SATIRE: "Is There Anything Nigerians Don't Cry About?" - NBC DG
Our dear National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) recently published a document in the media titled ‘Amendments to the 6th Edition of the NBC Code’.
As is the norm with our government, NBC compiled this document without prior stakeholder consultation.
And in case you’ve been too busy with Kanayo O. Kanayo and his ‘Don’t leave me’ videos, the Code basically prohibits licensees from entering into exclusive agreements while compelling licensees to offer sports and news programmes and/or channels to other broadcasters for retail to residential subscribers. The Code also warns that NBC would henceforth regulate the prices at which content is sub-licensed.
Under the new code, exclusivity is illegal. Most content creators fear that this will simply mark the ceremonial nailing the coffin of creativity and the business that follows it.
But not one to agitate when the crowd is doing so, I picked up my phone to call Professor Armstrong Idachaba, the Acting Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission to ask him why the NBC has decided to cause the current upheaval.
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Below is our conversation.
ME: Good morning Prof.
PROF: Good morning. Do I know you?
ME: No sir. I’m just a concerned Nigerian.
PROF: Ah, that’s good. It is people like you I like talking to. Someone who is concerned about his country. Just like the President.
ME: The President is concerned? Mad o!
PROF: Yes, he is. He is so much concerned about the country.
ME: [laughs] Concerned about Nigeria sir? I doubt it. If Buhari is concerned, it has to be because of something else. Are you sure his cows are complete?
PROF: I see you’re just another Nigerian youth who doesn’t know how to talk. We are working to get you people.
ME: The government is flooding the streets with SARS again?
PROF: No, the NBC is working on appropriate codes to combat you people.
ME: Codes left, right, centre, láì ṣe hacker.
PROF: You said?
ME: Nothing sir. But talking about codes almost every creative in Nigeria is not happy about your proposed 6th Edition Amendments.
PROF: Is there anything Nigerians are ever happy about?
ME: I think they are right to be aggrieved with this one. You should have at least consulted them first.
PROF: Young man, you cannot tell me how to run the NBC.
ME: But you are telling broadcasters what to do with their content.
PROF: This is different.
ME: How sir?
PROF: Go and read the code and stop asking me foolish questions..
ME: But I have read it sir and that’s exactly what you are doing.
PROF: Maybe it’s because we’re the government and it is our job to do so?
ME: I disagree sir. Or isn’t the job of the government to make life at least bearable for its people even if it cannot significantly improve it?
PROF: And that's what we're doing.
ME: Again I say no, sir. What you:ll be doing with this code is to discourage broadcasters from paying top money for content when they know that they can somehow be compelled to sell such content to their competition, and for peanuts because NBC says so.
PROF: You are missing the point. It is not healthy for some people to hold monopoly over content.
ME: Every man and their puppy knows this is simply a move to help change the diapers of NTA that had been constantly soiling itself in the Nigerian content space.
PROF: NTA isn't into soil. It's NISER that does that. NTA is the largest TV network in Africa.
.ME: Just as Nigeria is the giant of Africa sir?
PROF: Exactly. A lot of countries look up to us as the big brother of AFRICA. [laughs out loud] You saw what I did there right?
ME: The irony sir?
PROF: 'A lot of countries look up to us as the big brother of Africa'... 'big brother of Africa'.. 'big brother Africa'….
[someone shouts from Prof's end of the call ] Don't leave meeee!
PROF: I'm disappointed you didn't see that.
ME: [sarcastically] Very funny sir.
PROF: Of course.
ME: Just like this code.
PROF: What is the meaning of that, young man? Stop being sarcastic with me. I am not your mate!
ME: NTA is not iROKOtv's mate sir. But I know which of the platforms I'd rather watch.
PROF: I thought you were a sensible Nigerian. I have just wasted my time talking to you.
[calls ends abruptly]
If you think this conversation occurred anywhere other than in my head, NTA is buying Netflix next week. They will pay in installments over the next 125 years and Barack Obama will be made its new DG.