The thought may not have crossed your mind but to me that is the answer to building a new Nigeria, the transformed Nigeria, the Nigeria I want my children to live in. But why children’s TV? You may have heard about the catch them young philosophy. On what is it rooted? Research shows that the human mind is shaped, and life long ideas entrenched from birth to adolescence, that is 0 to 19years. This means that if you fail to inculcate in a child the philosophies you want him to learn and live with during these vital years, you may never get that opportunity again.
While not saying that a person can not unlearn characters or traits imbibed at childhood, it is usual a long and ardous journey which many do not have the energy to embark on. Even the bible says ‘train up a boy according to the way for him, when he grows old, he will not turn aside from it’. Chidren’s TV is therefore television programming directed at children and adolescents. It should be an edu-infotainment station aimed at building in the minds of the next generation, the Nigeria we want them to grow up in.
However, for children’s TV to carry out this transformation and create a new Nigeria, the content must be well thought out and directed to form a near cult following. Did you grow up watching Voltron, G-Force, Godzilla, Sesame Street, Battle of the planets? Can you remember how you would carry out all your chores well in advance so no one has any reason to say you cant watch the shows? Well I did and so when I see my kids going all gaga over Ben 10, Big Time Rush, Bite me with Dr Mike Lenny, Dangerous Encounters and declaring proudly that they would want to be this or that in future, I can’t help but wonder what an opportunity Nigeria is losing in not having a TV station dedicated to child friendly content.
No, I am not talking about Cadbury’s Breakfast Television which simply brought together shows designed for American kids. I am talking about content designed for Nigerian children but with production qualities that meet international standards. The themes of these content would bother around nation building, heroic deeds, adventures and so on. Before you scoff and say we don’t have content developers ready to do this. Let me point out that I know of someone like Adamu Waziri creator of Bino and Fino show. The few episodes I watched with my kids left an impression. There was one on Nigeria’s independence which set my kids asking questions about Nigeria and nationhood. His show I just learnt is showing on an international cable station. I also have met Nigerian writers who understand the art of story telling who would be ready to develop story lines that would get a cult following like Big Time Rush and ICarly.
The next obstacle most people envisage is where the money would come from. I do not really see that as a problem. Advertisers go where there is a market and if you have fantastic content, advertisers will fall over themselves to get to you. Plus, dont forget, most advert copies are directed at children anyway. So, what better platform to reach the children than through ChildrenTV.
I have personally taken up this challenge of developing content for children’s television. I am starting with 4 hours a day, 7 days a week. I am working with a few persons who share the passions I have. I would be happy to share ideas with anyone who seriously believes that Children TV is a great transfomation tool for building the Nigeria we want our children to live in. Would you like to join me?