A vernacular radio in Uyo

The first vernacular radio station in Akwa Ibom state debuted last month and began full commercial broadcasting just two weeks ago. Known as Tangsio FM, the new station has become an instant hit among the rural dwellers and indeed many in the cities. I have been particularly fascinated by this new station, which should be the 17th in the state; and I am proud to say that I am a regular listener. A friend who lives in Canada called my attention to Tangsio last week and was quite excited that he, in Calgary, Canada, could listen to a radio broadcasting from Akwa Ibom through the internet. We are truly in strange times now!

Yesterday, I listened to a health programme on the radio. A nurse was discussing malaria and taking calls from listeners in Ibibio. Calls were coming in torrents from all parts of the state, and the nurse was taking her time to educate the people on this health scourge. I was amazed at how little our people know. Suddenly, the people have found their voice. It was so surreal. The wide acceptability of this radio station within so short a time means that there was a huge need for a vernacular station in the state.

I commend Tony Affia, the owner of Tangsio, for his creativity and good business sense. In 2013, Tony established the first privately owned radio station, Planet FM, in the state. Last year, he set up the first private TV station in the state. Now, he’s established the first vernacular radio. Tony is gradually building a media empire in Akwa Ibom, and I congratulate him on his achievements.

For us in opposition political parties, Planet FM offered an alternative platform through which we reached our audiences in the lead-up to the 2015 elections. I was a regular guest on Planet FM throughout that election cycle. I believe that for the 2023 elections, Tangsio will also be a veritable platform of unmatched reach.

I urge the management of this radio station to use it to educate Akwa Ibom people on the intricacies and ingredients of good governance. The reason politicians take Akwa Ibom people for granted is the apparent lack of political sophistication among Akwa Ibom folks. This is why our people are so easily deceived by politicians and it is the reason we are so docile and are ever so willing to accept, without questioning all sorts of lies and deceptions from the government and the political leaders. Tangsio should also endeavour to educate our people on basic science, hygiene and nutrition. Our people should be taught to rely less on religion and superstitions.

Tangsio should also be used to teach the people that they have the power to fire politicians who have not delivered on their election promises. Voters should be taught the ills of selling their votes during elections. The voters should understand that their voters’ cards are the single most potent weapon of democracy. They should use it wisely because they have the power to hire and fire. Tangsio should rise up to the occasion by designing programmes that change the mindsets of our people.

Once again, Congratulations to Tony Affia. Akwa Ibom is proud of you!

Views expressed by contributors are strictly personal and not of TheCable.

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