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Broadcasting should bridge ethno-cultural, religious divides for national devt—NBC

The Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu has revealed that broadcasting remains the strategic platform for bridging ethno-cultural and religious divides for the interest of national development.
In his welcome address on Thursday while declaring open the 2018 and 4th Annual Lecture of NBC, he explained that the choice of renowned political scientist, diplomat and social change campaigner, Prof Ibrahim Gambari was based on his experience and wealth of national development ideologies having served the nation at the global stage.
On the topic for the lecture, Kawu averred “The topic for this year’s Annual Lecture is; “BROADCASTING AND NIGERIA’S ETHNO-CULTURAL AND RELIGIOUS DIVIDE: BRIDGING THE GAP”, noting that “While radical scholars often argue that the basic contradictions in a society must be located in its base, at the level of the subsoil of Political Economy; the secondary contradictions, at the levels of consciousness, can often be the most vicious terrains of battle”.
“Over the years of Nigeria’s nationhood, the secondary contradictions, at the Ethno-cultural and religious levels have appeared to be the most intractable and most fought over. And because broadcasting is a platform which reflects the social space, it can often be a conveyor of the deep emotions associated with ethno-cultural and religious divide.
“That is why it is imperative for broadcasting to be a bridge-building industry. The NIGERIA BROADCASTING CODE, stated that “Broadcasting shall influence society positively, setting the agenda for the social, cultural, economic, political and technological development of (the) nation, for the public good”.
“Furthermore, in the CULTURAL OBJECTIVES of THE CODE, it requested Nigerian broadcasting “to safeguard, enrich and strengthen the cultural, political, social and economic fabrics of Nigeria”. So Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, our topic for this year’s Annual Lecture, speaks to an issue of enduring and contemporary resonance in our country.
In his thought provoking presentation, Professor Gambari hinged his pullout “in the context of the challenges and options essential for stabilizing the polity and enthroning an enduring peace, national unity and inclusive democratic governance in Nigeria”.
“In this regard, my basic premise and starting point in addressing the subject of this lecture is simple. The real divide in Nigeria is not ethnicity, culture or religion; rather they are the mis-use of these elements and the perpetration of inequality along class and regional lines in our country. “And the gap must be bridged through conscious national integration efforts aimed at promoting unity and equitable socio-economic development and democratic consolidation.
According to him, “In bridging the gap, new messages of national solidarity and strength in our diversity should be escalated to counter the dubious narratives of ethno-cultural and religious divide being perpetrated especially by politicians close to national election times in order to continue to divide and rule the country”.
Continuing, Prof Gambari added elements of two other and perhaps more dangerous divide; (a) Violent extremism and terrorism; just as the perpetrators do not respect or recognize national boundaries, they do not respect religious, ethnic or cultural affinities.
“Hence, we have to unite against and defeat them by adopting and implementing national, regional, continental and global strategies. (b) Growing poverty and economic inequality; figures show that in 1980, those living beneath poverty line constitute 6.2% of our population.
“The estimate now is that they are up to 44.2% of our total population. Of recent, the UK Prime Minister said their number is 87 million, making Nigeria ‘home to more very poor people than any other nation in the world.
“In recognition of this ugly situation, our VP Prof Osinbajo said that his Administration has committed N500 billion to poverty alleviation. We can do more of course and adopt comprehensive strategies like India and China where millions of their peoples have been lifted out of poverty.
The NBC annual lecture held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja was attended by industry experts and top government officials.

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