The scandalous drama, which commenced on June 3, 2020, with a tweet thread from Kelechi Udoagwu, co-founder of Skrife, eventually forced Kendall Ananyi, founder and CEO of Tizetti Network limited (also known as wifi.com) to step down on Monday, June 8, 2020. The decision was not taken because he is guilty as charged but to allow investigations into the sexual harassment allegation.
With Ananyi voluntarily relinquishing the position of CEO, his co-founder – Ifeanyi Okonkwo, Tizeti’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Patricia Aiyedun, its Chief Financial Officer (CFO), have been announced as the co-CEOs who will hold the fort pending the outcome of investigations.
Let’s learn a little about the duo, who will now pilot the affairs of wifi.com.
Just like Ananyi, Patricia Aiyedun worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers for over 13 years. She served as a Senior manager, Senior Associate and Experience manager at different times, and her years at PwC accounts for the most part of her professional accounting and financial management experience. She also had a brief stint at Diamond bank as an executive trainee.
Patricia Aiyedun obtained her first degree from the University of Ibadan. She has also acquired several other certifications and trainings since then.
She obtained Technical Skills Training at PwC including the Go Audit trainings, Business Control Matrices, Global Best Practices, Petroleum Academy, Flow-charting with Vision, and other leadership, and team building.
She also participated in soft skills trainings such as Management Bytes, Presentation, IFRS, among others.
She is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), as well as the Association of Chartered and Certified Accountants (ACCA).
Ifeanyi Patrick Okonkwo
Ifeanyi Okonkwo is a telecommunications expert and has been in the industry for over 14 years. Before co-founding Tizeti, he worked with prominent telecom firms such as Blackberry and Eircom.
He obtained his first degree from the University of Benin, Edo state, and later an MSC in Quality Management from the University of Sailford.
Okonkwo has a varied work experience, starting with a 21 months experience with Eircom in Dublin, Ireland as the Customer Support/Product training officer. He went on to work in Vertex Data Science, Manchester, United Kingdom as the Customer Service Advisor.
He returned to Nigeria in 2009 as a Training Executive in TertiaryDNS Limited, and later went to work for Blackberry in 2012 as the Training Manager, West Africa.
He co-founded TIzeti in 2014 to provide high-speed broadband internet services in Nigeria, and also provides public Wi-fi Hotspot to locations across Africa. He became the Chief Operating Officer (COO) supervising all departments in the company including the most critical ones, IT, Marketing, Sales, Finance.
He has now stepped in as co-CEO after Ananyi step-aside move to allow investigations take place.
The issue of sexual harassment has dominated the social media landscape in the last couple of weeks, and at the height of it, Kelechi Udoagwu took to her handle @anti_ratrace to recount an experience she had with Ananyi during her time as Entrepreneur-in-Training at the Meltwater Entrepreneurial School of Technology (MEST).
Ananyi was one of the guest speakers during the program, and according to Udoagwu, he was supposed to offer her advice and mentorship in her start-up journey.
Udoagwu is now the co-founder of Skrife, after meeting her cofounder during the MEST programme. Skrife is an online content development platform she launched in 2015. She also served as MEST Africa’s Head of Communication shortly after.
Her first tweet did not disclose the name of the person involved, but appeared to give enough pointers. There were other responses in the thread to also suggest that some others might have suffered a similar fate, but kept quiet for fear of what would become of their careers if nothing came of it.
In response to his denial tweet, which he eventually deleted from his handle, Udoagwu sent another tweet, this time a series of pointed questions directed at him.
He is yet to provide answers to the question. Meanwhile, MEST Africa replied to the thread, promising to stand behind her if she chooses to take legal action.
It said, “We have zero tolerance for sexual harassment and assault at MEST and within the MEST community. We will stand behind you and help escalate action if you wish.”
There were pressures from several industry big-shots asking Ananyi to give room for his co-founder to step in, in order to avoid upsetting the shareholders who have entrusted their funds under his management. This culminated in a statement from the company issued on Sunday evening, announcing the new co-CEOs.
About Kendall Ananyi
Erstwhile CEO Kendall Ananyi has a Masters in computer engineering from the University of Victoria, Canada, and over 15 years’ experience in Telecommunication and Software. He has also worked in various notable firms including Microsoft Canada, Pricewaterhouse Coopers. He is said to have in-depth knowledge of wireless networking, project management, and software experience.