Lagos – President Goodluck Jonathan on Sunday night said that Nigeria must lead Africa in creating a media industry that would tell the good stories of the continent.
Jonathan spoke at the launch of a television station –EbonyLife TV — at the Expo Hall of the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
He was represented by the Minister of Information, Mr Labaran Maku.
“Nations must grow a media industry to tell their stories and showcase their talents; Nigeria, being the giant of Africa, must take a leadership position in this quest.
“Our greatest stories lie in our creative industry, and the president is prepared to support this to the last letter,” he said.
The president gave the assurance that some other private television stations would be established as soon as the process of digitalising broadcast media was concluded.
“The future of Nigeria rests on the private sector, and we will continue with the reforms in the private sector and the media.
“We are creating a new fund for the media and creative industries, such that will further assist the industries,” he said.
Jonathan said that his administration’s goal was to make the Nigeria economy to lead in Africa.
The president urged interested investors to explore Nigeria’s creative industry.
He congratulated the Founder of the television station, Mo Abudu, describing the establishment of the station as historic.
He urged Nigerians to support the station.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Dr Olusegun Aganga, hoped that the television station would be a “new voice’’ for Africa.
“This station is coming at a very beautiful time. It is coming at a time Africa has a compelling story to share with the rest of the world,’’ he said.
Aganga said the station was established at a time when six out of the world’s fastest growing economies were from Africa and at a time when Nigeria and Angola were among the top four contributors.
“It is coming at a time that Nigeria has attracted the largest investment in Africa. The world has never seen this Africa before.
“This is our own. Our time has come. Our time is now. We want to earn foreign exchange from the entertainment industry,” he said.
Gov. Liyel Imoke of Cross River said that the station would be able to make much impact on the nation’s economy.
“It will create jobs and expand the creative industry in Nigeria,” he said.
He called for more funding of the creative industry.
Imoke urged Nigerians to support the new media outfit.
In a keynote address, the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of the Forbes Media, Mr Steve Forbes, said that Africa was not all about diseases and poverty.
“There is an exciting image of Africa. Nigeria’s growth is just beginning. The potential is here and EbonyLife TV will inspire Africa. The globe is waiting,” he said.
He urged Africans to invest more on the continent, noting that only 12 per cent of Africa’s trade was being carried out within the continent.
Earlier, Abudu said that the station was aimed at giving Africa a new perspective by projecting its potential.
“It is God-inspired. It’s been a long journey. I have always wanted to have a channel.
“This is the right time. If I had done it at any other time, it would have failed.
“It is a channel made in Nigeria; it is our channel, and it can go anywhere and represent Nigeria. You have to make it your channel now,” she said.
The new television station is located at Tinapa, Calabar.
It will transmit African movies, reality shows, fashions, music, drama and other programmes on DSTV Channel 165.
At the event, musical legends — Victor Olaiya, King Sunny Ade, Ebenezer Obey, Onyeka Onwenu and 2face Idibia — received awards for their contributions to the development of African music.
Veteran actress, Joke Silver, was also honoured for her contributions to the growth of the Nigerian motion picture industry.
A fashion designer, Deola Sagoe, received an award for exploits in the fashion industry.
The trio of Tonye Cole, Tope Shonubi and Ade Odunsi of Sahara Energy Resource Ltd. was also recognised for contributions to the growth of the oil and gas sector.
The Minister of Culture and Tourism, Chief Edem Duke and a former Governor of Cross River, Mr Donald Duke, were at the launch.
Ebenezer Obey, Onyeka Onwenu, Omawumi, Banky W, Tiwa Savage, M.I. and Zaina entertained the gathering with musical performances. (NAN)