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It’s NBC tradition to sensitize states wherever election is to be held—Kawu

The Director General of National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu has made it clear that “It is the tradition of the NBC to organize these sensitization workshops on Political Broadcasts wherever an election is to be held in Nigeria”.

Addressing Osun State electorates during a workshop held in Oshogbo, the state capital on Wednesday, he recalled that “In recent times, we were in Edo, Anambra and Ekiti States,” saying “In each of those settings, we made it clear that broadcasters have basic responsibilities to our country, as defined by the terms of their licensing as well as the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and the Guidelines on Political Broadcasts”.

According to him, “Our interventions have largely assisted our broadcasters’ to operate in a professional manner in most instances. Elections have been conducted in the states I earlier enumerated and not much was reported in terms of willful violations of The Code, by broadcasters, in those states”.

However, he was quick to observe that “NBC experienced a much more volatile experience in the last elections in Ekiti state. There, a most brazen atmosphere was created around the use of broadcasting by practically all sides to the political divide in that state. There was the fact that the serving DG of the Ekiti state broadcasting service was appointed, and served as Director General of the campaign of one of the gubernatorial candidates”.

“NBC pointed out the anomaly to the governor of the state and the DG himself; but we were ignored. There was a pattern of violations of The Code, which we painstakingly recorded and brought to the attention of broadcasters in Ekiti. We cautioned and sanctioned stations. But the volatility around the electoral contest, became the defining motif; and while many broadcasters attempted to be professional in their conduct, clearly, the state broadcaster was completely suborned, by the governor.

Kawu recalled that the Commission recorded something new in the Ekiti electoral contest when the broadcasting outfit of a neighboring state, in this case, Ondo State, was also sucked into the contest.

“We have recordings of the broadcasts of Ondo State Television where unacceptable materials were broadcast against the governor of Ekiti state. They violated the Nigeria Broadcasting Code and would be appropriately sanctioned.

“In the end, the Ekiti state scenario reached a dangerous finale, with the governor attempting to usurp the lawful authority of INEC, the electoral umpire, by using the Ekiti state owned broadcasting outfits to announce election results.

Accordingly, “NBC was obliged in the circumstance to close down the stations. Our assessment of the Ekiti electoral process, showed the way that biased reportage; hate speech and inflammatory comments, became central to the conduct of actors, and these were reflected in the political broadcasts of several stations”.

“It was clear to us at the NBC, that the battle for political power in Ekiti state was viciously fought on the airwaves, almost as much as it was, on ground. Stations were openly aligned to different candidate