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THE HISTORY OF THE NIGERIAN TELELVISION





BY: Ifedayo Akinwalere
TEL: 08033936940

March 03, 2013





These days what people think about nearly every issue, be it politics, religion, government, fashion, culture, is almost exclusively influenced by television (Akpan, 2008).
Television is a new medium that would not only convey messages but convey it accurately with audio and visual details of the message.  Ajibade (2010), states that “no news medium anywhere in the world exists in a vacuum.  News media operate within clearly defined environments, which influence the development and growth of the mass media and are, in turn, influenced by the mass media.  These environments include social, political, economic, technological and cultural factors that dictate the direction of growth and development of the mass media as social institutions”.
Like man, whose character and dispositions or attitudes are shaped by the kind of environment in which he grows up as a child, the Nigerian press is a product of various influences it has experienced from its formative years till today.  The fortunes of the Nigerian press continue to be dictated by social, political and economic factors, e.t.c.).  The main objective of this paper is to detail how socio-political and economic factors have moulded the ‘character’ of the Nigerian television since 1959 the premier of the then Western Region, the Legendary Chief Obafemi Awolowo established the Western Nigerian Television (WNTV) in Ibadan.
 FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE GROWTH OF TELEVISION ARE:
POLITICAL FACTORS
Political factor was the main influence that brought about the inception.  Television broadcasting started in Nigeria in October 1959, who the then premier of Western Region, the legendary, Chief Obafemi Awolowo established the Western Nigerian Television   (WNTV) in Ibadan.  It was the first station in Africa.
It is interesting to note that the establishment of Africa’s first television station in Ibadan was as a result of the urgent need for the press coupled with the protest borne out of the socio-political disagreement between the leader of opposition, Chief Obafemi Awolowo and the central government.
In 1953, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, leader of the Action Group, which controlled the Western Region, criticized the newly introduced Macpherson constitution for falling short of the expectations of the nationalists.  The then British Governor General, Sir John Macpherson went to Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) and made a broadcast in defense of the constitution and accused Awolowo of unfaithfulness.  Chief Awolowo wanted NBS to give him equal time to make a rebuttal of the allegations against him, but his request was not granted.
This event led to the demand for the incorporation of NBS as public property and the establishment of separate individual regional (Western Nigeria Broadcasting Station), independent of federal government control.
Fortunately, there was a constitutional conference that was held in July 1953.  At the conference, broadcasting was removed from the exclusive list and included in the concurrent list. So the Nigerian constitution of 1954 provided that regional governments could establish broadcasting services.
The Western region blazed the trail on October 1, 1959 by establishing the first TV not only in Nigeria but also in Africa.  The former Eastern region followed suit in October 1, 1960 by establishing its own television broadcasting stations.
Both the Western and Eastern Regions went into partnership with British overseas Rediffusion Ltd; which constructed and managed their broadcasting systems.  They eventually paid off the company.  In 1962, the Northern Region established its own broadcasting systems.
The Regional broadcasting systems were completely independent of the Federal Government.  The only relationship between them was that the regions needed to get frequency allocation from the Federal Government.
The regionalization of the broadcasting media later led to ethnic or tribal loyalties.  The modern mass media were used as instruments for the circulation of regional interests, which were sometimes conflicting.  Regional interest, integration and awareness were given priority above national integration and unity.  During political crises, regional media became more powerful than NBC. WNTV was to be commercial company, making maximum profit to sustain itself.  That was why overseas Rediffusion Ltd, was involved in the project.

ECONOMIC FACTOR
Economic factor was responsible for the future of television broadcasting in Nigeria.  According to Uche (1989), “the Western Nigeria television service was established by an Act of the Region’s House Parliament.  Although it soon became the richest commercial television broadcasting organisation in the entire federation.
The growth and development of the Nigerian press has always been influenced by economic factor especially right from the inception of state broadcasting.  Broadcasting is owned and managed by both the Federal and State Governments.  The Federal and State Governments are the sole bodies that fund their individual broadcasting organisations in the country.  While the various states broadcasting organisations have been engaging in commercial broadcasting since the inception, the Federal Government did not allow its own broadcasting system to go commercial unity August 1, 1987.
According to Uche (1989:45) “there was a token opposition in the Federal House of Parliament when the NBC wanted to start accepting commercial advertisements.  People feared that those who would sponsor programmes would influence their contents.  Moreover, the NBC had been modelled after the BBC as a public service corporation.  But for the fact that the state broadcasting system had gone commercial, NBC management argued that it too should be allowed to go commercial so as to subvert some of its huge expenses.  In November, 1960, NBC began to accept advertisements when the act of incorporation was amended.  
However, during the Murtala/Obasanjo military administration, the NBC (FRCN) was barred from accepting advertisement and getting involved in commercial broadcasting.
The military argument was that it was developed as a public utility and as such it should aid the government in its development campaigns.  It was feared that permission to go commercial might affect the policies and orientation of the management.  When the fourth military coup d’├ętat occurred on December 31, the FRCN management made a series of representations to the military authorities through the Federal Minister of Information, (himself a military officer) to justify why it should be allowed to go commercial.  It claimed that going commercial would enable it to generate a substantial portion of its annual subvention to argument whatever subsidy the Federal Government makes available to it.  The Federal Military Government gave the FRCN’s representation a series thought.  But it eventually rejected it.
The ousted Shagari civilian administration also turned down a similar request by the FRCN to be allowed to go commercial.  As a matter of fact, during the Onosode commission on Federal Government parastatals, the FRCN through its former Director-General, George Bako, voluntarily opted to remain in the unified salary structure system of the civil service commission.  Its management openly admitted that it (the FRCN) could not generate 100% of its annual revenue without federal Government bail-out.  But the fact remains that millions of dollars were being lost as a result of the government policy of not permitting the FRCN to go commercial…  The Babangida administration, determined to force profit-oriented public corporations to generate their own incomes, permitted the FRCN to go commercial with effect from August 1, 1987”.
The commercialization of broadcasting in Nigeria actually signalled the entrenchment of professionalism in broadcasting industry in Nigeria.
EDUCATION
Provision of educational for the use of schools or other educational institutions was one of the reasons for the establishment of NBC.  The NBC ordinance provides also for both federal and regional boards of NBC.  It made the corporation an independent policy-making body.
Members of the board, chairman, chairmen of regional boards, ten others to be appointed by the president of the nation and a D-G as ex-officio member.
The functions of the regional boards were similar to those of the federal board except that the regional boards were additionally required to design adequate programmes that would educate the people in line with the region.  According to Uche (1989:61), the proponents of Western Nigeria Television had argued in the regional house of Assembly that the necessity of such a medium was its utility as an additional means of improving the regional school systems that were handicapped by the shortage by the shortage of qualified teachers in certain subject areas.  They also argued that such a medium would act as a surrogate “teacher” in those understaffed schools in the region.  The potential ability of television to enhance educational objectives at both primary (grade) and secondary (high) school levels and adult education became over-riding factor for the establishment of the western Nigeria Television (WNTV)…”
The ensuring activities of various individual stations in the area of educational broadcasting were to follow this laudable initiative by the Ministry of Education.  The various educational programmes were run either in consonance with the curriculum and recommendation of the Ministry of Education or Independent of the ministry, but in line with the peculiarities and philosophy  of each individual station (Onabajo:2000).
The various transformation and development that Nigerian broadcasting industry had witnessed so far, reflects in the educational broadcasting aspect of its activities with a lot of programmes targeted at the various segments of its audience (Onabajo op. cit. 7).
When modern television broadcasting system came to Nigeria, they were specifically introduced to provide adequate services in education, social and economic development.  They were also to transmit the Nigerian and African cultures, tradition, politics, literature, drama, and entertainment.  The devotion of Nigeria’s television to education when they were newly introduced becomes quite apparent when we see that of six and one-half hours that the WNTV was on the air each day (Monday through Friday), it transmitted educational programmes from 11:00am to 2.00pm to about one hundred schools equipped with television receivers in the region; while the transmitting hours of the ENTV, Enugu, were just as devoted to educational broadcasting as those of the WNTV (Uche 1989:63).

GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION
The Federal Government established its own station NBC-TV in Lagos in 1962.  The mass media are undoubtedly the major instrument of political competition. The political parties used and abused broadcasting to win supported nationally.
In 1969, a military regime had taken over the administration and Nigeria had broken up into 12 states.  These new states which did not have television stations proceeded to make plans for them.  Between 1973 and 1974, the fifth (in Benin) and the sixth in (Jos) stations were established by the Midwest and Benue –m Plateau state respectively.
In 1975, when another military came on board, it further split Nigeria into 19 states in 1976: Anambra, Bauchi, Bendel, Ondo, Oyo, Ogun, Benue, Borno, Cross River, Gongola, Imo, Kaduna, Kano, Kwara, Lagos, Niger, Plateau Rivers, and Sokoto.
The military administration enacted Decree No 24 of 1976; the decree established the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).  The NTA was established to:
(a)     Take over all the existing television stations.
(b)   Plan for, establish and operate new stations in the state capitals without television.  The idea was that only a single organisation, the           NTA, should operate television broadcasting in Nigeria and on behalf of the Federal Government.
The charter NTA required it “to ensure an independent and impartial service which will operate in the national interest, to give adequate expression to culture, characteristics and affairs of the different parts of Nigeria”.
Between the creation of the new state and the promulgation of the decree, four new TV stations came on stream in Port-Harcourt (River State) Sokoto (Sokoto state), Kano (Kano state) and Owerri (Imo State).
With the establishment of NTA, all the television stations in Nigeria assumed the name “NTV” with the addition of only the name of state capitals in which the stations were located.  The new stations were:
(a)     NTV – Abeokuta (1978/79)
(b)   NTV – Akure  (1978/79)
(c)    NTV – Bauchi (1978/79)
(d)   NTV – Calabar (1978/79)
(e)    NTV-Ilorin (179/79)
(f)    NTV-Maiduguri (1978/79)
(g)   NTV-Makurdi (1978/79)
(h)   NTV-Minna  (1978/79)
(i)     NTV-Tejuoso (1980/81)
(j)     NTV-Yola (1978/79)
On October 1, 1979, the military government handed over power to civilian president and Nigeria began to operate a new constitution, which permitted states to establish and operate all the broadcasting media.  Thus, the states started to re-establish and operate TV stations to compete with the exiting national television network, NTA.  By 1983, states had established 11 televisions stations.
1.       LTV – Ikeja
2.      OSTV – Akure
3.      OGTV – Abeokuta
4.      BDTV – Benin                        UPN
5.      OYOTV- Ibadan

6.      IMTV – Owerri
7.      ATV – Enugu                         NPP

8.      Plateau TV – Jos
9.      Borno TV – Maiduguri           GNPP
10.  Gongola TV – Kano

11.  City TV – Kano                      PRP

States that were under the leadership of NPN did not set up television stations because the national network, NTA, was under the control of NPN at the Federal level.
Promotion of cultural heritage of the people is one of the motives behind setting up of National, regional and states radio broadcasting stations in Nigeria and this has greatly aided the growth and development of broadcasting industry in the country.  The functions of the regional boards of NBC were similar to those of the federal board except that the regional boards were additionally required to give adequate expression to the culture of the people where they are located.
The NBC was renamed FRCN in April, 1978.  The external service of Radio Nigeria – Voice of Nigeria.  It is to project the personality, culture, and traditions of the people of Nigeria to the outside world, and to broadcast news of international significance in keeping with the foreign policy of Federal Government.
The stations are grouped in their respective zones on the basis of similarities in linguistics and cultural affinity, and the factor of geographical contiguity.

FOREIGN CULTURAL INFLUENCE
The construction and early management of broadcasting systems in Nigeria came under the auspices of some foreign companies.  These foreign companies jointly owned the media with the Federal (Central) and regional governments… however, the consequence of foreign ownership and construction of the broadcasting system was that these foreign owners defined the concept of broadcasting and media management in Nigeria.  This was primarily based upon the operative norms in their home countries, which became their cultural referents in their programme preferences and priorities (Uche, Op. cit. 76).
Sequel to the stated reasons, foreign culture from industrialized countries has universal influence over the media programme preference of media administration in Nigeria.  This has greatly threatened local cultural autonomy and awareness.  It is assumed that there is cultural imposition on the people of Nigeria from the media source countries.  Their contents constitute cultural frame of reference to most viewers in Nigeria.
The controversy is that the foreign ownersh8p of these stations was phased out as the nation assumed a more militant role.  Then, after this, Nigeria had and still has the option to define her own broadcasting.  Therefore, can be now say that foreign culture was imposed on Nigerians or actively invited by Nigerians?  It cannot be disputed that foreign culture is one of the factors that shaped the history of the Nigerian radio broadcasting industry.  The evidence is obvious in today’s programmes and music on radio stations.  Nigerian traditional music is struggling to survive.
INCREASE IN POPULATION AND NEED FOR INFORMATION
 Following the annexation of Lagos as a British colony and the consequent increase in political activities as well as boom in trade, the population of Lagos began to increase as people from the hinterland started to troop into take advantage of the various educational and commercial opportunities.  With the phenomenal rise in population, there was the need to keep the people informed about public affairs. 
Naturally, this increased the need for information among the residents of Lagos.  (Ajibade: 2010).
Akinfeleye (2003:44-45) “There are (95) Ninety-five radio stations in Nigeria according to my latest interview with the officials of FRCN and NBC.
The 95 radio stations are distributed as follows:-
Federal Government owned radio – 37 stations.
FRCN – (5 Network stations located in Lagos, Ibadan, Enugu, Kaduna and Abuja.
They are both AM and FM stations.
And 32 New FM stations making a total of 37 radio stations for the Federal Government.
State radio stations are (36) Thirty-six in number. While private radio stations are 22 in number with the following classification – 18 – private radio stations.
Four private but specialized radio stations.
The four private but specialized stations in Nigeria are:
1.       Atlantic FM station – for French programmes.
2.      Spectrum FM station – for Hard News
3.      Brilla FM – Mainly for sports.
4.      UNILAG FM radio station – for education and academic programmes”.

TECHNOLOGICAL FACTOR
Technological factor is another important factor that has great influence on the broadcasting destiny of the country.  At the onset of the 21st century, a number of issues relating to broadcasting arising both locally and internationally.  Locally some of these issues are as simple as they attempt to redefine news or even broadcasting itself.  Others are as complex as globalization and intricate technological implication.
There may be no universally accepted resolution of some of these issues but it is essential to have stimulating discusses to explore the various ramifications and implication of the technological issue.  One of the advantages that the broadcasting industries and indeed journalism has enjoyed over the years is receptivity to new idea and abundance of such ideas.
With the deregulation of Nigeria broadcasting industry with decree 38 of 1992, new era of broadcasting began.  Prior to this, only Federal and state government enjoyed the exclusive right of dissemination through broadcasting.  The privatization of the industry allows the rich businessmen that invest in the industry to purchase and utilize modern information communication such as cable system, satellite services, digital facilities to broadcast to the nation.  These communication facilities help to relay programmes more efficiently and cost effectively than terrestrial relay facilities.  Communication satellites have reduced the operating costs of stations, systems and networks.  Satellites, more than any other technology, have made it possible for modern cable and other media to flourish.  Although they are more economical for long distance signal relay than traditional telephone lines and microwave relays, however satellites and the equipment associated with them remain expensive.
A number of issues relating to professionalism in the Nigerian broadcasting industry have been raised, while some argued that professionalism is far from the Nigerian broadcasting industry, others believed that there are professionals in the industry.  A number of factors go into the making of a professional.  These include training, experience and other factors.  It is generally believed that a professional handles programmes just excellently and speedily, this he does with self confidence.
As part of the argument about professionalism in broadcasting in Nigeria, some have argued that broadcasters are born not made while others argued that broadcasters are made not born.  A more appropriate approach is to blend the two. 
In essence, both natural talent and acquired skills are required for professionalism in broadcasting in Nigeria.
Since the deregulation of broadcasting in Nigeria, the issue of professionalism has even become more pronounced.  Many organisation within and outside have raised issues about the competence of Nigerian broadcasters.  Training institutions are few and underfunded, equipment are inadequate and sometimes not maintained.  Many broadcasting institutions are not investing sufficiently in human resources development. All these impinge negatively on professionalism.  For professionalism in broadcasting to be achieved:  
(a)    There is the need for standard setting;
(b)   Up-to-date equipment are required;
(c)    Broadcasting should not be for all comers;
(d)   There is the need to search for the talents and train them.
(e)    There must be sufficient remuneration for staff.
(f)    Monitoring agencies must be equal to the task.
It is obvious that since the deregulation of the industry, it is those that have money, that is, those who now own and control the news media.  They may continue to dictate the pace, as long as professional journalists lack the wherewithal to set up and run their own media.
Realizing that the country is endowed with abundant natural and human resources, there is the need to exploit resources to our advantages by the acquisition and development of technology.  To achieve this, the technological objective of radio should primarily be to:
(a)    Promote the spirit of self-reliance and encourage the development of local technology;
(b)   Promote and encourage the study of science and technology;
(c)    Keep the people abreast of technological development;
(d)   Promote standard in broadcasting.



                                                  REFERENCES
Ajibade, O. (2010).  Some social-political and economic factors that shaped the
history of the Nigerian newspapers (1932-2012) p. 248 Lagos: Department of Mass Communication, University of Lagos.

Akinfeleye, R.A. (ed) (2010). Mass communication – A book of readings. 
University of Lagos: Department of Mass Communication.

Akinfeleye, R.A (2003).  The fourth-estate of the realm. Lagos: University of
Lagos Press.

Lai Oso (ed) (2002). Communication and development – A reader.  Abeokuta:
Jedidiah Publishers.

Onabajo, O. (2002). Essentials of media laws and ethics.  Lagos: Gabi Concept
Limited.

Uche, L.U (1989).  Mass media peoples and politics in Nigeria.  New Delhi:
Ashok Kumar Mittal.

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