How NTA brought back Hauwa, Ruth, Funmi to screen

In cel­e­brat­ing its 40 years an­niver­sary, the Nigeria Tele­vi­sion Author­ity (NTA) is bring­ing back for­mer staff and pro­grammes as part of the fan­fare.

Sunday Trust - - MEDIA - By Lat­i­fat Opoola

The Nige­rian Tele­vi­sion Author­ity (NTA), as part of ac­tiv­i­ties mark­ing its 40th an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tion, is air­ing some old vintage pro­grammes that were pe­cu­liar to the sta­tion in the 1980s and 1990s.

Pro­grammes like “Cock­crow at Dawn”, “Vil­lage Head­mas­ter”, “Ma­gana Jari ce” and a host of oth­ers are back on screen with nos­tal­gia.

The sta­tion is also bring­ing veteran news­cast­ers who were house hold names and had at some point served at the sta­tion to read the daily news to com­mem­o­rate the event.

They in­clude the likes of Hauwa Baba Ahmed [now Hauwa Shuaibu Galma], Ruth Be­na­maisia-Opia, Funmi Odubekun, among oth­ers.

The Di­rec­tor-Gen­eral of the NTA, Yakubu Ibn Mo­hammed told Sun­day Trust on Sun­day re­cently that cel­e­brat­ing NTA’s 40 years will span for a pe­riod of time. He said the cel­e­bra­tion which started at the end of last year, is ex­pected to con­tinue till the end of March with more doc­u­men­taries and in­ter­views with past NTA staff, in­clud­ing the Se­nior Spe­cial as­sis­tant to the Pres­i­dent on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Garba Shehu, for­mer min­is­ter of the Fed­eral Cap­i­tal Ter­ri­tory (FCT), Aliyu Modibbo Umar and oth­ers.

While re­call­ing that be­fore NTA came into ex­is­tence in 1977, he said “we used to have Nige­rian Tele­vi­sion sta­tions all over the coun­try and the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment thought that it would be bet­ter to have all the sta­tions un­der one um­brella with a cen­tral author­ity. So that cen­tral author­ity was called NTA and it came into ex­is­tence in the year 1977. That was why the ac­tual cel­e­bra­tion started last year but you don’t cel­e­brate 40 years in one day or week so we de­cided to ex­pand the cel­e­bra­tions and that’s why even now we are still cel­e­brat­ing be­cause it is not easy to mark 40 years of ex­is­tence.”

He fur­ther ex­plained that be­cause NTA is all about tele­vi­sion, pro­gram­ming and news, the man­age­ment de­cided that the cel­e­bra­tions would de­part from the usual way of mark­ing an­niver­saries and let peo­ple know that the or­ga­ni­za­tion is 40 years old from what they see on their screens.

The di­rec­tor-gen­eral also as­sured that doc­u­men­taries and in­ter­views of past staff would be aired and show view­ers how far NTA has gone and what NTA has done in the lives of some prom­i­nent Nige­ri­ans.

“That is why we have brought back old mem­o­ries, peo­ple who have passed through NTA and we have brought back some old vintage pro­grammes. We have also brought back peo­ple who have passed through NTA at one point in their lives. For ex­am­ple, the Chief of Air Staff was once a staff of the NTA, the for­mer Min­is­ter of the FCT, Aliyu Modibbo Umar, Se­nior Spe­cial As­sis­tant to the Pres­i­dent on Me­dia and Pub­lic­ity, Garba Shehu, Corps Mar­shal, Fed­eral Road Safety Com­mis­sion (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi, Nige­rian Am­bas­sador to Liberia, Mr James Dimka was at NTA Col­lege, Jos. So, we con­sider all these very im­por­tant peo­ple as NTA ambassadors.

Ac­cord­ing to him, the cel­e­bra­tion will be rounded off with a col­lo­quium af­ter the end of this month but be­fore then they would air in­ter­views of veteran jour­nal­ists. “We have also brought back some on air per­son­al­i­ties who made NTA tick in those days, some for­mer peo­ple who were news­cast­ers in the 80s and 90s and back through NTA In­ter­na­tional. “We hosted chil­dren of IDPs, we brought them to NTA, had a big party for them, we also made do­na­tions to IDP camps,” he said.

The Ex­ec­u­tive-Di­rec­tor, Pro­grammes, Wole Coker, said the rea­son why NTA stepped down the fan­fare was be­cause the sta­tion wanted to show its strength and his­tory to the gen­er­a­tion be­low 35 years and to re­mind them that at one point in time NTA was the sta­tion to go to in homes.

“NTA is a vis­ual medium and we be­lieve that if you are cel­e­brat­ing 40 years we should be able to show our strength and our his­tory, a lot of peo­ple to­day don’t know where we are com­ing from, es­pe­cially those be­low the age 35, so we want to re­mind them that once upon a time it was only NTA and be­cause of that peo­ple run home to watch our in­dige­nous pro­grammes,” he said.

He added that “…We are bring­ing the cast­ers just to tell peo­ple that these are the peo­ple that made NTA what it was in the old days. Peo­ple used to run home to watch the 9’0 clock news and we are bring­ing those olden news­cast­ers of yester years.”

Di­rec­tor Gen­eral NTA, Yakubu Ibn Mo­hammed

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