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Tributes to Late Mallam Yaya Abubakar

By Qasim Akinreti

In life, death is a necessary end, it will come when it will come, and so for Mallam Yaya Abubakar, a former director general of Voice of Nigeria (VON), death came to him at 73. Late Mallam Yaya Abubakar, was a  prominent broadcaster , from Bauchi  in Bauchi state , North central Nigeria. An alumni of University of Lagos, his foray into Broadcasting saw him rising  to the managerial positions at the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA Bauchi in the 1980s and NTA Network in the 1990s.

As a manager and  broadcast strategist, he was the pioneer chairman of Gombe Media Corporation and Chairman  of Board of Trustees of Bauchi State Television (BATV). Mallam Yaya rise to stardom in the broadcasting sector came  first as the DIrector News at the NTA Network center , Ahmadu Bello way , Victoria Island,Lagos. He created Newsline , a Pan Nigeria News Feature programme where the likes of Frank Olise ,Lola Ogunbambi, Abike Dabiri Erewa,Late Sella Radiri and others took the television broadcasting to Nigerian home with dexterity and high sense of humour, the Programme became a Sunday tonic for viewers across Nigeria.

The success of Mallam Yaya Abubakar at NTA arguably was the fillip to his  appointment as Director General, Voice of Nigeria ,VON, in 1991, when the international broadcasting outfit was carved out from the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria,FRCN, external service.

As a pioneer DG of VON, he ensures ,the international station stand his foot in the comity of external broadcasters globally. he worked with  the best brains in the radio broadcasting in nigeria including late Tunji Oseni, as Director News,Engineer  Ugwu, director of Engineering. Others are Mallam Saulawa, Director Programmes,Muhammed Okerejior,Director News after the exit of Oseni and Engineer Odunsi, who took over from Engineer Ugwu after his retirement.

Due to his passion for international broadcasting, Mallam Yaya Abubakar monitor or listen to every broadcast on his station and can easily track the performance of his News and Programmes staff. Aside from this, his style was to walk into the newsroom incognito and reward commitment to duty without any fear or favour.

To accentuate his love for international broadcasting, late Yaya Abubakar ensure that a foremost textbook on international or external broadcasting  from Nigerian  and African perspective was published  in partnership with  Dr Justin Labinjo,after  a two day international conference on the role of external broadcasting  to Foreign policy at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs,NIIA,Lagos. The book was entitled “The Challenges of External Broadcasting”, published by Sola Prints  In 1994. The book  had remained a reference  research material for student of Mass communication on international or external broadcasting  at the tertiary level globally.

Interestingly, too Mallam  Yaya Abubakar groomed his successors to the exulted position of Director General Voice of Nigeria. He first  brought Mr Taiwo Alimi as a Consultant to the corporation. Coincidentally, Mr Taiwo Alimi succeeded him a chief executive in 1999 to 2003. Mallam  Abubakar Jijiwa was brought from the News Agency of Nigeria, as Director Finance and Administration. He also became the VON DG from 2003 to 2015.

He had always used every opportunity to correct any infractions in the broadcasting industry especially certain developments in NTA and VON , two notable terrains where he served his fatherland meritoriously. Mallam Yaya complained about the logo of NTA and the change of NTA.  He equally advice VON management to revert to its original logo changed during the tenure of Mr Taiwo Alimi, at the management retreat in the Administrative staff College of Nigeria,ASCON, Badagry.

The late seasoned broadcaster and administrator per excellence was rewarded handsomely by the VON management naming a well furnished pent house at the Broadcasting House ,Voice of Nigeria,Lagos in his honour  during the era of Mallam Abubakar Jijiwa.

Mallam Yaya Abubakar was  a Member of the Board of the Nigeria Press Council and Commonwealth Broadcasting Association.He attended the Royal Institute of Public Administration and bagged a Diploma in Public Administration in 1982. He is also a recipient of a Certificate in Policy and Strategic Studies from the Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos in the year 1988. May Allah grant him Aljanah Firdaos.

 


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