The appointment last month of Malam Umar Saidu Tudunwada as Managing Director of Kano State Radio Corporation is indeed a thing of joy as it is clearly a move by Kano government apparently to breathe new lease life into the once powerful radio station and make it compete favourably with fast emerging private radio stations in the state.
Tudunwada replaces Hajiya Sa’adatu Muhammad Babaji who is elevated as Special Adviser to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje on Women Mobilization. Sa’adatu Babaji had been the chief executive officer of the radio station since 2015 when Ganduje took over as governor.
It can be said without any equivocation that Tudunwada’s appointment is putting a square peg in a round hole, given his quality credentials as a fearless and hardworking journalist. And that was why the appointment was hailed by many, especially seasoned media practitioners as well as traditional radio listeners in Kano and beyond. It was a wise decision indeed!
The history of the radio outfit dated back to 1946 when the station was originally a branch of the Radio Distribution Services (RDS) established by the then British Colonialists. Two other radio distribution services established in the country within the same period were in Lagos and Ibadan. The station, which clearly stood out as one of the most influential broadcast media outfits in the Second Republic, played a vital role in the development of Kano and its people.
In all honesty, the 71-year-old radio station today is not what it used to be in the past as it has, in recent time, been losing its steam following probably the proliferation of many private radio stations all over the place. This is in spite of the uninterrupted yearly budgetary funding and other necessary support to the organization by Kano government.
Be that as it may, Tudunwada is clearly on a rescue mission at Bello Dandago House (the radio station was named after a veteran journalist Alhaji Bello Dandago. He was the first indigenous officer-in-charge of the radio outfit). The expectations are high that the new helmsman for the broadcast house will turn the place around, as he will provide the needed leadership for the organization and achieve the desired objectives.
Even though Muhammad Garba, the state commissioner of information, must be instrumental to Tudunwada’s appointment, the appointee is no stranger to Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, as he is one of the easily notable journalists in Kano. This is because Ganduje came to know most of the vibrant journalists in Kano when he became famous as commissioner of works, housing and transport in the 1990s. Tudunwada, who was with CTV 67 and Muhammad Garba of Triumph Newspapers (now Ganduje’s commissioner of information) were among such journalists.
It is a statement of fact that Tudunwada is part of the success story of Freedom Radio in Kano. The radio outfit (Freedom Radio), which focuses mainly on enlightening and educating people, stands out as the first and foremost privately owned radio station in northern Nigeria. He was one of its pioneer highly trained professionals when the broadcast outfit began operations on December 1, 2003 with cutting-edge technology. As Assistant General Manager Operations he soon became prominent in designing and editing of programs synopsis as well as anchoring live interviews with important dignitaries.
He left Freedom Radio in 2006 for Voice of America (VOA) Hausa Service where he became an international broadcaster translating daily news bulletins from English to Hausa; translating correspondents’ reports from English to Hausa; broadcasting of news and features in Hausa; interviewing analysts and dignitaries; covering events; and updating Hausa Service Web Page.
Tudunwada returned to Freedom Radio in 2009 upon his appointment as General Manager Operations and Editor-in-Chief in order to have a good and fair editorial judgment in news and current affairs department of the radio station. He rose to become Deputy Managing Director on October 1, 2014. In this capacity, he, among many others, deputized for the managing director on administrative issues, ensured professional standards in content quality, and coordinated partnerships with collaborating agencies, as well as professional and regulatory bodies.
In fact, he cut his journalism teeth with the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA) as news assistant in 1980; and in 1983 he left to join Kano State Television Corporation better known as CTV 67 as Reporter/ Editor where he worked for close to two decades. He was at one time a correspondent for Deutsche-Welle (Voice of Germany) Hausa Service compiling and presenting Hausa reports as well as recording and relaying of special interviews. Interestingly too, he briefly worked in the print media between July, 2003 and November, 2003 having become a publisher and editor-in-chief of Factual Newspaper, a weekly publication based in Kano then.
He also served on two different times as special assistant on media and publicity to Governor Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso whose main duties included professional consultations with the governor, general administration, coordinating press activities, production of documentaries, translation of governor’s speech, designing program of activities and master of ceremony.
Tudunwada is a journalist with extensive professional training in addition to attending several workshops and seminars which had significantly contributed to his success in his chosen career. Apart from his basic educational qualifications which took him up to a university level, for example, he was able to obtain a certificate on intensive communication studies from Bayero University, Kano in 1985. Equally, he was at the Nigeria Institute of Journalism (NIJ) where he acquired a certificate in sub-editing in 1981 and another certificate in news reporting in 1984.
Some of the workshops and seminars he attended were put together by reputable national and international organizations, among them the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria, Ahmadu Bello University, Rofam Consultancy Services, and National Population Commission. All these revolved round general journalism practice, democracy and governance, accountability and probity, speech writing and public speaking, as well as leadership and mentoring.
Staff of Radio Kano will indeed find Tudunwada handy as he will ensure their regular professional and technical training to meet the challenges of inefficient and unprofessional manpower. And as a stickler for due diligence, he will also ensure that all staff of the premier radio station perform their duties in accordance with the rules and regulations, code of conduct and ethics, legislations, the guidelines of regulatory and professional bodies in addition to being decent and aboveboard at all times.
Given his wide contact as a professional journalist with considerable training in marketing and advertising, it is expected he will explore more sources of revenue for the radio station to stand on its own and even make a surplus for the state government. And his affiliation with Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), Nigeria Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) and Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) will certainly add value to this onerous task as managing director of the radio station.
Tudunwada is a very patriotic and selfless personality who pursues whatever assignment given to him with zeal and commitment. Unlike some journalists who join the profession only to make money at the expense of their career progression, Tudunwada is rather committed to know the job thoroughly and become an authority for the overall benefit of humanity at large.
He has to his own credit a number of professional publications arising from workshops, seminars and conferences where he was often invited to present papers. One of his landmark presentations was on ‘Entrepreneurial Journalism: Concept, Opportunities and Challenges’ at a training workshop for students of Mass Communication organized by Voice of America in conjunction with Bayero University, Kano in 2015.
With Tudunwada in the saddle as the officer-in-charge of the radio outfit, Kano government and indeed the good people of the state will stand to gain a lot. He will certainly succeed if all the needed support is given to him by the government, people of the state and other key stakeholders.
Umar was Regional Editor, Daily Trust Regional Office, Kano