Outgoing Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, says President Muhammadu Buhari is aware that a section of Nigerians erroneously calls him “Baba Go Slow”, an appellation for a lackadaisical approach to issues of concern.
The minister said this in Abuja at a send-forth party organised in his honour by the Board of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC).
Mr Mohammed said Mr Buhari erroneously earned the appellation because “he is tolerant, and a democrat who gives his ministers a free hand to discharge their duties without undue interference”.
The minister said: “We are always in the bad books of everybody. In the bad book of governments because they think we are too soft and in the bad book of naysayers because they say we are too strict.”
“A station (Tv or Radio) will abuse the government for a whole year; nobody will raise a finger. But if you try to impose a fine or shut the station down, the whole human rights family will now say, fire Lai Mohammed.
“I must give credit to Mr President. I have never seen a president as tolerant as President Muhammadu Buhari.”
The minister said Mr Buhari never ordered that media houses be shut despite insults hurled at the regime.
“One day, I was surprised in the cabinet when the president said, ‘I know they call me Baba Go Slow.”
“The president has become so democratised that he was being blamed.”
The minister urged the leadership of the NBC to continue to defend the amended National Broadcasting Code and strengthen its implementation.
Specifically, he said it should develop a written framework for the code and create a department for its enforcement.
Mr Mohammed appealed to the stakeholders in the industry and Nigerians at large to support the code and its provision, stressing that it would benefit the industry.
The minister also urged the NBC leadership not to rest on its oars in implementing the Digital Switch Over (DSO), that is, transiting from analogue to digital broadcasting.
He said when Mr Buhari assumed office in 2015, the DSO was on paper, but it had been successfully implemented in 12 states.
Earlier, the chairman of the NBC Board, Bashir Bolarinwa, thanked the minister for the support given to the commission and other parastatals and agencies of the ministry.