By Cami Ezenwa
The inauguration of the new Executives of the Freelance & Independent Broadcasters Association of Nigeria (FIBAN) at the weekend was with panache.
This was because Ambassador Olufemi Ajadi Oguntoyinbo, chieftain of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), in Ogun State, stormed the Airport Hotel Lagos venue of the event with an impressive delegation.
He also used the opportunity both to challenge the government on the need to do the needful and to innovate.
Among those who accompanied the politician to the event were top ranking members of the party as well as technocrats within his campaign machinery.
Speaking around the theme of the event: Broadcasting As A Mechanism For National Development & Integration: Issues & Possibilities”, Ajadi said it couldn’t have been more apt, as according to him, Nigeria was at an important stage of her life, and that there was no doubt that broadcasting had major role to play.
According to him, a country with no less than 250 ethnic languages, cultures, traditions and ideologies, obviously needed a vibrant Mass Media industry to disseminate these diversities.
He said that there was no doubt that right from pre-independence period to the current, that, broadcasting had remained in the forefront of Nigeria’s development, helping in propagating the nation’s political and economic ideologies, and creating jobs, in addition to its fundamental duty of providing information, education and entertainment.
“As much as the broadcast industry has made a lot of contributions to national development, it faces a number of challenges”, Ajadi stated mentioning such challenges to include exchange rate problem, bad economy and poor facilities.
“Unfavorable exchange rate is a major challenge to the broadcast industry because broadcast equipment are imported from overseas.
“Advertisements on which the broadcast stations survive on is not coming as before because of bad economy, these are real issues that broadcasting contend with.
“Also, there is a saying that he who pays the piper dictates the tone. Ownership structure of broadcasting stations have been affecting their output thereby affecting income generation.”
Advising on the way forward, Ajadi said the aforementioned factors called for innovative response from practitioners.
“It simply means that broadcast practitioners need to be more innovative to produce what the viewers want; that way, they are sure of making money. They can also cut huge costs by using smaller but more efficient equipment.
“However, government should improve the economy, improve the value of the naira and make it easy for broadcast stations to operate.
We are over 250 ethnic groups with unique cultures and traditions. This alone is a huge opportunity for the broadcast industry to make impact,” he stated.