Home African communication systems 11 THE USE OF A RADIO INDIGENOUS PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT PROGRAMME TO PROMOTE DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

THE USE OF A RADIO INDIGENOUS PUBLIC ENLIGHTENMENT PROGRAMME TO PROMOTE DEVELOPMENT IN NIGERIA

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1.0 INTRODUCTION

This unit presents an example of interplay between popular culture and mass media in information dissemination drawing from some South Western geopolitical zone in Nigeria. It is hoped that it will enhance students understanding of the the interplay between popular culture and mass media in information dissemination.

2.0. OBJECTIVES

At the end of this unit of study, you should be able to:

  1. Discuss the interplay between popular culture and mass media in information dissemination 

3.0 MAIN CONTENT

3.1 Environmental Concerns in Nigeria

In Nigeria, the main causes of some environment problems are bush burning, industrial pollution, poor solid waste collection and disposal, windstorm, poor toilet facilities and flood.

Bush burning, which is one of the main causes of deforestation, is a very rampant phenomenon in different parts of Nigeria. This coupled with illegal logging have contributed immernsly to depleting the forests of the country. At the height of any dry season, many parts of our forests are usually set on fire by hunters with the intension of flushing out animals to be killed for meat. The resultant fire usually goes out of control causing damage to the natural ecosystem in the forest and destroying valuable farmlands and properties. Also, industrial pollution caused by the discharge of untreated effluents by industries into nearby streams, many of which pass through human settlements, are major sources of water pollution. In addition, poor solid waste collection and disposal is another cause of environmental problems. Uncollected heaps of refuse are still found within residential areas despite various efforts made to control it. Infact, the incidence of epidemics in some parts of Nigeria has been attributed to unhygienic practices in waste collection and disposal.

Furthermore, the effects of wind storms are felt in many towns of Nigeria during the raining seasons when very high-speed wind usually brings in the first rains. Many families and communities have been rendered homeless in many parts by the storms which usually blow off roofs and even demolish some buildings to the ground level. Lives and properties worth millions of Naira are known to have been destroyed in these occurrences. Another major cause is poor toilet facilities. Some people do not comply with town planning guildlines concerning building plans. So either some houses do not have toilet facilities, or those that have, have poor ones. Again, some old residential buildings do not have toilet facilities. This has resulted in people defecating in the open, whch has caused some epidemics. Finally, flood occasioned by poor or lack of drainage facilities cause environmental problems. To capture the concern, the green team” Army Day Secondary School, Yakubu Gowon Barracks, Abuja, developed a song to express their concern about the continued depletion of the environment to mark the 25th anniversary of Federal Environmental Protection Agency (FEPA):

We are leaving bad finger-prints for the unborn world,We are leaving bad foot-prints for the children, Killing the planet, emptying the world,Help us to save the world.

3.2 The Case of an Environmental Programme on Radio Osun, Osun State Osun State, like other states in Nigeria, is faced with environmental problems, hence, the need for a public enlightenment programme to educate people on the proper ways of handling environment issues. Since, most of the environmental problems in Nigeria as a whole, and Osun State in particular, are due to ignorance, poor public enlightenment programmes, especially on radio, because of its wide coverage and far-reaching effect, would no doubt, help to minimize them.

3.3 The Choice of “Afinju Woja” and the Use of Osun Radio

In the programme proposal original submitted by Perfect Communication to the programmes department of Osun Radio, the programme was titled “Adaba n pegede’, a shortened from of Adaba n pegede bi enipe eyele o gbo, eyele gbo ntiri lo ntiri’ (meaning-whatever is done in the dark will come to the light). The programme director saw the need to change the title because it is proverbial, and can easily lead to misunderstanding. The programme was presented at a programme departmental meeting and they came up with another programme title-“Afinju Woja”, a shortened form of “Afinju Woja won a rin gbendele, obun woja pa siosio” (meaning-there is pride in a beautiful environment).

Radio Osun was considered a perfect medium to effectively reach the grassroots in Osun State, because the station can be received in all parts of the state and other neighbouring states of Oyo, Ondo, Edo, Delta and Kwara. Besides, it has some interesting programmes, especially Yoruba programmes; and the ethnocentric nature of Nigerians, which was discussed under the publics of African Communication in unit one of this module.

To create awareness for the new programme, a programme promo highlighting the agency’s functions and what the public should expect on the programme every Saturday morning was developed and aired. It contained the address and telephone numbers of the producer to big companies like Osogbo Steel Rolling Company, Nigeria Machine Tools, private companies, government ministries and parastatals and individual resource persons, who provided useful information on environmental issues.]

3.4 Airing and Airtime on Radio Osun

Afinju Woja is a 30-minutes quarterly programme. It is aired every Saturday morning before 9 am, strategically chosen because of environmental sanitation days. The programme was scheduled for 8:30am every Saturday. Osun State Environmental Protection Agency sponsored the programme.

During the first quarter, the resource persons relevant to different environmental issues to be transmitted were targeted to achieve the aim of enlightening the public on the functions of the agency and the causes of different environmental problems. The programme was packaged weekly to reflect current environmental issues and to also enable the general manager of the agency yet each programme before transmission so that their contents do not conflict with the policies of the agency.

The general manager of Osun State Environmental Protection Agency and his subordinates also used the programme to explain the policies of the agency to the public.

The programme was anchored by a seasoned presenter for a professional touch. Twenty five minutes is the standard for a thirty minutes programme, and so fifteen minutes was devoted to interviews, while the remaining ten minutes were for musical bridges and awareness talks such as telling people to contribute their quotas during environmental sanitation exercise and cautioning the public on acts that could be inimical to the environment.
In the second quarter, since Osun State Environmental Protection Agency keeps the records of environmental disaster areas and individual complaints on environmental issues, an engineer from Osun State Environmental Protection Agency was attached to the producer to enable him tackle technical issues and therefore give a professional touch to the programme. This was during the second quarter. Both the producer and the engineer moved from one disaster area to the other, visiting market places and also visiting area from which complaints had earlier been lodged during the second quater.

Information gathering in each of the areas visited involved two stages-interviewing people at the affected areas, and two, interviewing the relevant local government chairmen on the steps they had taken so far to solve the environmental problems. Furthermore, the general manager of Osun State Environmental Protection Agency was interviewed on the steps he would take in solving the problems.

During the third quarter, the focus was on all the local government areas in Osun State. Names of all the local government areas were compiled and letters were subsequently sent to them notifying them that the producer and the agency’s engineer would visit them on specified dates to discuss environmental problems peculiar to each of them. The chief environmental officers helped in furnishing the local government chairmen with relevant information concerning the environment. The chairmen also seized the opportunity to solicit the assistance of the state government and relevant agencies on environmental matters. The general manager of Osun State Environmental Protection Agency was also interviewed on the possible solutions to the problems. All these were packaged every week for two quarters (26 weeks).

3.5 Evaluation of the Programme

The first quarter was a huge success; the public became more enlightened on environmental issues and Osun State Environmental Protection Agency became more popular both within and outside Osun State.

During the second quarter, because of the huge success recorded in the first quarter in enlightening the public on the functions of agency, the focus of the programme became more participatory. At the end of the quarter, both the public and Osun State government commended the programme. Even those who monitored the programme outside Osun State commended favourably on it. Before the end of the second quarter, Afinji Woja was already a household name in Osun State.

The commendation only increased in the subsequent quarters as they saw evidence of better awareness on environmental issues in Osun State.

4.0 CONCLUSION

This unit presented an example of the successful use of an indigenous radio programme in communicating development. From the evaluation, it is obvious the programme was successful. In fact, it enhanced audience participation which resulted better awareness on environmental issues in Osun State.

5.0 SUMMARY

This unit focused on an indigenous radio programme to show the interplay between popular culture and mass media in information dissemination

Self Assessment Exercise

  1.  Scan your environment and find out two development issues that require awareness creation.

6.0 TUTOR MARKED ASSIGNMENT

  1. Identify a local radio or television programme used for information dissemination on a development issue. 
  2.  Write a synopsis of the programme identified
  3.  Evaluate the programme.

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