Veteran broadcast journalist and Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, is also the chairman of the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON. In that capacity ,he is also the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Nigeria Election Debate Group, NEDG. Ahead of the forthcoming elections, Mr. Omole paid a courtesy call on Vanguard during which he spoke on issues pertaining to the debate. Excerpts:

As the DG of NTA would you say that your station has been fair to all sides given that the network is sustained by the public treasury?

I would say we have been fair, but today my conversation today is specifically on the bases of Nigeria Election Debate Group because I don’t want to really mix messages. Another day we can sit and talk about it. So, today, my main agenda is to promote the activities of the Nigeria Election Debate Group being a member of the board of trustees and that is what I like to do.

Omole

I like to talk about this controversy which I don’t really see because, I mean we put four people on stage and we ask each four, same questions. It’s an opportunity for you to tell Nigerians through live radio and television what your programmes are irrespective of whatever anybody believes.

There is the fear that the questions would be leaked to one party?

Let me explain to you that as I am sitting here, I as the chairman of the debate group, I have not seen the questions that are going to be asked maybe till the day of the event itself. This is because we have almost five thousand questions coming from different parts of the country and different parts of the world.

We have a debate format committee that works on setting the questions. What we do is that we send to all the candidates, all of the political parties, what areas that are going to be discussed.

Mathematical question

Anybody who is following Nigerian events, would tell you what it’s all about. You just talk about power, that could be an area. So basically we send the documents to all the political parties and say here are the areas that we are going to be looking at as we do this debate.

It is really not a mathematical question (and) it’s just to take the stage and express yourself. We have seen hopeless performances at the debate and we have seen some excellent performances at the debate, so it is an opportunity for you to let Nigerians see who you are, what your programmes are, and how you respond to them.

What efforts have you made to win over those who have raised objection to the involvement of NTA in this debate?

That is part of why we are here today, we are not going to be naming names I don’t think it is necessary to do that but I have personally spoken to a lot of people and I have visited a number of entities. This is the main interest, the larger interest of Nigeria, so let’s set aside, petty bygones that might have existed in the past. Let’s do this together in the interest of the Nigerian electorate.

That’s my main interest. Just a year ago, I was in Chevron. I spent 25 years in Chevron before I retired. I was just minding my own business when they said I should come and do this and only a few months ago I was elected as the chairman of BON, the Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria, BON and the chairman of BON is automatically the chairman of the board of trustees of the Nigeria Election Debate Group.

Buhari has complained about the documentary on him broadcast by the NTA and his camp has demanded to be given a right to reply?

I tell you if they give it to me, I would broadcast

Would you say that the documentary done on Buhari was professional?

They put it as advertisers’ announcement and once you put sponsored there, that is to say ‘I didn’t produce this.’

So who sponsored the documentary?

I don’t know, I can’t know? Do you know everybody who advertises in your newspaper?

- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2015/03/election-debate-gives-candidates-wider-reach-omole/#sthash.8JBhHFFz.dpuf

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