By Abubakar Yusuf
The grand launch of the second phase of Digital Switch Over, DSO powered by the National Broadcasting Commission NBC, will come to life in Lagos on April 29, and is expected to move gradually to Kano and River State, Port Harcourt before the end of the year, as part of the strategic drive of the government agency, not only to move broadcasting industry into the digital world, but side by side the economy of Nigeria.
This is at the backdrop of the management of NBC’s efforts since 2016 that led to initial launch of the first phase in some major cities in Nigeria, that started from Jos the Plateau state capital, along with others.
But to keep abreast with the mandate of the International Telecomunication Union, ITU and in line with the earlier mandate of the digiteam set up in 2012, the need for a wholistic action became imperative.
Therefore, significantly, the recent moves by the NBC leadership to roll out in phases and gradually to the entire country between now and 2022 tentatively, could be likened to an adage that says ‘starting a project is not the ultimate, but the wisdom and temerity to finish an assignment is desiring’, a goal that is being achieved by the current management under the erudite scholar, communication expert and leadeship of Ag. Director General, National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Professor Armstrong Aduku Augustine Idachaba.
In its drive to actualise the global mandate of ITU, domesticated by the efforts of digiteam in Nigeria towards realising the Digital Switch On geared towards joining the global front, not only in the area of broadcast communications, but by implications other sectors of Nigeria as a continent.
Aside the restoration of global confidence on the management towards actualising its set goals, the vote of confidence both from the executive and legislative arm of government in Nigeria due largely to the transparent approach and fiscal discipline restored in the agency of government was an additional emboldment, towards driving the Digital Switch On to a logical conclusion.
This had resulted into the release of a whopping 9.4 Billon to offset the financial commitment of NBC to its contractors by government, and the pronouncements of the National Assembly on the self sustaining strides of the NBC, inspite of the global financial downturn.
The outcome of the new realistic time table was a well thought out efforts of the management of NBC, parent ministry, the technical partners and inter ministerial committees that swung into action to ensure the seamless connection of the country’s broadcast organisation into the world’s technological breakthroughs.
This positive development did not live out both the major and other stakeholders in the broadcast industry through awareness, seminars, symposiums, workshops and talkshops, as well as other outlets to keep abreast with the new approach towards realising the Digital Switch On in Nigeria.
This planned launch was in the pipeline not minding other unforseen circumstances that had occured, arising from the global recession both in first and second phase, the global health challenges of COVID-19 in first, second and its third wave, that resulted in the lockdown, and the crises of Endsars under the guise of seeking for good governance by Nigerian youths amidst protests.
To nip in the bud several unforseen circumstances that hovered Nigeria’s space, concerted decision was taken by the NBC to contain the multiple crises that arised both from the pandemic and civil unrest, with the commercial nerves of Nigeria like Lagos, Port-Harcourt and lately Kano negativety affected.
The administrative decision of the leadeship of NBC restored sanity,peace not only to these states,but the entire country as clampdown on broadcast medium and quack professionals whose intentions was to cash in on the global pandemic, through adverts and sales of fake and adulterated drugs, that could be used to treat the new global ailement.
The readiness of these commercial nerve states of Nigeria beginning from Lagos,the economic and industrial capital of Nigeria,to Kano,the commercial hub of Nigeria and River State, Port-Harcourt as one of the leading oil producing states to key into the Digital Switch On, is nothing but a growing concern that the new platform will affect positively the Nigeria economy.
This is also on the premise of creating a robust economy through immediate job opportunities not only to the technical and commercial team due for engagements, but as information remained a virile tool for economic advancement, since the Digital Switch On will attract multiple economic development and growth through its new technical know-how.
This is coming on the primacy of stabilising the broadcast stations and outlets that largely depended on the old analogue and obsolete system, that had retarded not only global competition, but local performances in all ramifications.
No doubt, Lagos State and by extension the millions of its citizens will take advantage of the launch of Digital Switch Over DSO, to improve on both economic, social and infrastructural development that will herald the launch of the second phase of the new broadcast technology on Thursday April 29.
This euphoria will be closely followed in the same trend in Kano with its chunk of populace and River State, Port Harcourt, that doubles as the depth of industrial, multi nationals and diverse economic interests.
For NBC current leadership, it is going to be mission accomplished, particularly coming at a time when Nigeria and other countries of the world, desire an unusual outlet like DSO, to improve on the economic, infrastructural and social upliftment, as well as gainful employment outlets for its teeming citizens.
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