come back to ICANN and ICANN’s sister organization ISOC, he has also been given a badge of “Internet Hall of Fame”, not to be mistaken, with full recommendations from his buddies at ICANN.
As the European scholars would say “they whom the gods wish to destroy, they first make mad with power!”