By Qasim Akinreti
In life ,death is a necessary end, it will come when it will come, and so for Mallam Yaya Abubakar, a former director general of Voice of Nigeria (VON), death came to him at 73.
Late Mallam Yaya Abubakar, was a prominent broadcaster, from Bauchi in Bauchi state, North central Nigeria. An alumni of University of Lagos, his foray into Broadcasting saw him rising to the managerial positions at the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA Bauchi in the 1980s and NTA Network in the 1990s.
As a manager and broadcast strategist, he was the pioneer chairman of Gombe Media Corporation and Chairman of Board of Trustees of Bauchi State Television (BATV).
Mallam Yaya’s rise to stardom in the broadcasting sector came first as the DIrector News at the NTA Network center, Ahmadu Bello way, Victoria Island, Lagos.
He created Newsline, a Pan Nigeria News Feature programme where the likes of Frank Olise ,Lola Ogunbambi, Abike Dabiri Erewa,Late Sella Radiri and others took the television broadcasting to Nigerian home with dexterity and high sense of humour, the Programme became a Sunday tonic for viewers across Nigeria.
The success of Mallam Yaya Abubakar at NTA arguably was the fillip to his appointment as Director General, Voice of Nigeria ,VON, in 1991, when the international broadcasting outfit was carved out from the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, external service.
As a pioneer DG of VON, he ensures the international station stand his foot in the comity of external broadcasters globally. he worked with the best brains in the radio broadcasting in nigeria including late Tunji Oseni, as Director News, Engineer Ugwu, director of Engineering.
Others are Mallam Saulawa, Director Programmes,Muhammed Okerejior,Director News after the exit of Oseni and Engineer Odunsi, who took over from Engineer Ugwu after his retirement.
Due to his passion for international broadcasting, Mallam Yaya Abubakar monitor or listen to every broadcast on his station and can easily track the performance of his News and Programmes staff. Aside from this, his style was to walk into the newsroom incognito,and reward commitment to duty without any fear or favour.
In an instance, this writer did a three month internship at News Directorate of VON after a Post Graduate studies at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ), in 1993.
Then, Mallam Yaya Abubakar continually monitor and listen to my Correspondent Reports. Late Tunji Oseni had earlier challenged me to prove my mettle and new Journalism skills as a good ambassador of NIJ, because, I walked up to him and pleaded to be given a chance to contribute you the growth of VON. Victor Kodesoh, now of AIT was the head of Reportorial then. He gave me all the necessary support and tutelage . On the completion of internship, I called to say hello to my colleagues at VON a month after. I was told the DG was looking for me. On my first encounter with Mallam Yaya Abubakar, he asked if I was on annual leave because, he has not heard my Correspondent Reports. I told him I was an intern then. Instantly, he asked me to apply for Editor 11 in March 4th, 1994, due to my hardwork and contributions during three months of internship.
Almighty God has used Mallam Yaya Abubakar to lift me up. 25 years down the line,I can only thank the late erudite broadcaster for nurturing me to greatness in international broadcasting , a job that had given me joy and satisfaction as I look forward to bag a Ph.D in Broadcasting this session at Babcock University.
As a Dr Ladan Salihu, Director a General Federal Radio a Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN noted, Mallam Yaya Abubakar contributed to his success as a Broadcaster.
To accentuate his love for international broadcasting, late Yaya Abubakar ensure that a foremost textbook on international or external broadcasting from Nigerian and African perspective was published in partnership with Dr Justin Labinjo, after a two day international conference on the role of external broadcasting to Foreign policy at the Nigeria Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos. The book was entitled “The Challenges of External Broadcasting”, published by Sola Prints In 1994. The book had remained a reference research material for student of Mass communication on international or external broadcasting at the tertiary level globally.
Interestingly, too Mallam Yaya Abubakar groomed his successors to the exulted position of Director General Voice of Nigeria.
He first brought Mr Taiwo Alimi as a Consultant to the corporation. Coincidentally, Mr Taiwo Alimi succeeded him a chief executive in 1999 to 2003. Mallam Abubakar Jijiwa was brought from the News Agency of Nigeria, as Director Finance and Administration. He also became the VON DG from 2003 to 2015.
He had always used every opportunity to correct any infractions in the broadcasting industry especially certain developments in NTA and VON , two notable terrains where he served his fatherland meritoriously. Mallam Yaya complained about the logo of NTA and the change of NTA.
He equally advice VON management to revert to its original logo changed during the tenure of Mr Taiwo Alimi, at the management retreat in the Administrative staff College of Nigeria,ASCON, Badagry.
The late seasoned broadcaster and administrator per excellent was rewarded handsomely by the VON management naming a well furnished pent house at the Broadcasting House, Voice of Nigeria,Lagos in his honour during the era of Mallam Abubakar Jijiwa.
Mallam Yaya Abubakar was a Member of the Board of the Nigeria Press Council and Commonwealth Broadcasting Association.He attended the Royal Institute of Public Administration and bagged a Diploma in Public Administration in 1982. He is also a recipient of a Certificate in Policy and Strategic Studies from the Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies, Kuru, Jos in the year 1988.
May Allah grant him Aljanah Firdaos.