Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki,
Governor, Edo State,
On behalf of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), I will like to thank you for accepting to receive our delegation, in this historic city, Benin. The last time I visited Edo State, was on the eve of the elections that brought Your Excellency to power. As is our tradition, the NBC organized a stakeholders’ forum with political parties, the security agencies and the media, to sensitize about what the Nigeria Broadcasting Code expected of all actors, in the lead to an election. I am happy to inform you, that we received the cooperation of all and sundry, on that occasion. I was not surprised. The people of Edo State, are steeped in some of the oldest civilizations in the world; and European visitors of the 17th Century attested to the remarkable elegance, order and taste, that our forefathers of old Benin possessed, in an enviable abundance. Benin City and Edo State, have therefore, always been places to come and savor culture and etiquette.
Your Excellency, I want to also congratulate you on your election. You took over from our old friend and comrade, Adam Oshiomhole, who we worked closely with, in the Nigerian trade union movement. We have requested this meeting for a number of reasons. In the first place, we want to update you on the Digital Switchover (DSO) process. It is the revolutionary format of delivering television to the Nigerian people, which the NBC is gradually unfurling all over Nigeria. As Your Excellency might know, we commenced the process with a pilot project in Jos, Plateau State, in April 2016. Subsequently, we have launched in the FCT in December 2016; Kwara and Kaduna States in December 2017; and we were in Enugu on February 12TH, 2018, and last Friday, February 23rd, 2018, we launched in Osun State. As we speak, facilities are being installed in Delta and Gombe States; we hope they would also be launched soon. I want to assure Your Excellency, that it won’t be too long before the Digital Switchover (DSO) train would berth here in Edo State. We would need the cooperation of the Edo State Government, and of Your Excellency, for success here too.
Our other reasons for this visit, are related to the outstanding indebtedness of the Edo State Broadcasting Corporation to the NBC. That amounts to a total sum of Forty-Three (N43Million) Million Naira, only. We have come to appeal to Your Excellency to help us effect payment of this outstanding licensing fee, because it is an obligatory payment, related to the licensing regime, which allows the broadcaster, as a licensee of the NBC, to be on air. There is also a subsisting fine in the sum of N3.6Million, for various infractions against the Nigeria Broadcasting Code. I also want to use this opportunity to acknowledge receipt of Your Excellency’s letter of March 27th, 2017, requesting approval to open Community Radio Stations in the three Senatorial Districts of Edo State. We appreciate the importance of the endeavor to the development agenda of the government. We have come to assure that we can help to expedite the process of licensing of these new stations.
The other issue of extreme importance for us, is an appeal to Your Excellency, to assist with the rehabilitation of Aiguobasimwin Crescent, in the GRA; that is the road on which our Benin Zonal Office is located on. The point in front of our office is PERMANENTLY water-logged! We have continuously expended funds to fix things, but the challenge is enormous. It is only Government that can fix the road. We do need your assistance to remove the problem, once and for all. Finally, we have suffered the wrath of the Edo State Board of Internal Revenue in the recent past. They sealed off our premises, because we were alleged to owe a sum of six million Naira. We have tried to reconcile the numbers, so as to meet our obligations as a patriotic corporate entity.
Finally, we want to thank Your Excellency for receiving our delegation. We do hope that this becomes the beginning of a mutually beneficial relationship between your government and the NBC. We are going to be returning to Edo State more often, as we enter the electioneering period. We are putting in place a lot of programs to stem the type of hate speech and dangerous broadcasts associated with the 2015 elections.
Thank you very much Your Excellency for your attention!