On behalf of the Board of Management (BOM), and members of staff of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), I will like to thank you, for inviting me to attend and address the 68th General Assembly of the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON). For five years, between 1997 and 2002, I was a very active member of this august body. I can therefore claim a familiarity with the organization and its mores and methods. Of course the years have rolled by, and the conditions within which the industry operates continue to evolve, nevertheless, the commitment of the membership to their collective interests as well as your work in Nigerian broadcasting remain very constant. Together, the regulator and licensees, have an organic relationship to help the growth and survival of our industry.
These are very exciting as well as difficult times for broadcasting in Nigeria. From the standpoint of the regulator, we can see an industry that is exponentially growing. The number of licensees and potential new investors is growing by the day. Similarly, there are so many exciting opportunities related to the industry. That growth justifies the deregulation of the Nigerian broadcasting industry by the Nigerian government over the past 25years. Yet the economic conditions, especially in the past few years, have also been tough for our industry, as it has been for Nigeria in general. Nevertheless, the industry has survived and grown, and the recently released advertisement spend statistics, show that things have not been gloomy for broadcasting in Nigeria. Things will only get better, with the economic outlooks becoming increasingly favourable for all Nigerians.
We want to implore our colleagues in BON to please remember that they have obligations that must be met as part of the conditions of licensing of their various outfits. In recent months we have held several meetings with some of the major broadcast outfits that have huge records of indebtedness to the NBC. While we recognize the difficult economic situation that our colleagues face, we implore you all to please take very seriously the need to offset debts that were incurred and were not serviced, even when the economic situation in the country was not as bad as it became in recent times. We are committed to holding very business-like meetings with the leadership of the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria to look at that and several other issues that have been raised in communications between us. And I assure you that this meeting will hold soon as we can mutually agree on the time. Our commitment is constant; and it is to provide the regulatory framework to enhance the continued growth of Nigeria’s broadcasting industry, while also holding the industry to the best professional practices.
Similarly, I want to remind our colleagues that the political season is picking up in Nigeria and as we move closer to the elections season in 2019, political broadcasts and advertisements related to electioneering will become central to broadcast activities. We appeal to all our colleagues to please go back to examining the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the relevant clauses related to the conduct of political broadcasting. NBC has commenced a series of political workshops in the most politically-polarized areas of the country, in order to assist in instituting the best professional practices that can only assist in the deepening of the country’s democratic culture. The National Broadcasting Commission has also taken a very strongly pro-active position against the broadcast of Hate and Dangerous Speech in Nigerian broadcasting. Pursuit to our determination to stamp out Hate from broadcast content, we commissioned a major study of Hate Speech in Nigeria, against the backdrop of the purvey of hate in the lead to the 2015 General elections. We will do more sensitization work with broadcasters; and in the first quarter of 2018, we hope to work with BON; the political parties; INEC; CSOs; and the security forces on political broadcasting in the lead to the 2019 elections in Nigeria.
We appreciate the relationship that we have with the Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON) and we look forwards to a strengthening of these ties for the continued growth of Nigeria’s broadcasting industry, as well as for the deepening of the democratic culture in our dear country. I wish you very successful deliberations during this 68th General Assembly of BON. Thank you very much for your attention!