By Adelanwa Olajubu
I have followed the affairs of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) over the past two decades, because of the role it plays in regulating broadcasting in our country.
I believe NBC came at the right time, when President Babangida deregulated the industry during the 1990s. I am one of the beneficiaries of the system.
I served in the Cross River State Radio in Calabar, in the early nineties, and I have worked on and off, in several broadcasting stations since then.
I am one of those who believe that NBC is a force for good in our climate. It is there to ensure that broadcasters behave ethically, and in order to ensure a tranquil environment in our country, with its several fault lines that opportunists can exploit to cause disaffection.
That was why many of us applauded NBC early last year, when it closed down Ekiti state radio and television, after the elections. Former Governor, Ayo Fayose wanted to cause mayhem, by trying to announce his own results. I
t wold have been a repeat of the sad experience of the old Ondo state, in the 1983 elections, which resulted in the loss of several lives and the destruction of property. NBC’s quick intervention saved many lives in Ekiti state.
Because I follow keenly developments in and around the NBC, I have been worried about the manner that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed, is gradually turning himself into the Minister of NBC Affairs, since his recent re-appointment.
Hardly has a day passed, that he won’t mention something related to the work of the regulatory commission. It is almost as if the NBC does not have a Board in place, or the organization no longer have a Director General.
What is the basis of Alhaji Lai Muhammed’s compulsive obsession with that organization? I have read the story of the Committee that he has set up to implement reforms in the NBC.
And while no one can fault the fact that every public institution needs reformation to meet growing exigencies; what might cause problem is when plans for reform, become an avenue to pursue a personal agenda.
For instance, all broadcasting industry insiders know that Alhaji Lai Muhammed does not have a good relationship with the NBC Director General, Mr. Ishaq Modibbo Kawu.
So when the Minister of Information appointed a Director working under the NBC DG to head a reform implementation committee, a lot of eye brows were raised by watchers.
Why did Alhaji Lai Muhammed make such an appointment? Did he do so in consultation with the DG or inspite of the DG? What role did the Minister assign to the Board of the NBC, which by law is supposed to be directing any reform in the institution?
Did he carry them along or was he actually behaving like a Sole Administrator of the NBC, which is not in the Act setting up the Commission?
How does the Minister justify the fact that his implementation committee is filled with licensees of the Commission? What type of reform can licensees impose on their regulatory agency, that can be fair?
Didn’t the Minister give this a good thought, before putting together his implementation team? And did he not expect that a backlash was going to come from the Board of the Commission, given the clear place that they occupy within the ambits of the law, the Act, which sets up the Commission?
In his heart can he convince himself that he did not disrespect the Board, and especially the Chairman, a two-time Minister, and a leading politician in his own right too?
What exactly is the crime that the NBC Director General has committed against the Minister, that he seems so bent on not only undermining his authority but also seeming to want to prematurely end his tenure at the NBC? For those of us looking from outside, the feeling was that as people from the same state, who were in the same political camp, to end the Saraki reign in Kwara, their relationship would be made beneficial for their state and Nigeria.
It doesn’t seem to be so. My question for Alhaji Lai Muhammed is that, if you get the Director General out of the NBC, would you ever be allowed to appoint another Kwaran in his place? Or you cannot be bothered with such niceties, because all you want is to terminate your Kwara man’s tenure?
And is the Minister even thinking of the negatives that some of his pronouncements are logging for the Buhari administration? When he openly says that he would regulate social media, who is he speaking for really? Is it a coincidence that the Vice President responded to him, that it was not a proper thing to think of regulating or controlling social media?
Is Alhaji Lai Muhammed not helping to reinforce the discourse about President Buhari, being anti-press freedom? Is that the type of negative image that the country’s Minister of Information should be reinforcing, in his over enthusiastic statements, that all come within the whole scenario about his seeming takeover of the NBC? And what is the story that he peddles about issuing a new “National Broadcasting Code”?
The last time I checked, there is a Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which the NBC and the industry work on and is used as the instrument to regulate the broadcasting industry. Who will Alhaji Lai Muhammed use his own “National Broadcasting Code” to regulate? How will he produce such an instrument? Didn’t the NBC release a 6th edition of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code a few months ago? And from what we know, the Code is produced once every four to five years. So how is Alhaji Lai Muhammed going to bring out his own “National Broadcasting Code”, to take the place of the legitimate Nigeria Broadcasting Code?
A lot seems to be happening. And most of these are coming from the pursuit of a personal, and a not too hidden, agenda, by the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed.
It is so clear, that the more he states that he got presidential approval for his actions, the more hollow it sounds. Presidential approval cannot be a fig leaf to hide a putrid, personal agenda, which might end up destroying the institution, than reforming it.
Alhaji Lai Muhammed is believed to rely on a tiny coterie of individuals, who have personal scores to settle, and have all bunched together to cause as much upheavals as possible in the affairs of the National Broadcasting Commission.
One of the jokes that someone made at the just concluded BON Congress in Lagos, was to ask when Alhaji Lai Muhammed would move his table and chair into the premises of the National Broadcasting Commission, to complete his takeover of the institution.
What is shameful in all that is happening, is that those who can call Minister Lai Muhammed to order, have maintained an unusual silence, as he continues his relentless pursuit of a personal agenda, at the NBC, through a most controversial NBC reform implementation committee.
Surely, President Muhammadu Buhari did not appoint Alhaji Lai Muhammed as a Minister of NBC Affairs. He should live to the oath that he swore to, never to use the position to pursue a personal agenda, because there is so much palpable personal vendetta seeping through all his actions at the National Broadcasting Commission. Nigeria will be the loser, if Alhaji Lai Muhammed is allowed to see through his personal vendetta at the NBC.
Adelanwa Olajubu, a broadcaster, is from Idanre, Ondo State.
OurTv Secures LaLiga Broadcasting Rights for Nigeria
OurTV, a DTH free TV broadcast satellite service provider, has secured broadcast rights for Laliga matches in Nigeria.
OurTV will broadcast Laliga Santander matches live on its Sports Channel 120.
Commenting on the development, Olushola Peters, Head of Marketing of OurTV, said: “This is one major milestone for OurTv and we want to thank our esteemed users, who have always believed and supported us. We value your input and suggestions as it is a core culture in OurTv to listen and please our viewers as much as we can.”
OurTv is a Direct-To-Home (DTH) TV broadcast satellite service with onetime payment of set-up boxes that offers over 18 unique and exciting channels with the use of homegrown services.
NCC, AVCNU Set Agenda for Model IP Policy for Nigerian Universities
The first draft of an Intellectual Property (IP) Policy for Nigerian universities will soon be finalised by Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC), working with the Association of Vice-Chancellors of Nigerian Universities (AVCNU) and the National Universities Commission (NUC).
Mr. John O. Asein, Director-General of NCC, and Secretary-General of the AVCNU, Professor Yakubu Aboki Ochefu, gave this indication at a consultative meeting during a visit of the executives of AVCNU to the Commission’s Headquarters in Abuja recently.
The Director-General said the Commission would fast-track work on the draft IP Policy with a view to entrenching a credible copyright culture in the nation’s tertiary institutions.
“The adoption and implementation of an IP Policy in universities will guide lecturers, students and librarians on their copyright obligations and address the allocation of rights in our institutions of higher learning,” he stated.
Mr. Asein also noted that implementation of an IP Policy would boost the Commission’s national anti-piracy campaign and enhance research and the use of IP knowledge in Nigerian universities. This, he asserted, has become even more imperative in light of the attitudinal changes brought about in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He decried the lack of copyright policy guidelines for library users in most Nigerian universities resulting in unregulated photocopying by students to the financial detriment of authors. He, therefore, urged AVCNU to assist in the implementation of the understanding earlier reached between the Reproduction Rights Society of Nigeria (REPRONIG) and the AVCNU on behalf of the Universities.
The Director-General remarked that it was an irony that universities were not eager to obtain licences despite the fact that most of the authors would be among the primary beneficiaries. He also advised REPRONIG to explore ways of ensuring that those universities that signed up for its licence obtained value for money.
In his remarks, the Secretary-General of AVCNU, Professor Yakubu Aboki Ochefu, thanked the NCC DG for assisting with the development of a model IP Policy for Nigerian Universities. He disclosed that the plagiarism detection software, Eaglescan, introduced recently for use in Nigerian Universities has helped to check the incidence of plagiarism and copyright abuses in the universities.
The Secretary-General observed that copyright has become a critical issue in Nigerian universities in view of the increasing relevance of the virtual learning environment occasioned by the Covid-19 pandemic. He expressed concern that many universities in Nigeria have no copyright policy and assured that the AVCNU would support the Commission in the development and adoption of the proposed IP Policy for universities to enrich the academic and research culture.
Professor Ochefu further indicated interest in the operations of the Nigerian Copyright Academy (NCA) and assured the Commission that AVCNU would work with the Academy to promote copyright education and enlightenment in the country, especially in the university system.
The visit of the AVCNU officials to the Commission is a follow up to an earlier visit of the NCC management team to the Association’s secretariat in February this year during which the Director-General of NCC advocated the urgent need for a model IP Policy for Nigerian Universities.
Extreme E Partners StarTimes to Broadcast Series across Africa
Electric off-road motor racing series Extreme E has signed a three-year agreement with digital TV operator StarTimes to broadcast the series live across the African continent.
The deal will see Extreme E’s five-race series aired live to more than 30 African countries including Kenya, Nigeria, Cameroon and Cote d’Ivoire in English, French, Portuguese and other local languages. Season one gets underway in early 2021.
The agreement with StarTimes is the latest broadcast deal to be announced by Extreme E, with the championship also set to partner with BBC (UK), Discovery (Europe and North America), FOX Sports (United States, Canada and the Caribbean), FOX Sports Asia (Southeast Asia), FOX Sports Australia, Mediaset (Italy), Sony India (Indian subcontinent), TVNZ (New Zealand), RTM (Malaysia), Dubai Sports (Middle East), RDS (Canada), China Sports Zhibo.tv (China), RTL 7 (The Netherlands), ORF (Austria), ESPN Africa and BTRC (Belarus).
Commenting on the deal, Ali Russell, chief marketing officer at Extreme E, said: “Extreme E is a top-tier sporting product unlike anything else out there at the moment. Likened to Star Wars Pod Racing meets Dakar Rally, its mission is to drive awareness of climate change worldwide, whilst promoting battery electric vehicles and workable, sustainable solutions. This broadcast partnership with StarTimes is really important for helping to share our messages across Africa, which is an integral location to the series as Senegal’s Lac Rose plays host to our Ocean stage.”
Kristen Miao, StarTimes sports director, added: “Motorsports are getting more and more popular in Africa and at the same time people are increasingly concerned about climate change issues. With Extreme E, they will see that sustainability can also mean excitement and adrenaline. We are delighted to bring this unique championship into millions of homes across Africa.”
CBN Investigates 55 Companies over Forex Infractions
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