REMARKS BY HIS EXCELLENCY, THE EXECUTIVE GOVERNOR OF KANO STATE, DR. ABDULLAHI UMAR GANDUJE, OFR AT THE LAUNCH OF THE DIGITAL SWITCH-OVER IN KANO, HELD AT THE CORONATION HALL, GOVERNMENT HOUSE, KANO ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2021
It is indeed a milestone in this journey towards the digitization of television in Nigeria that we are gathered here today for this occasion of the Digital Switch Over (DSO) from the terrestrial television platform in Kano, which basically means the switch-on of digital television in our dear state.
Let me commend all those who have worked tirelessly to make this launch a success: The Ministerial Task Force on the DSO, the regulators, Signal Distributors and all stakeholders who have demonstrated total commitment in the DSO programme and for making today’s event a reality.
The movement from analogue set up that we currently have to digital is apt and it speaks to reality of what we have today. Everywhere in the world, technology is now a fundamental and critical deliverable of government. It presents an opportunity for citizens to have access to local, national and international space.
The DSO project is also of great importance to the development programmes of this country which also fits into the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari administration for its policy on digital economy in view of its potential to create jobs, bring governance closer to the people through better access to information, opportunity for government to use the content to inform and engage the citizens as well as bring governance closer to the people.
The switch-on of Kano is exceptional because it marks the launch of the project in North’s commercial city and second largest and booming creative hub, most populous state with over two million TV house-holds (TVHH) out of the estimated 40 million TVHH in country.
This project is therefore important in harnessing the entertainment and creative talents that abound in our rich culture to be presented to the world through films and documentaries in the famous Kannywood movie industry, the equivalent of the Nollywood in the South, which has come of age and is impacting positively on the Hausa speaking states in Northern Nigeria and those diaspora across the globe.
The DSO project would also be a great platform for the entertainment industry to key into by using technology to enhance their services not only for high fidelity sound and picture, but also create more jobs for our teeming youth and stimulating local content.
We in Kano have always been supportive of the project which informed our huge investment in the broadcast media to ensuring that it plays its vital role as medium of mass communication. While revolutionizing television viewing for the TV households in the state, the state television, Abubakar Rimi Television (ARTV) is modestly digitized is set to actualize the successful switch over. We have also empowered the state Censorship Board through the establishment of an Information and Communication Technology (ICT) in conformity with the digital world for efficient service delivery.
Our radio station, Radio Kano has also been supplied with the cutting-edge technology in the studios and transmission to facilitate timely packaging, dissemination of public information and news in line with the current global trend.
Ladies and Gentlemen, today’s launch of the DSO in Kano has set the stage for switch off of analogue television come December, this year. This implies that after the analogue switch off, every household must have a Digital Set Top Box (STB) to continue to receive TV signal at home.
In accordance with the set timeline, we are optimistic and determined to succeed despite the huge logistic and financial challenge, especially against the background of the current economic climate in the country, that by December, Nigeria will complete the switch-off of analogue broadcasting on the terrestrial television platform.
To facilitate access to signal for all, Kano state government is partnering with one of the licensed manufacturer of the digital set box in Nigeria in support of indigent and poor households in all the 44 local government areas in the state for the provision of 100, 000 units of subsidized FREETV/STB, beginning with 10, 000 units for the first phase of the supply.
Accordingly, 700 units of the STB will be supplied to the 114 Ministries Departments and Agencies, 70 to the 15 tertiary institutions, 1,460 units for Senior Secondary Schools, Offices of public servants that included Special Advisers, Senior Special Assistants and Special Assistants, while the state government would continue to mobilise for the supply and acquiring of the STB in the state.
Also, we have also directed the supply of 44, 000 STBs to the 44 local governments in the state at the rate of 100 per local government, where the following will be beneficiaries: Primary Health Care Centres, Community Viewing Centres, Government Education Authorities, Primary and Basic Schools, as well as Local Government Councils.
We have also in collaboration withe National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) trained over 100 technicians, installers and entrepreneurs, two each from the 44 local government and 20 from the state govermment, while also been engaged in sensitizing the citizens to fully understand what the DSO is all about.
The FREETV platform can be used to broadcast information on Kano state activities to all viewers and also help advertisers in to target which programmes and channels are being watched by the audience.
Let me assure the good people of Kano state that you will reap the benefits of the digital television. You should therefore grab the opportunity to enjoy the digital television that offers about 60 channels almost for free. Once a TV household acquires the Set-Top-Box and pays the once-a-year access fee, which is just a token, it’s free viewing all the way.
The government of Kano state would engage critical stakeholders in the content production that will help to bolster our economy by making sure that the content on 24-hour television would be local. These will contain an assembly of TV shows, documentaries, music videos, drama series, talent and reality shows, sports, etc.
Therefore, when local contents suit the needs of Nigerians, it will endear TV stations the viewers and subsequently increased patronage for advertorials as well as makes sector becomes a profitable industry for our creative talent, entrepreneurs, advertising agencies, TV channels and digital distributors.
I would therefore like to charge relevant stakeholders in content development for broadcast stations to be innovative by making sure that the content serve the people better; people who generally are glued onto internet or smart phones doing all sorts of interaction.
I belief that we have to face squarely the challenges being posed traditional media by the social media in terms of content and simplified mode of operation in a competing space for information dissemination.
The federal government should also be proactive in easing the ways toward digital content development in order to properly position the industry, because of the inherent opportunities that this will unleash in the news, entertainment and creative industries and the vibrancy that it will usher into the sector.
Thank you for your attention.