Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has called on Nigerian leaders to build people capable of excelling beyond their achievements if the country will join comity of developed nations.
He made the call during the grand finale of the 60th year celebration of television in Africa, organised by former staff of Western Nigeria Television (WNTV) under the aegis of Foundation for Ibadan Television Anniversary Celebrations, at the International Conference Centre, University of Ibadan, yesterday.
The WNTV started operations as the first television station in Africa on October 31, 1959 after its inauguration by the late premier of the defunct Western Region, Obafemi Awolowo. He was supported by two other visionaries, who were former minister of Information for Western Region, Anthony Enahoro, and first chairman of the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Corporation, Tanimonwo Solaru.
The WNTV, however, ceased to be in existence in 1977 when the Federal Government took over the station and renamed it Nigerian Television Authority (NTA).
Osinbajo, who chaired the occasion, noted that every generation has a historic responsibility to reach for the highest peak that human capacity could achieve, saying: “Awolowo flanked by the then governor general, John Ranking; Enahoro, and Solaru, formally entered the history books by commissioning the WNTV, first in Nigeria, and this was ahead of China and several other countries.
“The event was historic for three reasons. First, it demonstrated the capacity of the Nigerian mind to conceive of and achieve anything no matter how complex or difficult. Second, it demonstrates how visionary leadership can inspire and lift people from the lowest level to the highest point of human imagination. Third, it exemplifies the use of public resources for the public good.
“Today, as we celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of WNTV, we also celebrate what is possible in our nation and in our states. We celebrate also what vision, hard work and a commitment to public good can do.
“The celebration of the phenomenal achievement in 1959 will be wasted unless we recognise that the achievements represent steady shoulders for us to stand on and that today we can do more and that the vision of Awolowo was to build a people capable of excelling beyond even his own achievements.
“Today, we are at the most advanced moment in science and technology and innovation in human history. The mobile phones have more computed power than all of the computing power that the Apollo space ship that took men to the moon had in 1969. So, all things are possible and we are able. Let us be inspired by Papa’s words that our only limit is our imagination.”
Osinbajo noted that WNTV was built to inform, educate and entertain and as “Obafemi Awolowo said on that day, 60 years ago, television is a powerful influence for good.
Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, who was represented by the Director General, Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Yakubu Mohamed, tasked practitioners of the television industry on sound professionalism, enjoining “all the practitioners of the television industry to do a critical review of the motivation of the founding fathers in establishing the audio-visual platform.