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Preparations underway to celebrate 60 years of TV in Africa

The Zonal Director of NTA, Ibadan Zonal Network Centre, Engineer (Mrs.) Omolara Oloyede; a former General Manager of WNTV and former Ambassador of Nigeria to the Philippines, Dr. Yemi Farounbi; a former Manager of News and Current Affairs, NTV, Ibadan, Pastor Biodun Aladekomo; Agba Akin Olubadan of Ibadan land, Oloye ‘Lekan Alabi, and a former reporter/presenter/producer at the News and Current Affairs Department of NTV, Ibadan, receiving the NTA Ibadan mementos presented to the visiting alumni by NTA Ibadan Zonal Network Centre management

Come October 31 this year, television broadcast in Africa will be 60 years old, following the official commissioning of the Western Nigeria Television (WNTV), Ibadan, on October 31, 1959 by the then Premier of Western Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

WNTV, like other regional government-owned radio and television stations, was taken over in 1976 by the former Federal Military Government of late General Murtala Ramat Mohammed.

In order to put the evolution of television broadcast in Nigeria, nay Africa, in proper perspective and celebrate the historic takeoff in Ibadan, Oyo State, known as the “1st TV in Africa Alumni Association” has begun planning for a successful celebration of the 60th Anniversary of Television in Africa later this year.

Just last week, some members of “1st TV in Africa Alumni Association” paid a courtesy/public awareness visit to the Television House, Agodi, Ibadan, where history was made 60 years ago. Today, the former WNTV Ibadan is now called Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) Ibadan Zonal Network Centre, Television House, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria. Other members of the 1st TV Alumni Association on the visit were Princess Sade Bankole, Mr. Tunji Adepoju and Mr. Ayo Babajide.

When The Guardian reached out to one of the conveners, Oloye ‘Lekan Alabi on the early preparations, he said though October is still months away early planning is key to success of the event.

While emphasising the need for the celebration, Alabi said, “Sometimes last year, NTA said we were celebrating 40 years of television broadcasting in Nigeria which was wrong. This prompted those of us who know history to asked this question: is it the yolk that comes before the egg, or is it the chicken that comes before the egg? And we think history must be put in the right perspective. We pondered that if the country’s national television could fail to get the anniversary year right, this event becomes necessary for the general good of our nation.”

Television broadcasting started in Africa on October 31, 1959 in Ibadan. The event also aims to give credit the visionary leaders who started television 60 years ago.

According to him, “When we started television in Ibadan, South Africa did not have neither did France. It is the same thing we are preaching to our leaders to be proactive, to think, create and execute positive ideas. The event will also see the publication of Our Reminisces presented to the public. We will also hold a colloquium, to have people from across Africa to talk about the ideal television industry. Their presentations would later be published into academic books.

“Our intention is to bring our president, governors of states in the former Western Region which comprised eight states to the gala night, where those who have contributed to the growth of television industry in Nigeria would be put in the Hall of Fame.”

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