Plans To Celebrate 60th Anniversary Of First Television In Africa Hot Up


Some representatives of former staff of the Western Nigeria Television (WNTV) Ibadan, Africa’s first television station, on Monday, April 1, paid a courtesy visit on the Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi, in his office at the Government Secretariat, Agodi, Ibadan, Oyo State of Nigeria.

The team, under the aegis of ‘Africa’s First Television Alumni Association’, was led on the courtesy visit by the first female Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief ‘Folake Solanke, who celebrated her 87th birthday on Friday, March 29, this year.

She was also the first and only female Chair of WNTV and her sister radio station, the Western Nigeria Broadcasting Service (WNBS), Africa’s first commercial radio station, established in 1960.

Chief Solanke, in her speech, informed Governor Ajimobi and some members of the Oyo State Executive Council present at the ceremony, that the 1st TV Alumni Association plans to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Africa’s first television station in October, this year, to commemorate the historic commissioning of the WNTV, Ibadan, on October 31, 1959, by the then Premier of Western Nigeria, Chief Obafemi Awolowo.

She said it was important that correct history of the past and living legends and their remarkable deeds are taught and documented for posterity.

She added that the 1959 feat of the introduction of television to Nigeria and Africa, among other achievements, by the Western Nigeria Government deserve recognition and praises.

In his own speech at the ceremony, a former General Manager of WNTV/WNBS, Ibadan, Dr. Yemi Farounbi, who is also a former Ambassador of Nigeria to the Philippines, said the celebration of the 60th anniversary of television in Africa, in October, this year, would include the production of a documentary detailing the vision and growth of WNTV, the publication of three books on the history of WNTV – the expected roles of television in the socio-economic development of the society and reminiscences by interested former staff of WNTV, Ibadan.

He added that the Alumni Association also plans to build a Hall of Fame for dead and living stars who passed through the two stations at the Television House, Agodi, Ibadan.

In his speech, Governor Ajimobi commended the sense of history and patriotism of the three conveners (Dr. Yemi Farounbi, Mr. Ayo Fasoro and Oloye ‘Lekan Alabi) of the 60th anniversary celebration of television in Africa and the Alumni Association, for buying into the vision.

He said it was imperative that history be appreciated, taught and documented, in order to motivate present and future generations.

Governor Ajimobi pledged the full support of the people and government of Oyo State to the association and its set objectives.

Members of the Alumni Association on the courtesy visit included a former Head of Service and Secretary to Oyo State Government, Chief Adebisi Adesola, Honourable Justice Kunle Adeigbe (rtd), Pastor Biodun Aladekomo, Chief Sanya Oyinsan, Princess Sade Bankole, Mr. Tunji Adepoju and Mr. Ayo Babajide.

It will be recalled that the Generals Murtala Muhammed/Olusegun Obasanjo-led Federal Military Government seized WNTV/WNBS, and other states-owned radio and television stations, without compensation, in 1976.