December 22, 2016
3 mins read
On behalf of the Board of Management and members of staff of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), I want to welcome Your Excellency and the distinguished cast of Nigerians present here for this historic event. We have gathered here at the Pinnacle Broadcasts Limited’s transmission center, to commence the official switch on of Digital Broadcasting in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as well as the long journey that would switch off Analogue transmission in our country. While the story of the pilot phase of the digital switch on, commenced in Jos, Plateau state in April 2016, our Federal Capital Territory of Abuja is effectively the site of the REAL point of embarkation for this exciting new phase in broadcasting.
A little over six months ago, in May 2016, President Muhammadu Buhari appointed me as Director General of the NBC. I was conscious of the fact that our Commission was the cynosure of all eyes in respect of hopes for a successful digital broadcasting transition. Expectations were very high and naturally, my work was cut out for me. I was determined to ensure that we achieved a switchover process that was inclusive and rancor-free. This was particularly important, because at the point that I took over, one of the most significant players in the digitization process was in a very bitter dispute with the NBC. They were in court and while significant developments were taking place, the digitization process was dogged by that huge elephant in the room. We set out to convince them to go out of court and return to the process that they had labored hard for, and for which they were the single most important financial contributor.
Your Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen; that major player is Pinnacle Communications Limited. They accepted our request; withdrew the case they had instituted against the NBC and they made a pledge to return fully to the Nigerian digitization process. As part of that settlement, we offered them the opportunity to become the Signal Distributors for the Abuja Switch On. In EIGHT WEEKS, this site where we are gathered today was cleared and built up; they also went ahead to install some of the finest transmission systems in the world at this site! What we have here is an example of the Nigerian spirit of positive daring as well as a major statement for our country’s entrepreneurial ability. In the Chairman of Pinnacle Communications Limited, Sir Lucky Omoluwa, these remarkable qualities confluence to produce the patriotism that drove what we have here today. It is a feat that we can all be proud of! It is important to underline the fact that the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed played a very crucial leadership role in the process which helped us to break the logjam that I have described.
I want to place on record the incredible support that the National Broadcasting Commission has received from President Muhammadu Buhari, to ensure the success of the digitization process in Nigeria. The president directed that funds seized from the Commission be promptly released to facilitate our work. Not only that, our work has taken place within the vision that President Buhari laid up for a digital economy in Nigeria. He had envisaged an economic process driven by Nigeria’s very creative young people; arguably the most dynamic and most creative on the African continent today. At the NBC, we have placed the digitization process within the broad ambits of President Muhammadu Buhari’s vision.
As part of the Abuja switch on, we would transmit 30 TV channels, offering fares in news, entertainment, sports and business. The bouquet of programs offers local, regional and national television channels; this is the new way to watch television. Our Set Top Boxes are also interactive, offering the unique opportunity for government to communicate directly with the Nigerian people; there is also the possibility of instant feedback which would assist in deepening the democratic process. There is a rich possibility opening up for NOLLYWOOD to offer access to the rich repertoire of Nigerian films, that would sweep the carpets from the feet of pirates, thus bringing more funds to help develop Nigeria’s film industry, the third largest on earth. In the new digital ecosystem, seventy percent of content on 24-hour television WOULD be LOCAL. This offers jobs opportunities as well as wealth creation for Nigeria’s very creative young through the entire broadcasting value chain. The introduction of a Digital Access Fund (DAF), would become platform to help collect television licenses in Nigeria, thus present opportunities for local governments around Nigeria to get funds that can aid the development of the grassroots.
The most important point that we must all ruminate over, is that we have a timeline of June 2017, to complete a nation-wide digital switchover. That presents a huge logistic and financial challenge during the current economic climate in the country. Our plan for success is to involve the Nigerian Governors’ Forum in the next phase of the switch on. In the next few months, we plan to switch on six states, chosen from each of Nigeria’s geo-political zones. We then envisage a domino-like effect, that will bring other states within the loop, in a race to meet the June 2017 deadline set by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), for member countries in the ECOWAS sub-region. There are challenging but exciting days, weeks and months ahead, for Nigeria’s digital switch on. I will like to assure Your Excellency and our distinguished invitees, that at the National Broadcasting Commission, we will give our very best, to drive this historic process to a successful conclusion.
We seek the continued support of President Muhammadu Buhari, members of the Nigeria Governors Forum and all other critical stakeholders for Nigerian digital switchover. I want to thank you all for honoring us today and I also congratulate the people of the FCT, and all Nigerians for this major historical development.
Thank You very much for your attention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Don't Miss