By Suleiman Ahmed
The Kano State-owned radio station, Radio Kano AM/FM is facing closure, following a series of crises and alleged poor management.
Already, the FM station, Radio Kano 89.3 FM, has been off air for more than 20 days, investigation by Daily Nigerian revealed.
The flagship station, Radio Kano AM, which is now working haphazardly, faced a similar challenge early this year when it went off air for some days.
Daily Nigerian gathered that Radio Kano, which was established in 1946, has lost its primacy, listeners and advertising revenues to about a dozen radio stations currently operating in the state.
The staff of the station and concerned indigenes of the state have expressed their disappointment over the poor management of the station and “dwindling quality of programming”, alleging that experienced hands were ditched for “neophytes” to run the station.
A staff who pleaded anonymity said state government’s negligence and appointment of “glorified duty continuity announcer and advert canvasser” as managing director is a great disservice to the station.
Daily Nigerian gathered that the Managing Director of the station, Hajiya Saadatu Babaji, who hardly sits in the office to discharge her duties, is allegedly taking unilateral decisions on issues and witch-hunting staff.
Sources said any staff that was not in Ms Babaji’s good book was either transferred or asked to report to his junior.
A former staff of the station, Muhammad Salisu, lamented the crisis facing the station, saying even the morale of the staff has dampened.
“The morale of Radio Kano staff is at its lowest ebb, because the present MD has made the station as her personal company, and she decides on who to work with and who not to,” he said.
“The case of Habibu Gwangwazo, a staff that was suspended for airing former governor Kwankwaso song is a clear testimony to this.
“The recent victim of Babaji’s discriminatory attitude on staff is Lawal Isa Bagwai, who the managing director forcefully changed from his office as Director News and Current Affairs to another office”.
Daily Nigerian learnt that both Gwangwazo and Bagwai had spent more than thirty years serving the station.
A veteran journalist and former managing director of Pyramid FM, Aminu Beli, said the governor, the Information commissioner, NUJ and RATTAWU, have a duty to rescue the station.
“The governor should play a major role, lest the public begin to ask questions why he looks the other way whenever, as I was told, the matter was taken up to him. He is the alpha and omega, and the issue is in his know.
“Again, I used to know the MD as a focused person on whatever she engaged herself in. What has gone wrong?
“I am concerned. Very concerned, especially that (true or false), I learnt that some interests are already working on a petitions to EFCC/ICPC, on some issues the two commissions might have interest in. I always wish her ending well as a leader there and beyond, because I know not even the government and others in it, would identify with her when the two commissions begin to work on her. They say it is because she is well connected. It is one of the questions people are asking. No connection endures when you are thrown to the wolves. May Allah intervene. A stitch in time, saves nine,” Mr. Beli added.
When contacted by Daily Nigerian to comment on the matter, Ms Babaji declined comment, referring our reporter to speak to the station’s Director of Administration and General Services, DAGS, Tijjani Aliyu.
Speaking to Daily Nigerian, the DAGS said the airing hiatus was caused by disconnection of electricity supply due to outstanding charges amounting to N3million owed to Kano Electricity Distribution Company, KEDCO.
According to him, the debt was inherited from the previous administration, and that the station has been paying its current bills to the electricity company.
He said the managing director is doing her best towards addressing all the problems facing the station, assuring that the problem of electricity would be solved before the end of the week.
He disclosed that the state government has provided the station with new generators, enough fuel and promised to settle the outstanding debt it owed.
“Before the end of this week, tune in to the FM station, you will hear it airing programs as it is normally doing,” he assured.
He described those associating the problem with poor management as “irresponsible critics”, saying they only criticize the management for political reasons.