Port Louis, Mauritius, on 17 September 2014, Badru Ntege, the Chairman of AFRINIC’s Board, announced that AFRINIC’s founding CEO, Mr. Adiel A. Akplogan, will be leaving his position on 31st January 2015.
Mr. Akplogan departs After leading AFRINIC’s accreditation process to become the world’s fifth Regional Internet Registry (RIR) for a decade, similar to its counterparts APNIC, ARIN , LACNIC and RIPE NCC. He was appointed by the Board and became AFRINIC’s first CEO in June 2004. Under his leadership, AFRINIC has made significant progress and has grown into a respected regional organisation, positioning Africa as a key player in the regional and global Internet technical community. Over these years, AFRINIC has also acquired a solid reputation amongst its peers, its members, other stakeholders as well as the global Internet industry.
Despite its success in the technical community of ICANN as being the first regional registry in Africa, its history is not without controversy, as its handlers continue to fight to use the organization to remain a monopoly and be the point people in the technical internet community. As such, the organization is seen to dip its hands in business that conflicts with its own mission, which is to be oncerned with the narrow activities of coordinating IP address.
DotConnectAfrica, the other bidder for the .Africa gTLD had officially complained to the African Union in a letter written on 25 August 2009 over the CEO’s involvement with the African Union and ICANN saying “it did not feel that AfriNic could represent a neutral position towards its advice to the AU and that AfriNic does not have a mandate to get involved in ‘domain activities, as its mandate is strictly in ‘IP addressing”. Activities below is another of public domain reference of AfriNic’s CEO statement in regards to similar Conflicts of Interests on same issue in the past year.
In his response to the above complaint, Mr. Akplogan, in the past was quoted publicly denying the allegation by DCA saying
“Let me make quite clear that .africa and the domain business is not part of AfriNIC’s activities.” He also noted that his organisation welcomes the initiative for an African address zone and would support any proposal aiming towards open and transparent operation. However, AfriNIC would not itself get involved in domain activities
However in an interview the now extinct Heise online covered, on 28 October 2008, titled “Dispute over .africa domain”, one of his employees contradicted him saying Akplogan, was in fact a consultant for another DotAfrica applicant.
Again in confirmation of what his employee stated and Akplogan’s own public denial earlier, he was caught giving a statement to Africa Report last year saying that AfriNIc is coordinating with the African Union in the controversial .Africa new gTLD issues. Akplogan also in his personal capacity as advisor to the steering committee of the UniForum bid.
“My personal objective sitting on the committee is to make sure that politics does not interfere with the technical aspect of the business,” he says. Adding that once ICANN makes its decision, the AU can step back so the registry can be “run with the necessary autonomy and business practices […] to be successful”.
Speaking about his impending departure Mr. Akplogan says that “It was not an easy decision for me to take, but after 10 years of engagement with and for the community, the time has come for me to move on and spare time to catch up with my family. It has been an honor to serve the AFRINIC community, and watch it grow into the incredibly dynamic and engaging body it has now become.”
The announcement said AFRINIC Board of Directors will immediately launch a CEO search process that will culminate in the appointment of a new CEO as soon as possible. In the mean time all measure will be taken to ensure a smooth transition including business continuity.
Perhaps the next CEO will have less of a monopolist view of the African internet and will refrain from having to his and his organizations interest out of conflict.