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I will like to welcome our Chairman, Alhaji Ikra Aliyu Bilbis, and Members of the Board of the Commission to the serene settings of the Ibom Resort, for the opening of this retreat. When the Board was inaugurated a few months ago, we entered a different phase of work at the National Broadcasting Commission. The naming and inauguration of a body for any institution, are a normal and expected part of the architecture of corporate governance in Nigeria. But these normal procedures often arrive with their own baggage of controversies. On the one hand, the Management of the institution immediately discovers, that the terrain of work suddenly takes a new shape. This is because we begin to deal with a new set of people, who come from diverse backgrounds, many of whom come with different levels of experiences. It is often like a form of culture shock for those used to working in a different way. The reality forces a quick adjustment. And where like me, I am learning to work with a Board for the first time, that learning curve must be dealt with ASAP!
In a political setting as we now operate, these Board members are also often politicians. So they come with all the expectations that politicians normally have. And because of the nature of the human condition, soon as they were named, they begin to receive all manners of open and clandestine briefs about the institution and its leadership, which might color the perceptions they get to form early about the institution as well as its leadership. But more fundamentally, is the real possibility of the build up of tension as well as misunderstandings, especially associated with the delineation of functions between Management and Board. And Boards often come with all kinds of attitudes ranging from the most benign to the most intrusive. It is the reason that when they are announced, members of the management of institutions feel a certain amount of trepidation. Just yesterday, a colleague CEO of a parastatal called me up to complain about the very bad relationship he was having with his new Board. I was not surprised. As I listened to him, I felt happy that we don’t have such an experience at the National Broadcasting Commission.
Over the past few months, we have worked with our new Board, in a setting of mutual respect. There are underlining creative tensions. There are expectations that members of the Board expect to be met; there are irritations they feel, when things have not moved at speeds they assume should be at the levels of their importance as members of the Board. There are very tall egos that we have to learn to massage as ongoing concerns. And they have also been inundated with all kinds of stories, allegations and rumors from within the Commission. However, on balance, we have been exceedingly lucky to have a Chairman with a very rich resume of experiences, which has helped to smoothen work between Management and Board. And the Board members have also been able to deploy their variety of experiences to a positive effect. We can therefore say that we have been lucky, about the composition of our Board at the National Broadcasting Commission.
But we cannot take anything for granted. That was why it became imperative to organize this Board retreat. We thought long and hard about the reality of our work as a Commission, and the specialized ambience of expectations that come with regulating broadcasting in a complex country, like ours. It is very important to be able to find the requisite levels of understanding between Board and Management, to ensure a work flow that meets the nature of our responsibilities to Nigeria. That can only be effectively achieved when our relationship is driven by a comprehensive knowledge platform, rooted in the Act that sets up the NBC; the realities of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code; the conventions that came from the decades of building the Commission as well as the norms of the public service. What must never be understated is the collective experiences of the Board members and the Management of the Commission. So in the long run, we need to keep deepening our interpersonal relationships in the interest of the Commission.
Over the next two days, we would look at several aspects of Board-Management relationships; the overlaps; the potential sources of tension and conflict and draw from the experiences of the Resource People, and then have frank discourse to enrich our understanding of the work that we would continue to do together, over the next few years. I believe that the people we have brought together would open vistas of experiences that would enrich all of us, Board and Management alike. I want to thank them for accepting our invitation. I want to thank the Board members for seeing the need for a retreat like this almost from the first day that we began to meet. It was a clear expression of their commitment to duty. I will also like to thank the Board of Management of the Commission for the work that was done to put the retreat together. I hope we all have a fruitful two days of work within the serene settings of the Ibom Resort, here in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
Thank you very much for your attention!

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