By Prince Osuagwu
Renowned broadcaster and one time Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC Danladi Nasir Bako, in a matter of days, turns 60 and feels fulfilled that God has seen him achieving almost all his dreams in life. The man whose golden voice on radio still makes many reminisce on the famed Morning Ride show on Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, has since left the profession and made a detour into politics.
However, he feels that there’s a great correlation between broadcasting and the unity in diversity that Nigeria so badly craves for. Bako feels that just as a broadcaster in politics he should be an ambassador of change in fulfilment of the mass media mandate to inform, educate and entertain, he also argues that a broadcaster in practice should even wear a higher responsibility of uniting the country.
In this interview with Hi-Tech, the current Kogunan Sakwatto, did not spare his colleagues, particularly those operating at national networks, challenging them on the right messages to keep Nigeria as one. Excerpts:
AS a man that has given a lot in service of the country and still wishes to give more, what does it feel to be 60?
I feel highly fulfilled and extremely grateful to Almighty God, the country, our past and present leaders as well as everybody I met on my way to where I am today. Every contact with everybody was an experience I gained from, either positively or negatively. Essentially as a 10 year old kid, I prayed and hoped to work hard to excel and make a name in any profession I eventually choose I believe I made that name on NTA and NBC.
I prayed to get recognised by my country, this I did as I was honoured with Officer of the Order of the Niger, OON. I also prayed and worked hard to be recognised by my community, this I achieved with my 2001 turbaning as Kogunan Sokoto. In between all this, I met President Mandela, Winnie Mandela, I attended Africa Leadership Forum with President Obasanjo, worked with President Babangida, visited 55 countries. That’s quite a lot.
During your days in NBC you always said the Commission would put broadcasting in global map. Even when you left, you have not made any comments to the contrary. Are you not worried that your NBC is such now that failed to complete transition to digital broadcasting?
It’s not so much of NBC’s fault, we knew about Digitization even when I was Director General and the concept of Digital migration and Digital compression started in 2001 at the ITU conference. Indeed, South Africa had already embarked on digital platforms, the Federal Government just didn’t take the matter seriously. But I can see work has progressed substantially in the last three years.
What’s your view on the industry generally?
Industry practitioners are trying their best, they are responding to the environment well, although because most of them are weak in research and general knowledge, sometimes they seem bankrupt in ideas especially when discussing politics, current affairs and general knowledge. Most of them still also get partisan in their discussion phone- in programmes. The national networks NTA,TVC, AIT and Channels need to re-craft better messages extolling Nigeria’s unity and oneness as a country with diverse peoples and cultures.
You are still remembered for your deliveries on Morning Ride Show on NTA. Are today’s broadcasters living up to their billing?
Today’s broadcasters have quite a few good ones within the ranks of Channels Television , TVC , Cool FM, Beat FM and a few at NTA and AIT. But there’s a general malaise of Station Owners employing unqualified persons to run such stations who eventually employ all sorts of characters as presenters, reporters, news editor and untrained staff as news anchors and reporters – even at NTA. They need more training, more research and more commitment to professionalism.
Why did you venture into politics after an unblemished career in broadcasting?
Thank you for the compliment. I went into politics because I strongly believe that elective political office can’t be left in the hands of people with questionable capacity, unproven capabilities, unverifiable credentials and a large dose of integrity deficit. Without doubt , a large challenge we have faced in leadership is that most of the best brains in this country are domiciled outside government and the tragedy is that the ruling elite works hard to keep these intelligentsia out of elective offices so the status quo ante of mediocrity and cronyism can remain.
Sokoto State is blessed with a political leader Senator Aliyu Wamakko and a forthright diligent and intelligent Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal all working in harmony and conscientiously to accelerate the progress witnessed in the last 10 years. Add to that, a Sultan that has elevated the profile of the state to enviable heights , then you understand why I value my little contributions to this Hausa of Fulani community.