The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) of Nigeria held its fourth annual lecture last week, with the focus firmly on the broadcast industry’s role in fostering national unity.
Almost a week after celebrating its 26th anniversary, the NBC hosted its latest lecture on the theme of Broadcasting & Nigeria’s Ethnocultural & Religious Divide – Bridging the Gap. The conference focused on discussions about the broadcast industry and its nationwide impact.
Delivering the welcome address, Is’haq Modibbo Kawu, director general of the NBC, stated that the aim of the lecture is to deliberate on the issues affecting the broadcast industry and how it can address the question of ethnicity and religious division in the country.
“Ethnicity and religion have become a recurrent and ever-present issue in the Nigerian polity. Broadcasting is critical to them. How we use the broadcast media can affect our ethnocultural relationship positively and negatively.
“Today, I challenge our industry to use the broadcast media to promote healthy religious propagation, religious unity, respect that is built on a faithful and credible religious foundation using our religious diversity as strength and not weakness. Our religion and culture should unite us not divide us,” he said.
Kawu further explained the role each broadcast company is expected to play in moving the country forward, particularly during the upcoming 2019 elections.
“I enjoin broadcasters to use their medium not for selfish gains but for unity and growth of the country,” he said. “We should promote healthy debate and give voters education and enlightenment so they can make informed choices.”
He further stated: “The broadcast media belongs to all of us. It is a sacred medium, not for abuses and hate speeches.”
Kawu disclosed that Nigeria has over 700 broadcast stations and the most active broadcasting industry in the African continent. He also said the NBC is determined to finish the digital switch-over (DSO) it actively re-embarked on in 2017.
The event took place at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, with a number of dignitaries and industry leaders present. They included the Minister of Information & Culture, Lai Mohammed (represented by Priscilla Ihuoma); Kashim Shettima, Borno state governor (represented by Barrister Kaka Shehu Lawon) and Professor Ibrahim Agboola Gambari.
Keynote speeches were delivered by Professor Isaac Mbachu, Political Science Nigeria Defense Academy; Professor Antonia Okoosi-Simbine, national commissioner at INEC; and Dr Armstrong Idachaba, director of broadcast monitoring at the NBC.