On behalf of the Board of Management (BOM) and members of staff of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), I will like to welcome you to this 4th Annual Lecture. My first one was in 2016, and we were able to bring Professor Attahiru Jega, former Chairman of INEC as our Guest Lecturer. It was special in a historic sense, because it was the first engagement that Professor Jega was having in Nigeria, after successfully overseeing the 2015 General Elections. Last year’s edition commemorated the 25th anniversary of the NBC, but unforseen the exigencies of the moment meant that we had to creatively adjust our plans. Thankfully, we had the Sultan of Sokoto as our Special Guest.
The planning for this year’s Annual Lecture commenced a few months ago. We looked at the main currents in national discourse, before settling on the topic for this year’s gathering. When the time came to nominate a Guest Lecturer, we zeroed on my Kawu, my uncle, Professor Ibrahim Gambari. As I expected, it didn’t take me too long to convince him to accept our invitation. The topic for this year’s Annual Lecture is; “BROADCASTING AND NIGERIA’S ETHNO-CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS DIVIDE: BRIDGING THE GAP”. While radical scholars often argue that the basic contradictions in a society must be located in its base, at the level of the subsoil of Political Economy; the secondary contradictions, at the levels of consciousness, can often be the most vicious terrains of battle. Over the years of Nigeria’s nationhood, the secondary contradictions, at the Ethno-cultural and religious levels have appeared to be the most intractable and most fought over. And because broadcasting is a platform which reflects the social space, it can often be a conveyor of the deep emotions associated with ethno-cultural and religious divide.
That is why it is imperative for broadcasting to be a bridge-building industry. The NIGERIA BROADCASTING CODE, stated that “Broadcasting shall influence society positively, setting the agenda for the social, cultural, economic, political and technological development of (the) nation, for the public good”. Furthermore, in the CULTURAL OBJECTIVES of THE CODE, it requested Nigerian broadcasting “to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the cultural, political, social and economic fabrics of Nigeria”. So Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, our topic for this year’s Annual Lecture, speaks to an issue of enduring and contemporary resonance in our country. While we have also been very true to the letter and spirit of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code.
In Professor Ibrahim Gambari, even if I run the risk of being accused as being biased, I think we have rightly chosen a very distinguished Political Scientist; Scholar and Diplomat, who served Nigeria meritoriously as well as the international community with remarkable competence and dignity. Similarly, I want to state that we chose Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno State as Special Guest of Honour, because of his remarkable sense of duty and patriotism. Governor Kashim Shettima is one of my best friends today. And what has drawn us together, is a love for books. He never ceases to amaze me at how much he reads, and how deep is his store of knowledge.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my great pleasure to welcome you all to the 4th Annual Lecture of the National Broadcasting Commission.
Thank you very much for your attention!