Shehu Ilelah : The Proverbial Cow Tail & The New Reforms At NBC

By Rev Solomon Semaka.

A story was told of a grocery store owner whose only cow supplied the milk he sold to the small town where he lived. However, he left the cow to roam the village in the daytime in search of food. This meant that the cow occasionally wandered into people’s farms and grazed on their crops. This led to several confrontations and complaints between the inhabitants of that town and the owner of the cow until he decided to sell it off. Suddenly there was no more fresh milk again at the grocery store. People began to complain and finally realized that the poor wondering cow was the source of their milk.

The story above validates the saying that you do not know the value of what you have until it’s taken away from you. Human nature is often given to criticisms rather than commendation. Our empathy and sympathy are short-lived and often directed at people we have an emotional attachment with only. The lack of national unity or the threat to national unity has polarized us and created a mindset that is bent on discrediting even the most professional persons saddled with the affairs of the state if they fail to play according to our dictates. National interest is often sacrificed at the altar of selfishness and greed regardless of the pain it will cause others. We are always quick to attack people especially when their strength and accomplishments intimidate us.

History is replete with people whose laudable efforts are never recognized and appreciated. People who have lived their lives in the shadows offering service to their fatherland and doing their bits to make our country stand. The current Director -General of the National Broadcasting Commission NBC, Mr Shehu Ilelah is one of those rare sacrificial and yet unsung heroes.

Nigeria has never experienced the level of professionalism that this gentleman has brought to bear on the nations most potent and active media regulator responsible for professionalism and ethical standards in journalism practice .

Like the proverbial cow that does not know the importance of its tail until when it’s cut off, some Nigerians have began to run down the NBC management under Mr Shehu Ilelah barely six months in to his five year tenure. Mr Ilelah’s giants strides and reforms at the NBC no doubt are too glaring to maintain the status quo. A man whose silent achievements have not only led to the containment of widespread, coordinated, and sponsored unethical conducts among the media but is also been the sole reason while Nigerian media is still standing. No nation would have survived what was thrown at Nigeria by enemies of our shared values except for astute professionals like Shehu Ilelah whose only source of fulfillment lies in the battles the NBC win for the country’s media survival.

In recent times, Nigeria’ national security has come under threat through serial breaches by some media platforms, from cable network televisions to twitter platform and many other media digital outlets. It seems they were falling over themselves in breach of extant laws.

But thanks to the NBC, the regulator has over time demonstrated resilience and commitment in their constitutional objective of regulating the media in the over all interest of the masses. The proactive mode of the NBC under Shehu Ilelah has restored sanity in the media sector.

Twitter for example has demonstrated commitment to play by the rules. The NBC under Shehu Ilelah is simply doing what he is trained to do in service to Nigeria. The recent victory in a court of competent durisdiction against SERAP is a vindication of the commission and the beginning of a whole new Vista for new reforms in the media sector.

Those whom for unpatriotic reasons are calling for Mr Ilelah’s head less than one year into his appointment by Mr president are making a big mistake and like the little town, they might realize too late that the man reforming and overhauling the nation’s media sector was the person they were castigating for personal gains. Just like the proverbial cow, they might realize the importance of the tail that safeguards them from ‘flies’ only when the tail is cut off. But fortunately, Nigerians have woken up to fight for their own, the one working for the interest of the nation. As can be seen in the public support enjoyed by the new NBC boss. This is a wake-up call to all well-meaning Nigerians that without the NBC, Nigeria would have been a free state for unethical journalism and crisis entrepreneurs. It is better to appreciate the brains behind Nigeria’s victory over her detractors than to constitute any form of distraction. Siding with the enemy against your country and her leaders is not just unpatriotic but also treasonable.

We must remember that no country will ever grow amid real and artificial crisis. Crisis slows down economic growth and scares investors. One does not need a history lesson to know that countries like Libya, Yemen, Syria, and many other conflict zones around the world are no-go areas for tourists and investors. Nigerians must appreciate the professional conduct of the NBC management team who are sacrificing to ensure lasting reforms in the nation’s media sector in order to guarantee civil peace in our dear country. The high volume of direct foreign investment in Nigeria is a direct indicator of untiring efforts towards boosting both local and foreign investment. This great feat is made possible by Mr President through the instrumentality of putting round pegs in round holes such as demonstrated at the NBC in the person of Mr Shehu Ilelah.

History will be fair to Mr. Ilelah for his tireless efforts and his praises will be sung on the lips of many Nigerians for the great work he is doing for his country at the NBC. That will sure be the best way to spur the relentless hero to greater achievements and wins.

The numerous achievements so far within a short time in office to his credit though not publicized are a clear testimony that Nigerians will ever be grateful for the ongoing reforms at NBC.



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