Broadcasting in Nigeria dated back seventy seven year ago during which National Broadcasting Commission of Nigeria NBC was established following deregulation of the sector in 1992 during General Ibrahim Babangida’s administration when Professor Sam Oyovbare was the Minister of Information through Decree 38.
Following the Promulgation of the law (Decree 38) establishing NBC in August 24th, 1992, the National Broadcasting Commission was charged with the licensing, monitoring, regulating and conducting research in broadcasting in Nigeria.
It is also the duty of the Commission, to ensure the development, in a dynamic manner, through the accreditation of the Mass Communication curricula in all the Tertiary and other Institution related to broadcasting.
A task it has dutifully undertaking and has excelled evident in the diversification and development experience in the broadcasting sector today.
Though the history of broadcasting in Nigeria dates back over 77years ago from empire service to re-diffusion service and to radio Nigeria; Television broadcasting came in 1959. These gave birth to Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service (WWBS) as the first regional broadcasting service followed by Eastern Nigeria Broadcasting Service (ENBS) in 1960, then came Northern Nigeria (BCNN) in 1962.
It was however revealed that following the law establishing the Commission which was enacted on the 24th of August, 1992 a board was inaugurated on October 6th 1992, in the Office of the Minister of Information and Culture in Lagos to oversee the affairs and manage its activities dually empowered by Decree No. 38 of 1992 (now an Act of Parliament No. 38) also was amended by Decree 55 of 1999 (now an Act of Parliament No.55).
Since inception, the Commission has been head by distinguished personalities in the Media Industry trailing down from the likes of Mr. Peter Enahoro who was Chairman then, and Chief Tom Adaba as Director General and Bright Igbako as Secretary. Following the constitution of the Board, the President approved nine (9) licences for 9 applicants including African Independent Television (AIT), Independent Television (ITV) in Benin, Channels Television, Minaj Television and Galaxy Television etc.
According to a document by the Commission made available to LEADERSHIP in Abuja, it was disclosed that; “In the history of the continent, there was no such body and that Board had to look up to the FCC in the United States, BBC, the regulatory body in Britain and NTA which was self-regulatory for materials to start off. The first task was to set up an administrative structure, the nucleus of which was the red bricks building, TBS, in Lagos.
“On establishment the Commission went for young people who could grow and grow with the Commission and has been able to produce its leadership from within itself. Then, the Headquarters of the Commission was moved from Lagos to Abuja in 1998 following the shifting of the Nation’s Capital to Abuja from Lagos.
“The second Director General, Mallam Nasir Danladi Bako, was appointed in July 1999, he resigned his appointment in November 2002. Doctor Silas Babajiya Yisa took over from Nasir Danladi Bako in November, 2002 and Mr. Bayo Atoyebi took over from Dr. Silas Babajiya Yisa”.
There was a misunderstanding following some laws introduced in the Commission which resulted in the very first Seminars and workshops (AFRICAST) to be organized by the Commission because the Commission’s staff and stakeholders express that most of the new laws they were bringing was alien to them so had to be resolved.
Presently, Engineer Yomi Bolarinwa a fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers is the Director General of the Commission with five (5) directorates including; Office of the Secretary and Legal Adviser to the Commission, Directorate of Broadcast Content and Enforcement, Directorate of Broadcast Policy and Research, Directorate of Engineering Technology, Directorate of Management Services.
The Department of Public Affairs and Internal Audit are under the Office of the Director General.
Today, the Commission has ten (10) Zonal Offices and Seventeen (17) State Offices in the federation. The National Broadcasting Commission has a cash phrase – ‘Your right to quality broadcasting’. The first set of broadcast licences were issued to fourteen (14) television and thirteen (13) MMDS Stations. Today we have three hundred and five (305) functional broadcast stations in Nigeria made up of one hundred and twenty-two (120) television, one hundred and sixty-seven (167) radio stations, twenty-three (23) campus radio stations, twenty-four (24) MMDS and twelve (12) Direct-to-Home.
In addition the Commission revealed that “Africast, the summit of African broadcaster’s biennial conference initiated by the Commission made its debut in 1996. It is a platform on which we bring broadcasters, manufacturers of broadcasting equipments, Academics, Lecturers, students of broadcasting and mass communication together. There is the NBC News which is a quarterly magazine. It keeps the reader abreast of what is happening in the broadcast industry.
“We also have the regulator which is the in-house journal for staff. It is used by staff to express themselves and discuss with each other. Television broadcast reach more than 24million house-holds nationwide. The transition from Analogue to Digital advisory committee has since submitted its reports to the Honourable Minister of Information and Communication for onward transition to Mr. President.
America finally did its switch over June 12th 2009, and several other countries in the world have also done so. Here in Nigeria, as far back as 2006, all cable licensee’s, Direct-to-Home that is the Satellite service providers have gone digital.
“Also a DIGITEAM is being put together to work on the transition programme as approved by the government while paper.
The new dateline for the switch from Analogue to Digital Broadcast is set for January 1, 2005. 20th Anniversary on August 24, 2012 will be marked with the launch of the 5th edition of the National Broadcasting Code”.