DG NBC At The National Broadcasting Commission’s Two Day Training Workshop On Political Broadcast Held In Sokoto

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On behalf of the Management and Staff of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), I will like to welcome all our colleagues to the city of Sokoto. This gathering is in continuation of the series of Political Broadcast Workshops that we have held around the country: in Kaduna; Kano; and Enugu. Our plan is to go to other parts of the country in the weeks ahead, as the tempo of political activities heighten in the lead to the 2019 General Elections.
Our gathering in Sokoto is particularly fortuitous because we are doing so, against the backdrop of the commencement of politicking in the country. The political parties as well as the candidates seeking different positions are already canvassing votes. There can be no gainsaying the fact that the media, but most especially the broadcast media, would be some of the most important terrains of contest and contestation, in the electoral struggle. We all realize that. For the broadcasters, the political imperative is directly related to the financial opportunities of political advertisements. But there is a far more serious issue of responsibility that is central to our gathering here in Sokoto. The coming elections offer Nigeria the opportunity to consolidate our democracy, as well as the strengthening of key national institutions such as the broadcast sector. How we respond to the pressures associated with the heat of politicking as well as the efforts of political gladiators to suborn us to their agendas, would reflect the deepening of our responsibility to the country.
The experience that we have gathered in the past two years clearly give us cause to be worried. There has grown in many parts of northern Nigeria the tradition of radio, that ordinarily should give us so much joy. The increasing number of stations help us to disseminate information, education and entertainment to different audiences in a world of fast-paced changes, and the growth of consciousness in our communities. That is the positive side of the development. There is a negative element which is related directly to the use of radio for political broadcasts. In locations like Kaduna, Katsina and especially Kano, we have seen the consolidation of the phenomenon of SOJOJIN BAKA. They are the public tribunes of the political processes in these societies. And so important has their role become, that even learned academic studies are being done about them in some of our tertiary institutions.
The problem is that in a number of instances, and our weekly monitoring reports provide ample evidence, these individuals give political broadcasts a very bad name. They say those things that make it difficult for the broadcast outfits to escape the wrath of the law. They have been responsible for the sanctioning and in some cases, the heavy fining of many broadcasting institutions. So worrisome is the situation, that in Kano, we have collaborated with the elders of the state, to assist in reigning-in the excesses of the SOJOJIN BAKA! We all know that this is the season of the SOJOJIN BAKA, given the heightening of the political tempo.
Our gathering here in Sokoto is to remind all of us of our responsibility to our communities, states and our country. Broadcast outfits would certainly come under tremendous pressures in the days and weeks ahead. But the ultimate test of professionalism is to stay on the straight and narrow path of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. As well as all other instruments of law related to the electoral process in our country. Our workshop is therefore the opportunity to sensitize ourselves for the very important task we would be carrying out to assist the country to achieve a successful political process in 2019.
As usual, we have lined up a distinguished cast of intellectuals and professionals to help us interrogate the relevant issues around successful political broadcasts. I implore you all to please take advantage of this gathering to learn in order to improve your professional performances. We want the broadcasting industry to be a point of professional excellence in the nation’s political process by the conclusion of the 2019 elections. Nigerians are watching us. Let me also remind you all, that the NBC would not relent in its rigorous monitoring of the content of your political broadcasts. If you cross the line, be assured that we would sharply administer the relevant sanctions!
Finally, I want to welcome you all to the very lovely and peaceful city of Sokoto. Its friendly ambience offers us the opportunity for very productive work in the next two days. Thank you very much for your attention!

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