Lessons From Cba (commonwealth Broadcasting Associations) International Conference In Brisbane Australia For Nigerian Media And Government
The world is changing. Our country cannot afford to be left behind. We cannot isolate ourselves in villagization, home grown alternatives and peculiar highlighting of the positives to the detriments of telling ourselves the negatives in our country. Many things are wrong with our country. We know. We do not need further lamentations. We can no longer indulge in verbal orgasm of condemnations. We can say enough of analysis paralysis. We have taken over 50 years to analyse our problems, highlight the negative in our land, indulge in ethnic neationalism and religious bigotry for too long. Now is the time to arise. We should wake up from our slumber. Stop our snoozing. Say enough to our lamentations and stop analysis paralysis of all our systems. We should resolve as a Nation to move forward instead of our present backward integration, retrogression and integration.
Our society has indeed seen experimentations in governance. Our country has seen military and civilian naivety in governance. Let all these “Kalokalo” governance be put at the back-yard of our history. Let the media, the people, the Local and International NGO collaborate with governance for us to have democracy and good governance in our country.
The media in our country should wake up to the clarion call to be the real agenda-setter of our society. They should begin to establish, consolidate and project their awesome powers through investigative, proactive and objective programmes and news. They should tell our governments at State and Federal levels that there is no way we can have a favourable competition with a global media by our going into the competitive arena with our eyes blindfolded. Our effective competition with the International and Local media should be done on a foundation of compliant media, broadcasting and other equipments. How can we have this competition with the use of old and non compliant broadcast and other media equipments? When we hear of International media attacking coverages with State of the art equipment and helicopters owned by these media organizations, we go livid with envy.
But what are our appropriating National Assembly doing? What are our State and Federal Government doing? We cannot afford to be blind to realities because we can no longer live in our isolations of under-development, backwardness and marketing of corrupt concept or ideas of our collective retrogression. Let us not use the language, actions and rationalizations of our corruption to rationalize our system failure, system inertia and killing of all our systems on the alter of our primitive corruption or negative appropriation.
The Private Media in our country inspite of the façade/bragladocio of squaring up with their bigger, larger and octopodian Public Media competitors are dying under the yoke of loans, debt and unfulfilled public liability and dividend promises. This should not be so if we must have a robust and vibrant media in the largest democracy in Africa.
We can no longer continue to go cap in hands to Local Government Chairmen, Governors, Ministers, Senators, House of Rep Members beg to be empowered to disseminate information. It is the right of the media and the people of this great country!
Our leaders at National Assembly, State and Federal Governments have conducted the affairs of our country like orchebra, or concert philharmonic conductor backing the audience for too long! Let them face the realities of democracy and good governance now or never!
The media, the government should see maintenance as routine issues that must be addressed appropriately, annually and in a routine way. Such money appropriated should not go into the gluttonous throat of our politicians and their civil service collaborators. Equipment must be purchased, used and decommissioned for replacement as at when due. Buildings and infrastructure must be built, maintained and kept neat with proper landscaping on a routine way. Maintenance should not be at the whim and caprices of corrupt officials in a sporadic adhoc and sloppy way!
Media planning and National Planning are for strategic developments in our country. We have jettisoned planning for so long. And if we fail to plan, we plan to fail. In the media, for example, there should be strategic plans for equipment purchase. Programmes schedule, Programmes Production, News Production, Listenership rating, Facility repair, maintenance, repair, etc.
Even National Planning is not an exception in these our collective failure as a Nation. What is our statistical data for those graduating from our universities, those retiring and those planning to retire? What are our strategic plans for their engagements. So long as we have no data on all these, and many more, so long shall we remain in underdevelopment, squarlor and lamentations! If our Local media and National base are not firm, we should begin now! We need strong leadership that is business-driven with clear plans built on standard models. All these must be properly resourced in a continuity culture.
Let us begin to key in on best practices, not practices based on tribal, religious and irredentist models. Our ethno-religious rooted planning models have failed us woefully. Can't we see? We must begin to build our Nation.
This is where the media is strategic! No matter how laudable an individual or National Programme is, once it has no media backing, exposure for enlightenment, information and dissemination, such will fail and fail flatly because we need to carry the people along. But are the media in Nigeria strategically positioned to help government carryout the onerous task of building democracy and good governance? The answer is no! Our media clips have no technical backings, reports not clear, transmission epileptic, Programmes are muffled because of lack of commitment, passion and staff morale. This is not peculiar to the Media. It is a National calamity.
This is yet another opportunity to plan and reposition ourselves for a better society for all of us. Let the appropriations of National Assembly, the funding by State and Federal Government be properly applied for proper planning for strategic developments of our different media of Mass Communication.
We can no longer wait until there is a National disaster before we embark on fire-brigade approach of proper funding of our different systems. Such funding must be monitored, with performance evaluation for accountability to check growing numbers of corrupt hawks in our society.
All our Media, as agenda-setters for democracy and good governance should begin now, with equipment and man power empowerment to promote tourism, iron and steel development, solid mineral development, Agriculture, trade and Commerce, hypocrisies in governance, hostage takings, corruption in governance Terrorism, eating of our seed money, pension and other primitive stealing, religious bigotry, tribal irredentist agenda, political buffoonery, marketing of ignorance, stone age assassinations and killings in our system etc to wake up our ailing systems and officials at all levels of our governance. If we do all these Nigeria will be great in our time! Our Media will assert their editorial leadership and the Nation assume its pride of place as a Nigeria/Nation with robust manpower base and wide base or variety of Natural and mineral resources.
Dr. S. A. Shaibu