*Also commissions Liberty TV, Radio in Abuja
Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, has extolled the visionary leadership of the Premier of the defunct Western Region of Nigeria, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, challenging Nigerians to build on the foundations he and other nationalists laid.
According to the Vice President, “All things are possible and we are able. Let us be inspired by Papa’s words, that our only limit is our imagination.”
The Vice President was speaking on Thursday at the 60th anniversary celebration of Africa’s first television station, the Western Nigeria Television, Ibadan, which commenced operations on October 31, 1959.
Prof. Osinbajo said that the achievements of the late sage “represents sturdy shoulders for us to stand on,” pointing out that Nigerians could do more today.
He said, “the vision of Awo was to build a people capable of excelling beyond his own achievements, adding, “every generation has a historic responsibility to reach for the highest peaks that human capacity can achieve.”
Vice President Osinbajo noted that the establishment of the WNTV 60 years ago by Chief Awolowo, assisted by his lieutenants, late Chief Anthony Enahoro, and late Chief T. T. Solarin, entered the history books as a remarkable achievement in a country that was still under colonial rule.
He pointed out that the WNTV was not only the first television station in Africa, but also preceded television broadcasting in China, which began in 1962, Canada in 1967, New Zealand in 1960 and several European countries, including Netherlands and Ireland.
Speaking further on Chief Awolowo’s vision and achievements, Vice President Osinbajo said, “it would ordinarily have been unimaginable that somehow in a part of the yet to be independent Nigeria, a man and his team would build a television station in three months, the first as we have seen, in many parts of the world, but for the man it was not so surprising.
“Papa had laid out a plan for the rapid development of the western region. It included physical infrastructure and human capacity development.
“The plan included free and compulsory education. As of the date of the inauguration of the WNTV, almost a million children were in school in the Western Region.
“Forty-one per cent (41%) of the region’s budget was spent on education the highest proportion anywhere in the free world, a clear demonstration of the importance of education for development.”
According to Prof. Osinbajo, the celebration of the 60th anniversary was historic for three main reasons.
“First, it demonstrated the capacity of the Nigerian mind to conceive and achieve anything no matter how complex or difficult.
“Secondly it demonstrates how visionary leadership can inspire and lead people from the lowest levels to the high points of human imagination.
“Thirdly, it exemplifies the use of public resources for the public good. The WNTV was built to inform, to educate and to entertain.
“So today as we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the establishment of the WNTV, we also celebrate what is possible in our nation and States, what vision, hard work and a commitment to the public good can do.”
Stressing that advancement in science and technology has made innovations easier, Prof. Osinbajo urged Nigerians to be inspired by Chief Awolowo’s “words that our only limit is our imagination.”
While commending the organizers of the event, Foundation for Ibadan Television Anniversary Celebration, the Vice President congratulated the pioneers and alumni of the WNTV, who received awards at the event.
In another development, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has commended the farsightedness and vision of the management of Atar Communications Ltd, owners of Liberty Radio and Television, for its efforts in transforming and enhancing the operations of the broadcast outfit, making it one to be reckoned with across the country.
Speaking at the commissioning of Liberty TV and Radio 103.3 FM, Abuja, Prof. Osinbajo said the enviable height attained by the outfit should be sustained.
According to him, “Since the company commenced operations as far back as 2012. Over the years they have expanded into many parts of Nigeria, being one of the fastest growing in terms of coverage in both rural and urban areas in the country.”
The high point of the event was the unveiling of the Liberty TV, Radio digital studios by the Vice President.
Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity
Office of the Vice President