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DSO Nigeria Jinxed Again!

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By Tolagbe Oworu

As the chequered history of the Digital Switch Over(DSO)  from analogue broadcasts in Nigeria encounters yet another setback, it is disheartening but inevitable to conclude that it has truly succumbed to the notorious jinx termed “Nigerian Factor”.

The momentum of progress in taking the latest international broadcasting system across the nation came to an abrupt unexplained halt since February 2018 when Osun State became the fifth and last Nigerian state to launch in a ceremony presided by  the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.

Before then in December 2016, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo conducted the DSO national launch on behalf of President Muhamadu Buhari  at the state-of-the-art Signal Distribution Broadcast Centre established on Mpape Hill, Abuja in record-breaking time(according to NBC DG Modibbo Kawu) by Pinnacle Communications Limited the FCT, which was also  responsible for the Kaduna Broadcasting Centre commissioned in December 2017. The Ilorin, Enugu and Osogbo DSO centers were set up by Integrated Television Services (ITS), the NTA subsidiary national signals distributor.

The abrupt halt in DSO launch since last February is contrary to the confident assurance given by Information Minister Lai Mohammed  at the Ilorin launch two months earlier, when he declared         “ we cannot afford to drop the ball as we continue our journey from analogue to digital television, because the benefits to our people are huge. Yes, this process has not been without hiccups. But like the saying goes, you will never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks”.

Minister Lai Mohammed has remained curiously quiet since the “DSO ball” got dropped now more than a year later but his words have been echoing especially in the last few months when some equally curious developments replaced the expected launchings on the DSO front. It is remarkable that the events resulting in yet another “hiccup” in the DSO process can indeed be likened to the barking of dogs and the throwing of stones as alluded to by the minister, and it does look like we “will never reach (our) DSO destination”.

This is of course a reference to the controversial ICPC “investigation” into alleged “misapplication of N2.5 billion seed grant released to the agency (NBC) by the federal government for its digital switch-over programme”, as revealed in its November 2018 press statement which drew public criticism for certain factual errors in reference to the DSO project. The ICPC statement was comparable to the barking of the watch-dog and its contents were similar to stones thrown at the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), Pinnacle Communications Limited and their respective executives, all of which have now snow-balled into charges against them before a Federal High Court in Abuja.

While DSO enthusiasts in Nigeria and indeed the world await the outcome of the court process, we must reflect on Minister Lai Mohammed’s quoted remark that the DSO in Nigeria         “ has not been without hiccups”  even as  we witness yet another hiccup this time, unfortunately, under his watch!

It must be distressing for Lai Mohammed who once made huge capital of his supposed role in salvaging the DSO and getting it back on track soon after he became information minister and continued to bask in the glory of a successful national launch and progressive expansion of coverage after a jinxed history of two embarrassing missed deadlines and a protracted court case instituted   by Pinnacle Communications Limited against breach of its N680 million private signal distributor license agreement under the previous administration and NBC management.

Interestingly, Pinnacle Communications Limited, the largest private investor and main facilitator of the eventual reclamation of the Nigerian DSO from its jinxed history gets submerged under the fanfare of progress in DSO implementation, even to the extent of becoming a “victim” of its own achievement.

Soon after emerging successful bidder and paying the huge amount of N680 million for the private signal distribution license in 2014, the NBC and its collaborators in the Presidency began surreptitiously slicing off portions of its functions and “sub-letting” them to companies that were not even part of the difficult bidding process as favours. Only by seeking the intervention of the court was it able to put a stop to such brazen breach of license agreement! Today, Pinnacle Communications Limited is facing ICPC charges even as its voluntary withdrawal of a breach of agreement suit in 2016 and subsequent significant facilitation enabled successful national launch of the DSO and the Kaduna Broadcast Centre.

From all indications, the jinxed history of DSO implementation in Nigeria is repeating itself as it is unlikely that the progressive momentum that saw to the rapid roll-out of the DSO from the FCT to Kaduna, Ilorin, Enugu and Osogbo between December 2016 and February 2018 but fizzled out unceremoniously for more than a year thus far can be revived in the foreseeable future, under the prevailing circumstances.

Nevertheless, Information Minister, Lai Mohammed remains curiously above and beyond the DSO jinx that he was able to cast away barely two years ago but has somehow returned as a “hiccup” under his watch. Obviously, the minister knew of no “barking dogs” when, at the Osogbo launch, he trumpeted “ within the next few weeks, we will be rolling out in many more states as we seek to take the digital television experience to all the six geo-political zones. We now have our two Signal Distributors in full operation mode, the National Broadcasting Commission, the Set Top Box manufacturers, Digiteam Nigeria and indeed all stakeholders are pulling all the stops to ensure that the DSO train continues unimpeded on its journey across the country.”

So now that the DSO train has been halted for more than a year with Minister Lai Mohammed as a silenced spectator, where has all the collaborative confidence canvassing gone? And who is really responsible for the return of the DSO jinx?

TOLAGBE OWORU  writes from Osogbo

 

 

 

 

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world. So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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MTV Shuga is Back in Nigeria

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The award-winning drama series returns to Nigeria and seeks fresh talent for the new season.

 

Following the recent premiere of the new season of MTV Shuga Down South in South Africa and the announcement of upcoming campaigns in Cote D’Ivoire and India, MTV Shuga continues to champion conversations about real issues affecting young people using relatable characters and stories that revolve around contraception, sexual health, family planning, gender-based violence and other social issues.

 

MTV Shuga Naija, is a multi-sectorial partnership led by the MTV Staying Alive Foundation and is supported by MTV Base Africa, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and NGOs.

 

This year’s MTV Shuga Naija TV and radio campaign welcomes award-winning director Tope Oshin as producer.

 

Known for setting the pace for female directors in the Nigerian movie industry, she has earned accolades for her amazing portfolio, featuring movies including, ‘Relentless’, ‘Fifty’, ‘Wedding Party 2’, ‘New Money’, ‘We Don’t Live Here’, and most recently, ‘Up North’.

 

The campaign kicks off with open auditions, which will be held on Thursday, April 4th at the Classique Event Centre, Ikeja Lagos.

 

MTV Shuga has been at the forefront of attracting and developing new acting talent including: Timini Egbuson, Emmanuel Ikubese, Bukola Oladipupo, Helena Nelson and Jemima Osunde; last season’s open auditions attracted over 1700 hopefuls.

 

MTV Shuga Naija would-be actors will be judged by a diverse range of industry experts and selected based on their acting skills and originality.

 

Full information can be found at www.mtvshuga.com/naija This year, applicants are encouraged to pre-register via the MTV Shuga website clicking on the Eventbrite link in the Open Auditions page: http://bit.ly/MTVShugaNaijaAuditions.

 

Registration prior to the auditions gives you fast-tracked access upon arrival at the venue on audition day.

 

Budding actors are encouraged to engage with MTV Shuga Naija via our social platforms @mtvshuganaija on Facebook and Twitter and @mtvshuganaija_ on Instagram using the hashtag #MTVShugaNaijaAuditions

 

Auditions are open to Nigerian residents aged 18+ and will run from 7am – 3pm. Participants will be required to provide one head shot photograph (minimum size 4×6 inches) and a form of photo identification, such as a passport, driver’s license, national ID card or student ID card.

 

Speaking on the auditions for the upcoming series, the Executive Director of the MTV Staying Alive Foundation, Georgia Arnold, said, “We are excited to bring back the public auditions for the new season of MTV Shuga Naija.

 

“Our aim is to continue using relatable storytelling to educate and empower young people about social issues like contraception, sexual health, family planning and gender-based violence.

 

“We can’t wait to discover amazing new talent to join the MTV Shuga family!”

 

MTV Shuga remains the gold-standard model for use of mass-media as a vehicle to positively change the behavior of young people.

 

MTV Shuga educates at-risk youth on sexual health and HIV/AIDS awareness, and also ensures that this education is followed through via on-the-ground testing and direction to health services, with proven impact of demand-creation among our audience.

 

Alex Okosi Executive Vice President and Managing Director, Viacom International Media Networks and BET International, said“MTV Shuga provides an important narrative for our African youth with socially relevant content that resonates globally.

 

“This call for auditions is a platform for young talent on the continent to open up the industry with diverse storytelling.”

 

A World Bank evaluation in Nigeria of MTV Shuga highlighted its influence on the sexual and reproductive health decisions of youths via contraceptive use via testing and contraceptive use, showing a 58% reduction in chlamydia among females who had watched MTV Shuga.

 

The new season of MTV Shuga Naija is due to hit screens in September 2019!

 

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Art Meets Music, As Tiger Beer Delights Consumers At AAF’s Maker Lab Exhibition

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World acclaimed lager, Tiger Beer hosted the 2019 edition of African Artists Foundation (AAF) Maker Lab Exhibition in Lagos.

 

The event which held on the 16th of March 2019 at the AAF, Lagos saw Tiger uncage expressions of arts, music and fashion.

 

Borne out of a growing desire to provide a platform where alternative and creative artists can showcase their talents, network and celebrate the dynamism of the African sound, the Maker Lab exhibition is a signature event that has been pivotal in kick starting and supporting the careers of several young artists since its inception.

 

Themed “Yanga”, the exhibition celebrates and promotes young talented visual artists, by allowing them display their craft, interact with other talents and build a fanbase for their art.

Acting as a career springboard for emerging artists, the Maker Lab exhibition on Saturday showcased exhibitors like visual artist Ruby Okoro, documentary photographer, Neec Nonso, emerging singer and music producer, Yinka Bernie, and hyper-realistic painter, Amobi Abeeb Akin.

 

Ruby Okoro who is a visual artist born in Nigeria expresses his emotions and the subconscious through conceptual and vibrant photography which is intrinsic to his practice.

 

He often shoots on the move, taking portraits in transit while documenting projections. Ruby firmly believes in minimalism and portrays this conviction in his work.

 

Documentary photographer, Neec Nonso captures everyday life and its nuances. Working predominantly in digital format, he travels extensively around Nigeria to capture the country’s beauty and diversity, in a bid to challenge stereotypical narratives about Nigeria and the continent at large.

 

Yinka Bernie, who is an emerging singer and music producer, explores sound as a tool of social engagement using a sound cocoon, while Amobi Abeeb Akin who is a hyper-realistic painter created a wall installation, using white chalk on a black wall.

Speaking on the success of the event, Chinwe Greg-Egu, Brand Manager, International brands, Nigerian Breweries Plc, said, “We are truly excited to sponsor  this year’s Maker Lab exhibition, themed “Yanga”.

 

“It’s a great time in the art industry as creatives are steady challenging societal norms, transforming fashion and truly being appreciated on a large scale.

 

“As a brand, we remain steadfast in our commitment to provide a creative center where variants of art can truly be expressed, provide professional and non-professional artists and youths a place to celebrate their own talent and artistry”

 

Tiger Beer was launched in Nigeria back in April 2018 and has already made giant strides in the Nigerian beer market. Its unveiling was part of a captivating initiative which saw Nigerian celebrities face and conquer their fears, as the brand sought to communicate its unique brand messaging “Uncage”.

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Heineken Launches Limited Edition Bottles

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International premium lager beer, Heineken will be launching UEFA Champions League limited edition bottles to further celebrate the 2018/2019 season.

 

The new bottles will highlight the brand’s partnership with UEFA as the participation in the competition, as it takes place every week.

 

This football inspired special edition bottles carry the bold red star crest while mirroring the UEFA Champions League Trophy, representing club football’s most illustrious accolade, with a green backdrop which represents Heineken and the UEFA Champions League.

 

Commenting on the special edition Heineken bottle design, Emmanuel Oriakhi, Marketing Director, Nigerian Breweries Plc, said, “Heineken has been a big part of football for the last 25 years, particularly by sponsoring the UEFA Champions League.

 

“During this time, we have been giving our fans the opportunity to connect with club football’s biggest competition, while also rewarding their passion by taking some lucky few to Europe in the past.

 

“The launch of the special edition bottles is just another way of delivering on the brand promise.”

 

Heineken, has been a long-standing sponsor of the UEFA Champions League since 1994.

 

This illustrious collaboration with club football’s biggest and most watched competition has seen Heineken become one of the most recognizable brands in the world of football.

 

Over the Last 25 years, we’ve seen the brand share the passion of the beautiful game while bringing all the most remarkable and Unmissable Moments from the competition to fans around the world.

 

Through the course of the UEFA Champions League season, Heineken has continued its remarkable tradition of celebrating the beautiful game with fans, bringing all the action from Europe to Nigerians more than 5,000 miles away with its premium viewing experiences.

 

The brand has also begun rewarding lucky football fans and brand loyalists with the opportunity to see live matches from the semifinals and finals of the competition in Europe.

 

The core focus for Heineken is to bring unique experiences to fans of UEFA Champions League in Nigeria.

 

As the most prestigious platform for European football stars, this premier-sporting event has become global and fits perfectly with the Heineken brand.

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