By FEMI AKINTUNDE-JOHNSON
He doesn’t need a quota system or an affirmative action to escalate his talents; this brilliant broadcaster had used the auspices of the tube to increase the stock and craft of many of the cream of today’s superstars…at their gateways to fame. From the detective serials, Special Protection Anti-Crime Squad, SPACS (1985 – 1987) which featured RMD and Mahmood Ali-Balogun (yes!) as co-leads; to directing and producing the creative writings of 1984/1985 graduands of NTA/BBC Writers’ Workshop (with Zeb Ejiro, Andy Amenechi, Bond Emeruwa, Murtala Sule, Taiwo Ogundipe, Ralph Nwadike, Charles Owoyemi, etc, as shimmering stars); Nasir Danladi Bako, PhD, has been at the nerve centre of the prenatal and birthing process of the Nigerian video success story.
And with NTA’s adaptation of the British sit-com, Mind Your Language that was popular with Nigerians of the 70s, our own hilarious Second Chance was born. Bako, who was installed as Kogunan Sakwatto by the Sultan on May 12, 2001, directed a boisterous classy cast of Olu Jacobs, Lai Ashadele, Soni Irabor, Funso Alabi (all played Teacher Gyang alternately), Tony St Iyke was Nicodemus Okonkwo, Abiola Atanda was Madam Kofo, Collins Onomor was Odiri, Tola Osinubi was Kucha, Joke Silva was the coquettish Roli, Isaac Ijoma was Anuka, James Johnson was Fyne Face; and Ghanian actor, Evans Hunter who was the first teacher, in the half-hour drama – from 1984. Even the show’s scripting department was packed to the rafters with quality: the sublime Ihria Enakhimio, Charles Owoyemi, Zeb Ejiro, Akin Clinton, etc. RMD also contributed a couple of scripts. Bako also produced a few teledramas, like The Lost Tribe (1985).
Ebullient and more popular as the talk show host of Morning Ride and MasterSports, the multi-talented gentleman is noted for his encyclopedic grasp of the trends and talents of Nigerian visual media. Voracious in study and expression, Bako has a BA (Hons) English from Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria (1978); MSc, Mass Communication (UNILAG, 1981), and almost forty years after, a PhD, Development Communication from ABU (2019).
His broadcasting career shot off from 1973 at Rima Radio, Sokoto, and culminated as the Director General of the National Broadcasting Commission (1999 – 2002). The Koguna also served as Sokoto State Commissioner for Information (2012 – 2015), amongst other national communication assignments.
Today, I’m told he is 65 years old (contrary to my private record of 64). Whichever is right, it is in great order to celebrate this bold and gently boisterous pathfinder, in many fields, and a consummate conversationalist, Mallam Danladi Bako, PhD. Happy birthday!