This is an excerpt of a brief interview with the acting Director General of the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN, Samson Shaibu (SS). He is still in office even though he, by civil service rules, should have retired after turning 60.
PREMIUM TIMES (PT): You are supposed to retire on June 22, yet you have approval from the Minister of Information to travel to Ireland to represent the country on July 22. Why is that the case?
SS: It is so because I have finished my retirement from service, but I am now acting DG, and that is political appointment. And the antecedents are these. The former DG who left before me was brought from retirement. Eddie Iroh was brought from retirement, and then Kevin Ejiofor was brought from retirement. The DG’s position is a political appointment. So, people are just being mischievous saying what they are saying. There are antecedents. But, my former career as a civil servant has expired. And I am acting DG, and there are antecedents. You know if you want to go emotional, the former man who finished before me was Hausa-Fulani. He was brought from retirement to serve as DG. Are there two rules in Nigeria – one for the minority and one for the Hausa-Fulani? There was an Igbo man, who was brought from retirement too (Kevin Ejiofor) and Eddie Iro. So, people are just talking about what they don’t understand.
For further information, the assignment I am going is funded by Chinese Government and not by Federal Government. So, people are just talking from half information.
PT: The recent fire incident in the studio at the corporation, how was it handled? Any report of the probe?
SS: The fire incident was teleguided by detractors who feel they should create a crisis situation for somebody they feel is not a team player. For your information, I am not a team player in corruption. I am acting DG for three months now, and if you ask the workforce, they would tell you there is an added difference. Within these three months, I have bought a bus for FRCN. Within these three months, 22 studios that were conduit pipes for corruption in FRCN have been resuscitated, and there is light there now. And if I have opportunity of meeting with you, I will give you a catalogue of achievements. This has not happened for the past 15 years. But, people who are corrupt in our system would not like to see the likes of me. For example, there are people being teleguided from the Legal Department and Admin who are beneficiaries of corruption in the system.
PT: There is an allegation that you don’t carry everyone along, particularly on issues of staff welfare?
SS: As a journalist, if you can please ask the workforce, through independent investigation, the people who ruled before me, who were carrying people along, what did they do? In these three months time of my tenureship, I have paid more T&B (travelling and basic tours allowance) than any other person in the last two years. Records are there for all to see.
PT: It is said that you employed over 125 people and ignored the people employed in 2012, yet there are no offices and tools for them to work with?
SS: That employment was done by the previous regime that I inherited. The former DG, Barrister Yusuf Nuhu is the one who employed people, and that employment, to be fair to him, I don’t want to condemn my predecessors, was a collective decision of management. I have not employed a single person since I came.
The former DG employed, I don’t know the specific figure. That is what I inherited. So, people are just peddling this. These are people who believe they must rule FRCN forever. And Nigeria is a country of six geo-political zones. I am saying this, not as a slight to any tribe, because I know that Nigeria is a partnership of six geo-political zones. Nigeria is not owned by Hausa-Fulani, neither is it owned by Igbo or Yoruba. It is owned by all Nigerians. There six geo-political zones in this country. The Hausa-Fulani has serially ruled FRCN, or ruined FRCN all these years. Thank you very much.