NBC Stops Buhari Jingles in Kaduna

Kano: A month after the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) barred Kano-based Freedom Radio from airing General Muhammadu Buhari’s political campaign jingles sponsored by Buhari Network for Change (BNC), the broadcasting regulatory body at the weekend also swooped on a Kaduna-based Nagarta Radio, stopping the private radio station from carrying the same jingles earlier being aired on Freedom Radio.

Consequently, Buhari Network for Change, sponsors of the jingles, who announced the latest action against it by NBC at a press conference in Kano yesterday, has now given the commission two weeks to explain the reasons behind the ‘punitive action’, failure of which it will be left with no option other than to seek appropriate legal redress.

Freedom Radio, a private radio outfit, was on May 16 barred by the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) from airing Buhari’s political jingles, which were described by the commission as capable of inciting the public against the government of the day.

After the NBC’s action, the political organisation founded in Kano to sensitise the general public on the need to elect credible and honest leaders for the country now moved to Nagarta Radio in Kaduna, also a private radio to try their luck.

The radio station accepted to air the commercial jingles, which used to come between 8:55am and 8pm after the usual Tafsir of late Sheik Abubakar Gumi and national news respectively, and the political programme had been on for the past two weeks until last Saturday when the management of the outfit communicated the stoppage of the jingles to its sponsors.

Nagarta Radio in its response to Daily Trust enquiries over the development confirmed the stoppage of the programme. An official in the radio station who craved for anonymity said the station’s continuity announcer was only directed by the Managing Director of the broadcasting outfit not to air the jingles again until after a management meeting today.

Chairman Information Committee of the Buhari Network for Change (BNC) Mustapha Ya’u told a press conference at the BNC’s headquarters on Maiduguri Road Kano that the organisation and its members were surprised over the development since the ‘contents of the jingles were harmless.’

He said the purpose of democracy was defeated if the people would not be allowed to express their feelings, saying the jingle was only reminding Nigerians on need to rise up to the challenges confronting the nation.

The organisation, according to him, was formed to further bring political awareness to the people by way of advertising them on the need to elect good leaders.

“Tell me, who between looters of public treasury and those who raise alarm over the unpatriotic practice, is more inclined to causing trouble or inciting the public against government?” he asked.

“So we are giving NBC two weeks within which to explain to us the reasons behind the political persecution, failure of which we will take a legal action. We will ask our legal advisers to formally write to the commission to tell us what we have done to the nation to warrant such treatment,” he said.

He criticised the Nigerian government for its insensitivity to the masses, saying the near absence of electricity had made many industries to fold up in the country. He regretted that 80 percent of Nigerians live on less than one dollar per day despite a huge wealth it has, saying in a war-torn country like Palestine, a majority of the people live on four dollars a day.

According to him, the action taken by NBC against his organisation will not in any way affect the popularity of General Muhammadu Buhari but will rather make him more popular among Nigerian masses.

“In fact since the time it was first announced in papers that our jingles have been stopped by NBC, we started to get more and more people coming to our office to register their support for Buhari. You see, just today (yesterday) we received some people from Katsina who come to sympathise with us over the development,” he said.

Contacted, Head Corporate Affairs of the National Broadcasting Commission Auwal Salihu said NBC stopped the jingles because they breached the Nigeria Broadcasting code.

“I don’t know why the Buhari people want to make a mountain out of a molehill. NBC did not make the laws, and so why do this people always want to publicise themselves?” he asked.

Salihu also said the NBC’s quarrel with the Buhari group, was that the contents of the jingles are inimical to the peace of the country, which is also contrary to the Nigeria Broadcasting code.

He said the jingles were a contravention of 2006 Electoral Laws which stipulate that political campaign could only commence 45 days to the election proper, saying in the case of the Buhari jingles it was a direct political campaign for Buhari, which in actual fact, he said, is not yet time for it.

He said NBC did not write to BNC because the commission as public organisation does not have any business with The Buhari Organisation.. “But if they so write to us formally, then we can reply them accordingly,” he said.

By Auwalu Umar – DAILY TRUST