Alhaji Lai Mohammed, minister of Information and Culture, has challenged the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) to leverage on its rich experience and the unique power of technology to enhance its professionalism, while also serving as an effective tool of national integration.
The Minister issued the challenge on Tuesday while inaugurating the new Management Board of the NTA, chaired by Chief Duro Onabule.
''The NTA’s key function is to provide independent and impartial television broadcasting for general reception as a public service in the interest of Nigeria. No other television station in Nigeria is charged with the same social responsibility of public interest broadcasting. Accordingly, the NTA must continue to serve as a tool for National Integration,'' he said.
Alhaji Mohammed said the NTA must borrow a leaf from its golden era of the 1980s-1990s, when it churned out relevant, impactful and desirable programmes such as Village Headmaster, Sa Manja, Masquerade, Cock Crow at Dawn, Behind the Clouds, Mirror in the Sun, Bala Miller Show and Giant in the Sun, in its efforts to reposition itself for a more stellar future.
He said while the NTA cannot afford to indulge in the ''political arguments'' over how it lost its shine, ''there is a clear challenge in front of us, to take the NTA to new heights, to re-establish our social contract with our viewers and audiences, to lead the way in keeping the nation informed and educated, and all this while stepping boldly into the new future of digital broadcasting that is already threatening to leave us behind. We must take on these objectives without fear, favour or distraction.''
The Minister urged the new management board to ensure that the new content development strategy for the NTA promotes government initiatives and programmes in a more professional manner; and that the television station must explore strategic partnerships with key government MDAs as well as strategic partnerships with key foreign partners and investors in media and broadcasting.
He described the ongoing transition from Analogue to Digital broadcasting, known as Digital Switch Over (DSO), as a new dawn for programming in Nigeria and Africa.
''It comes pregnant with opportunities to do things in a better way. The availability of more television channels and the changes in the structure of signal delivery opens up new possibilities in both public and private broadcasting. Besides Dramas and Soaps, the NTA also needs to invest urgently in a wide variety of programming types to give more depth and breadth to its broadcast.
''In the seemingly 'traditional' areas like news gathering and presentation, the NTA must strive to regain top spot. We must exert our creativity, independence and resources to gain traction over rival outlets. We must become reputed as a neutral, truthful and professional media outlet at the fore of the quest to bring integrity into today's world of 'alternative facts' and 'fake news'.''
Responding on behalf of the board, the Chairman, Chief Onabule, thanked President Buhari for finding them worthy of the appointment and pledged to partner with the Minister to reposition NTA for effective service delivery,
Other members of the board are: Dr. Steve Egbo, Abdul Hamid Salisu Dembos, Mohammed Labo, Fatima Bada, Stephen Okpanachi and Wole Coker.