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On behalf of the Management and Staff of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), I will like to welcome you all, to this 2nd Annual Lecture of the NBC. The National Broadcasting Commission was set up on August 24, 1992; NBC draws its mandate from the National Broadcasting Act CAP N11 Laws of the Federation, 2004. The setting up of our commission came in the context of the world-wide movement towards the deregulation of the broadcasting industry. Nigeria’s decision to establish an institution to regulate the broadcasting industry was therefore a timely effort that was geared towards a complete re-vamping of a sector of national life, with a very significant ability to significantly influence the pace of national development. The institution of an Annual Lecture to commemorate the setting up of the NBC, is therefore in response to the importance of the institution, especially in the processes of democracy consolidation; the expansion of the frontiers of national development and the consolidation of the freedoms available to the citizens of our country.
You might ask why an Annual Lecture? The answers to that are simple. It is a well-known fact that the NBC licenses, regulates and monitors the broadcasting industry in our country. But what is not so obvious is the fact that we also have the mandate to advice government on the country’s mass communication policy in general. We also carry out research. These mandates are of course influenced by the dynamics of society itself and the impact that the fast pace of technological advancement can have on policy thrust as they affect the country’s media of mass communication, in general and broadcasting in particular. We are conscious of the fact that the broadcast regulatory functions of the NBC will continue to evolve, in order to keep pace with the dynamics of societal development and the technologies which continue to change the manner that we deliver broadcasting. An annual lecture is therefore a celebration of the coming into being of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) on the one hand, and on the other hand, it is recognition by the NBC, of the importance of continuous engagement with the most current socio-political issues of the day. Broadcasting afterall, is an engagement with and within a social, historical and political setting.
At the NBC, we do realize the importance of providing a platform of engagement with the Nigerian society, in a manner that can assist us to interrogate the most significant issues of the day. The hope that is at the base of this intention, is that we would then be making a major contribution to the manner that Nigeria finds solution to the problems that it confronts in the nation building process. Democracy is an open forum of engagement between the citizen and his government; and it is important to incrementally deepen the content of our country’s democracy too. By bringing us together as we have done today, the NBC also proudly associates itself with the consolidation of Nigeria’s democracy.
The theme of our Annual Lecture for 2016, is: “BROADCASTING, DEMOCRACY & THE CHALLENGE OF THE NEW NIGERIA”. The theme was consciously arrived at, because of the imperatives of the present in our country. For the first time since the transition to civil rule in 1999, in 2015, an opposition political party defeated the incumbent party that had been in power since 1999. The seismic shift and change of government, was the finest expression of the power of democracy as being the tribune of the people. Nigerians that voted for change in 2015, have also consciously chosen to side with a process of development, which might herald the birth of a new Nigeria. It is never an easy task to build anew, especially when what was inherited was an accumulation of wasted opportunities in the previous sixteen years. In this complex picture, what can be the place or the role of broadcasting? These were thoughts that we have attempted to wrestle with and they formed the backdrop to the choice of the theme for our 2016 Annual Lecture. The second part of this issue was to choose a lecturer who in his personal, professional and public service life, can represent the most appropriate individual to offer thoughts that will convey the intentions embedded in the theme of our lecture. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, you would all agree with me, that in Professor Attahiru Jega, we found a lecturer who excellently fits the eminent personality we were looking for to give this year’s NBC Annual Lecture.
In my opinion, Nigeria will forever be grateful to Professor Attahiru Jega, for his contributions to the consolidation of our democratic process. It was under his leadership, that Nigeria’s electoral commission was able to deliver an election that offered the hope, that citizens can use their votes to effect a democratic change of government. The deployment of the card reader was not only a game changer of very significant historical proportion, but we must also thank Professor Jega for his courage, deep sense of honour and a patriotic commitment to duty. We were never in doubt at the NBC, that he is absolutely the best individual for this year’s Annual Lecture. I must hasten to add, that I used my personal relationship with him to convince him to find a space out of his very tight schedule, to accept to be our Guest Lecturer today. For those who might not know, Professor Jega taught me Political Science at the Bayero University, Kano. As a matter of fact, he supervised my Master’s Degree thesis, demanding very exacting standards all through. And when he told me as we spoke on the line across continents, between Nigeria and the USA, that “Modibbo I cannot turn down your request”, I knew we had scored very big! Thank you very much sir, Professor Attahiru Jega, for coming all the way, to honour the National Broadcasting Commission, by accepting to be our Guest Lecturer today.
Finally, let me assure all those that are present here today, that the NBC is determined to make this Annual Lecture one of the most important dates on the national calendar. Every year on the 24th of August, we will bring lecturers with the pedigree of Professor Attahiru Jega, to explore the most contemporary themes that will offer meaningful perspectives to all of us in Nigeria. I welcome you all this morning and do hope that we will learn a lot from the lecture that Professor Attahiru Jega will present today. Thanks a lot for your attention!

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