Your Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi
Governor, Enugu State of Nigeria,
The Chairman, House Committee on Information, National Orientation, Ethics and Values, Honourable Olusegun Odebunmi
The Honourable Minister of Information and Culture,
Alhaji Lai Muhammed,
Chairman DIGITEAM NIGERIA, and other stakeholders of the Nigerian DSO project,
Distinguished Dignitaries of Enugu State,
Gentlemen Of the Press
On behalf of the Management and Staff of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), and all our Stakeholders in the DSO ecosystem, I will like to welcome you all to the official launch of the digital switchover (DSO), here in the Coal City, Enugu, and the state, Enugu State. I feel particularly happy that we can all gather here, in a city, that I personally think is one of the most friendly cities of our dear country. Over the past two years, the NBC’s engagements with the Coal City, Enugu, has become strengthened, as we have held several events here: meetings of our Board of Management; the Expanded Board, known as E-BOM; training programs for members of staff; we have held a Content Financing Workshop here for young Nigerian Content Providers, and so on. We return here regularly, because we found a most welcoming ambience for work, but above all, we always meet a most friendly people and City! And this is not an exception. The beauty of this city has always been a source of attraction, and the accommodating and friendly spirit of the people, have a long history. The capital city of the former Eastern Nigeria, was after all the city that once accepted the late Malam Umaru Altine, a Fulani man, like me, from Sokoto, as its Mayor! So Enugu has always been a place of remarkably positive examples!
Your Excellency, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, we have gathered today, to effect the Digital Switchover in Enugu State. This means that the people of this state will now join their counterparts in Jos, the FCT, Kwara and Kaduna States, in this new way of watching television. We commenced the pilot phase of the DSO in Jos, Plateau State in 2016; in that initial, pilot phase, we experimented with a multiplex of 15 broadcast channels, which were well-received by the people in Jos. That phase of the DSO taught us vital lessons, about working with several stakeholders in the delivery of the new process. These are DIGITEAM Nigeria; the Signal Distributors; Content Providers; the Set Box Manufacturers; the Content Aggregator; Call Center Operator and the Middleware provider. It was also a process that had to be carried out with thorough and saturation publicity! The experience gathered from the pilot phase of the DSO, in Jos, taught us very important lessons. But more importantly, it emboldened us sufficiently to make us take the decision, to launch in six states; each representing the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria. We launched at the end of last year in Kwara and Kaduna States. And we are here in Enugu today, and by the 23rd of February, we will also move to Osun State. This round of launches will be concluded in Delta and Gombe states. And we have also commenced the preliminary process for the next set of six states, that would follow. It means that gradually, we are making the transition from Analogue to Digital Broadcasting, a reality in Nigeria, and a major achievement of the Nigerian Government and our people! DSO has move away, forever, from the drawing board; it is a reality, that is delivering crystal-clear television to the Nigerian people.
And as we deepen its processes, there are valuable add-ons such as Video-on-Demand (VoD); internet facilities; interactivity; Electronic Program Guide and including the vital process of audience measurement, that will spike advertisement spend in the broadcasting industry and others, that our viewers will become used to. The Broadcasting value chain will be enhanced, not only in terms of viewing experience but also, and very crucially, as a platform of enhancement of creativity and the opening up of the vistas of new jobs for the Nigerian economy. As we have all become increasingly aware, Nigeria is the hub of African television, creativity and entertainment. Today, Nigerian Content has become the greatest cultural export, that is influencing popular culture all over Africa, and the African Diaspora. These experiences will get an even greater filip with the accesses that digital broadcasting will open up. The opportunity has arrived for the presentation of new generations of a Nigerian Content, able to present the rich tapestry that is Nigerian culture, and the multiplicity of our identities! Digital Broadcasting will help tell our stories; it will give us the platform to interrogate our existence; it will offer us the opportunity to know ourselves even better. And as our country’s population reaches 193million, and a median age of 17.9 years, these value reinforcing possibilities of digital broadcasting become ever more imperative. When President Muhammadu Buhari challenged us to take advantage of the new digital revolution, it became the remit for the digital broadcasting experience that the National Broadcasting Commission is delivering to the Nigerian people! We are at the point of embarkation for a most exciting broadcasting experience!
That is why I feel really happy that we are able to arrive at this point of launch, here in Enugu state. The experience of DSO has been anticipated here, ever since we announced that Enugu would be amongst the first six states, that would be digitized. Nigerians, ever the intrepid business people, even began to sell Set Top Boxes here, for more than a year, in anticipation of this launch. It was indicative of the feeling for the new digital experience. It is a feeling that we have witnessed in other places where we have done the launch. And it is a reflection of how important the DSO is for the Nigerian people. That is why the Federal Government is pulling all stops to deliver the project around Nigeria. At the National Broadcasting Commission, we are determined to conclude this historical project, and we believe that working with all our stakeholders, we would eventually succeed. We are launching on this site today, NTA Enugu, because our Signal Distributor for the Enugu State is Integrated Television Services (ITS); one of the two Signal Distributors licensed by the Nigerian Government for the DSO.
It is therefore my pleasure to welcome you all to this historic process; the launch of the Digital Switchover (DSO) in the beautiful and friendly city of Enugu!
Thank You Very Much for Your Attention!