Even though I won’t recommend that you should be watching Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) all the time, if you compare the station’s coverage of activities of various political parties with that of the Broadcasting Corporation of Oyo State (BCOS), you would agree with me that NTA is doing a better job.
Yesterday, the most popular person in Ibadan was the former governor of the state, Adebayo Alao-Akala who formerly declared his intention to contest for next year’s gubernatorial elections under the People Democratic Party (PDP). Even though the very big event was held just few meters away from BCOS station near former NITEL Zonal Office along Old-Ife road, the station didn’t talk about the event during its newscast.
BCOS has always been a tool in the hands of the incumbent governor of the state since time immemorial so you may wonder why I’m angry but the incumbent governor of the state, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, in a live telecast said the administration will allow other political parties to use the station. So I was expecting something different this time only to realise at the end of the 8:30pm news broadcast that the government either failed to direct the station to be covering other parties’ programmes, or the management of the station were too timid and afraid of what could happen if His Excellency hears they aired Akala’s declaration.
Incidences like this make me become pessimistic about things getting better in the state anytime soon. I still remember vividly the days when Don T was still at BCOS and many journalists got the beating of their lives after talking about an election that some politicians in the state didn’t want anyone to know about.
During the news telecast, BCOS talked about the state government’s interest-free loan scheme for small and medium scale businesses in the state, it talked about the regional meeting of the APC, Ajimobi’s appearance at Oba of Benin’s event and the remembrance prayer for Ladoja’s late mother. Nothing was said about Akala’s big event.
I asked people in my house why this was so and they said they weren’t surprised. According to them, the station didn’t air Senator Adeseun’s declaration for the PDP which means it is technically shutting out opposition parties while it follows the governor everywhere including places that are not newsworthy.
I’m hoping we will be able to encourage those in charge of the station to make meaningful changes and flung its doors open to other political parties. It is not your responsibility to screen the contests, it is your job to ensure fairness, transparency and openness.
If the governor is not allowing you to do that, discretely inform necessary authorities. This is 2014, there are other sources of getting information. People won’t view your station if you continue to be bias.