SPEECH BY THE HONOURABLE MINISTER OF INFORMATION AND NATIONAL ORIENTATION, MOHAMMED IDRIS AT THE OPENING CEREMONY OF THE NTA MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE AND RETREAT AT THE NIGERIAN ARMY RESOURCE CENTRE ON MONDAY 27TH NOVEMBER, 2023.
It is a great honor to be here today as the Minister of Information and National Orientation at this management retreat of the leadership of the nation’s premier broadcasting outfit – the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), to collectively navigate a most auspicious theme, aptly titled, Managing a Television Station in a Competitive Environment.
The role of the NTA in shaping public opinion, disseminating information, and fostering national unity cannot be overstretched. In an era where information has become ever more potent, your responsibility is profound, and the impact of your work is felt across the length and breadth of Nigeria and beyond. In this regard, I want to express my gratitude to every one of you for your unwavering dedication to the service of our great nation.
As we embark on this retreat, it is crucial to reflect on the dynamic landscape of the media industry. The advent of new technologies and changing viewer preferences pose challenges and opportunities. Our commitment to excellence and adaptability is paramount. The NTA must continue to evolve, embracing innovation while upholding the highest standards of journalistic integrity.
I would like each member of the NTA management team to actively engage in the talks and workshops planned for this retreat. This is an invaluable opportunity to share insights, explore innovative strategies, and collectively chart a course for the NTA’s future. Indeed, collaboration and synergy among departments are essential to enhancing our overall effectiveness.
This retreat is coming at a time when there is a growing number of options for the viewing public to source information from, more especially against the backdrop of the dominant role of social media and the preponderance of false and misleading information therein; therefore, the significance of an event of this nature cannot be overemphasized.
The challenge before you, although daunting, is not insurmountable. I challenge this gathering to come out with practical and innovative ways of reaching the populace with messages of hope in line with the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Bola Ahmed Tinubu administration. I am persuaded by the quality of the professionals in this auditorium that this task is achievable.
NTA’s slogan, “You can’t beat the reach” is incontestable but it must also strive to be unbeatable in terms of the quality of its signal and content.
Already, the signal upgrade of the Authority from standard definition to high definition is having an appreciable impact on the viewing experience of members of the public. This has to be replicated in all NTA Stations across the country to achieve the desired objective.
NTA must also strive to rediscover its golden era when its content, especially notable soap operas and drama series, not only defined the TV entertainment space in the country but was always a reason for viewers to rush back home in the evening. But this was before the onset of the frenzy 24 hours’ news circle.
While it is a fact that the broadcast industry is rapidly evolving with innovations being introduced almost daily, NTA, with its size, has been struggling to keep pace.
However, the recent procurement of industry-standard high-resolution Cameras and portable live-streaming TVU packs, among others, have significantly enhanced NTA’s ability to respond to breaking news even in very remote areas.
The government will support the NTA in its quest to upgrade its facilities to global industry standards to put it in a position to compete with the best in the world.
I also want to use this opportunity to restate federal government commitment to the Digital Switch Over (Project), as the Ministry of Information and National Orientation is working assiduously for a DSO blueprint that will not fail; that will roll-out across urban and rural Nigeria. The NTA, as a key stakeholder in the DSO project, is expected play a prominent role.
Furthermore, I encourage you to foster a culture of creativity and inclusivity; embrace the diversity of ideas within this organization, for it is through open dialogue and collaboration that we can overcome challenges and achieve our shared vision for the NTA.
Let me state here that our country is on the path of about the most ambitious socio-economic growth plans ever, with the emergence of His Excellency, President Bola Tinubu as the democratically elected leader of our country. The elections are over as well as the litigations, which went through the entire gamut of our legal system with President Tinubu emerging victorious. I congratulate Nigerians on this resounding victory.
As you are aware, the President ran his campaign during the electioneering on the Renewed Hope Agenda to ensure that our country returns to the path of economic recovery and sustainable development.
Therefore, it behooves the NTA to continue to enlighten Nigerians on the successes being recorded on all fronts in the implementation of the Renewed Hope Agenda, and to ensure that Nigerians understand and appreciate the policy direction of the Tinubu administration in your news and programming.
As the Minister of Information, I assure you of the government’s unwavering support in providing the necessary resources and policy frameworks to empower the NTA in fulfilling its mandate.
Your role in nation-building is pivotal, and we recognise and appreciate the dedication you bring to your work.
Nevertheless, it is important for NTA staff and management to understand that the impending reforms in government information agencies, and the challenges of competition, winning content, and the digital space, would require maximum commitment, particularly for those who want to remain relevant in the system; otherwise, non-productive personnel are advised to shape up or ship out.
In conclusion, let this retreat catalyze positive change and growth within the NTA. Your commitment to broadcasting excellence and public service is commendable, and I do not doubt that together, we can propel the NTA to even greater heights.
Once again, I commend this initiative and wish you all a productive, inspiring, and successful deliberation.
I now formally declare the 2023 NTA Management Conference and Retreat open.