Tuesday, May 24, 2022

NEWS ANALYSIS: Kwara’s switch on, glimmer of hope at country’s digital migration

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By Muktar Tahirhttps://dailynigerian.com/
Jaafar Jaafar is a graduate of Mass Communication from Bayero University, Kano. He was a reporter at Daily Trust, an assistant editor at Premium Times and now the editor-in-chief of Daily Nigerian.
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It was recently in the news that Kwara state would soon be hooked on to the digital broadcasting. The news quoted the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Muhammed as saying that he was satisfied with the level of preparedness for Kwara’s digital switch-over.

The Minister said this during his recent visit to Kwara with a view to ascertaining the level of preparedness for the launch of the DSO in Kwara State and the quality of facilities on the ground.

The Minister led a team that included the Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, and the Chairman of Digiteam Nigeria, Edward Amana, to the Integrated Television Services (ITS), signal distributor’s facilities to gauge the readiness for the rollout.

Following the inspection, the Chairman of Digiteam said: “We are ready to take off in Ilorin. We have seen the installation and what was lacking before has been rectified. There is some level of redundancy now built into the transmission system.”

Mr. Amana said at the moment there are 27 channels in the bouquet and that anyone with a Set-Top Box can access the channels within the coverage area of the transmitter in Ilorin.

He said the Digiteam is working with the Signal Distributor to construct transmission stations, similar to the one in Ilorin, in Patigi and Kaiama in order to have a total signal coverage of the whole of Kwara State.

“We require a total of three sites to be able to effectively cover Kwara State and the plan is that structures similar to the one we have in Ilorin will be replicated in Patigi and Kaiama.

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”When Patigi and Kaiama are up, then we can confidently say the whole of Kwara State will be covered and there will be spillover to the neighbouring state of Niger,” the Digiteam chairman said.

Earlier, the General Manager of ITS, Rotimi Salami, had conducted the Minister and his delegation round the transmission station and the control room.

However, the intensified effort to switch-over the country’s broadcast sector from analogue to digital terrestrial broadcasting technology is impressive, even though for a long time, it had suffered from one political will, or lack of it, to another.

It could be recalled that June 2017 was set as the deadline for the complete degitisation of the entire country, the sacrosanctity of which the Presidency and the Minister of Information and culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed have always asserted.

Thus, the DSO was launched in Jos, Plateau State, in April 2016 and was also rolled out in the Federal Capital Territory in December 2016. Therefore, Kwara is one of the six states earmarked for the next phase of the DSO rollout. Others are Osun, Delta, Kaduna, Gombe and Enugu States.

With this in view, the agency saddled with the burden of migrating the country’s broadcasting to digital technology, the NBC, has been up and doing to enable a seamless transition and success of this innovation in the Nigeria’s Broadcast Industry.

Understandably, all these boil down to the quality leadership the Ministry and NBC is having. One instance that struck a chord in people’s minds was the Kawu’s commitment and leadership style he exhibited.

Immediately after his assumption into office, he hit the ground running with activities that is turning around the country’s broadcast sector and how he achieved a lot at this shortest period of time remains somewhat of a mystery. Indeed this man is a go-getter.

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Categorically speaking, this man commenced the review of the Nigeria Broadcasting Code, which is hoped to be concluded early next year. He conducted a Content Financing Workshop in Lagos, Enugu and Kano, aside holding a national summit on Broadcasting Content and National Security. The DG also revealed his plans to organize a workshop on Hate Speech, which is unprecedented in Nigeria.

Most importantly, Kawu played a very instrumental role for Pinnacle Communications Limited to withdraw its case against NBC from court, without which the migration process would have been stalled.

The DG offered them an olive branch by magnanimously appointing them to be the signal carriers for Abuja and have installed a state-of-the-art transmission system.

Ever since the consummation of this truce, digital migration process was kick-started and considerable progress in daily being recorded – from the pilot phase to now geo-political zoning of the roll-on, (where we are at the moment) to the eventual take-off.

Consequently, it goes without saying that all these are apparently done having in mind the enormous benefits this transition will eventually usher into the country’s broadcasting subsector.

It is then worthy of note that DSO will stimulate indigenous digital entrepreneurs, engineers and professionals that will mean reduction in unemployment which is one of the cardinal objectives of the incoming administration.

Digitization will lead to the diversification of the domestic economy as different source of local and foreign cash inflows digital broadcasting ecosystem will increase the potential for internally generated revenue from non-oil sector.

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Digital Broadcasting will enhance the emergence of varieties of channels through programmer contents that will mean that more specialist broadcast certificates will be issued by NBC and thus broadening the income / revenues accruable to the federal government to meet other funding needs within the national economy.

By promoting Digitization, the Federal Government will be seen from the global prism as a responsible Government determined to inform the people, empower the people and reduce poverty through constructive engagement of the broadcast media to induce growth and economic prosperity.

On the other hand, industry stakeholders and players will benefit a lot from digitization in particular with the inherent elastic opportunities for graduate and professional artisan employment.

This will further expand the economic frontiers of the new nation with value being added to the national economy by the various sectors emerging and synonymous with digital broadcast technology.

By accelerating the digitization of broadcast system, the government will remove all form of impediments that could slow down communication matrices in the nation which will conspicuously constitute a disadvantage to any Government that desires a populist acceptability and posture.

Digitization will open up more economic and technological opportunities for the diversification of the nation’s economy especially from the creative industry, film producers, actors, writers, television play lets, soap opera.

More so, many creative channels, emerging talents and media moguls and other media partners seeking to maximize digital broadcast content will emerge with time.

 

Muktar Tahir, mnipr, is an Abuja-based media and communication analyst

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