As usual, we are majoring in minorities. It is a curse we bear, this inability to focus on what’s really important.
The Minister for Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday released a statement where he directed the NBC to determine whether MultiChoice, by shooting the current edition of Big Brother Naija in South Africa, has breached the Nigerian Broadcasting Code in any way.
Well, since it is apparent that the honourable minister is not quite busy, I thought to bring to his attention issues that he’s better off paying attention to, regarding the state of the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA.
So, here we go:
- The NTA produced Cockcrow at Dawn in the early 80s, at least a decade before M-Net did Egoli. Today, the NTA plays no part in the entertainment of Nigerians while MNET has gone on to create channel after channel, delivering thousands of hours of made in Nigeria content.
- What happened to all NTA studios scattered all over the country? What happened to the studios in Enugu where the likes of The New Masquerade were shot? What happened to the facilities in Jos and Lagos? If those facilities had been maintained and improved upon, wouldn’t we have been in a position to produce a show like Big Brother Naija?
- How come my 10-year-old nephew knows nothing of the existence of the NTA? How come the NTA has played no part in his education and upbringing, unlike the channels on DStv curated for children?
- How much of NTA’s yearly subvention go into content creation? Doesn’t it just make more sense for the honourable minister to focus on what the likes of the NTA can do, rather than spend time investigating MultiChoice for doing nothing wrong?
- What are government’s plans to turn a moribund NTA around? The NTA used to boast of 30 million viewers in my days as a child whose entertainment and information solely depended on the NTA. What happened? What went wrong?
- DSTV will not be an entity worthy on any really serious engagement if only successive Nigerian governments have not been myopic and ideas-deficient over the past three decades. The NTA was responsible for television blockbusters like Cockcrow at Dawn, The New Village Headmaster, The New Masquerade, Second Chance, Mirror in the Sun, Behind the Clouds, Basi and Company and many more. One would think that it would be more profitable to find out what went wrong, fix the issues and return to producing great content, rather than worrying about why Big Brother Naija is being shot in South Africa.
- Does the NTA have any idea how much it is losing in revenue daily by not doing more than following government officials about? If the NTA can get even a fifth of its former 30 million viewers to watch it’s content regularly, the revenue stream potentially available will make even DStv envious. But we all know that isn’t happening any day soon; those that profit from the mess the NTA has become will die before they let commonsense prevail.
Nigerian television stations, including the NTA, breach the Nigerian Broadcasting Code daily and I can’t remember ever seeing or hearing of a statement by Alhaji Lai Mohammed or any of his predecessors about investigating these stations who continue to sell airtime to content producers, a breach of their licensing terms, since they got their licenses in trust, on behalf of the citizenry.