By Collins Edomaruse
Mallam Nasir Danladi Bako, Kogunan Sakwatto, the radio broadcasting prodigy that had ruled the airwaves of then Rima Radio, Sokoto with his masterly delivery of news and different programmes in both Hausa and English languages, at age 16 in 1973, needs no introduction. There was no doubt that he had come to bestride the nationâ€™s airwaves with his budding skills, but needed to launch out to the world outside the Caliphate of Sokoto, but must first sharpen his tools. So having cut his broadcasting teeth at the radio station, the young Nasir took his budding intellect to the famousÂ Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. He graduated in 1978 and three years after, obtainedÂ a masterâ€™s degree in Mass CommunicationÂ from the equally prestigious University of Lagos.
His hallmark of ingenuity, creativty and hard-work saw him win, in 1979, the prestigious Best Producer/Presenter award of the NTA Sokoto and Best Overall Staff award of the same station in 1980. Revelling in a harvest of awards, he was transferred to the NTA Headquarters inÂ 1983 as was the tradition at that time, that only the best staff of each station were elevated to the Network Service.
In 1988, he developedÂ a programme that is arguably Nigeriaâ€™s first live TV talk show, Morning Ride.
Looking back at the event that marked the 10th anniversary of Morning Ride in 1998, Bako revealed what inspired the creation of the very popular breakfast show, saying â€œI realised that there was a hiatus in the one-way information flow of top to bottom direction, devoid of the citizensâ€™ feedback on policies and issues governing their lives.â€
Indeed, the programme drew strength from Bakoâ€™s desire and thirst for accountability, transparency and rectitude in government and leadership.Â Bakoâ€™s penchant for putting public figures on the spot during the live programme became one of the early precursors to investigativeÂ questioning and thematic vibrancy in television journalism in Nigeriaâ€.
He also recalled that the programme â€œIndeed, got halted on two occasions during a diatribe on the government by the then Nigerian Bar Association Chairman, Alao Aka-Bashorun and another edition featuring Sat Guru Maharaji .â€
A year after, in 1999 to be specific, he was appointedÂ Director-General of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC). On the new job, Danladi, as he is popularly called, redefined broadcasting regulation under former President Olusegun Obasanjo, but threw resigned voluntarily three years later to pursue other vocations inherent in him.
After voluntarily exiting the National Broadcasting Commission, Danladi Bako went straight to play active roles in the political sphere as Chairman, Media and Publicity North West PDP 2007 Presidential campaign, as well as Chairman Media and Publicity 2015 Sokoto State APC Governorship campaign.
He also served as Commissioner of Information, Sokoto State 2012 – 2015. The seasoned broadcaster also served as Board member, Cross River Basin Development Authourity 2004 – 2008 and Governing Council member, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi 2009 -2013.
Answering questions on how life has been as he clocks 60, Bako emphasised that he felt fulfilled and privileged to have livedÂ in this world at the same era Mandela fought for 27 years of his life for racial equality, social justice andÂ freedom of his black brothers in South Africa. He thanked the countryâ€™s leaders for giving him the rare privilege to impact on the trajectory the broadcast industry pursued in the last 20 years evolving in the democratization of the airwaves and the liberalisation of the communication space.
Mallam Bako who is presently a doctoral student at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, reiterated the need for purposeful national integration as well as propagation of social justice and egalitarianism in the country through the pursuit of good governance in the country.
My amiable Kogunan Sakwatto, Mallam Danladi Nasir Bako, as you turned 60Â September 1, I wish you Godâ€™s guidance in all your future endeavours, especiallyÂ as you start life on a new pedestal giving that you now earnestly await a new feather to your academic laurels following your successful completion of a PhD programme at the great ABU.
â€“Edomaruse, former editor at THISDAY, is publisher of METROWATCH Online:Â www.metrowatchonline.com