Let me start off by saying that Colonel Sambo Dasuki (rtd) deserves full punishment for diverting monies meant for prosecuting the war against Boko Haram to other uses, because by his action and inactions, the insurgency has widened and thousands of lives have been lost.
But this must happen, if and only when he is found guilty because he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. So his punishment will depend on the weight of evidence against him.
Secondly, it is important to ascertain who gave the instruction for monies meant for fighting Boko Haram to be used in campaigning for an election. That person or persons must be brought to book.
Even though as new information suggests the office of the NSA might actually be authorised to provide crisis communications.
That said, let me also point out that this piece is not about Sambo Dasuki. This is about Raymond Dokpesi, founder of Nigeria’s first indigenous radio and tv channels; Raypower and AIT.
The news is that Dokpesi has ‘confessed’ to having been paid N2.1bn to provide publicity for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the last elections. Social media has been agog since that ‘confession’ was made with many calling for Dokpesi’s head and demanding instant justice.
But instant justice for what?
Radio and TV stations are set up to inform, publicize, educate and entertain. They are commercial concerns established with profit motives. Many people shouting themselves hoarse on facebook and twitter do not realise that the bulk of Mark Zuckerberg’s $45bn fortune came from facebook ads. They do not have the faintest idea that while we post and tag and email, twitter, facebook and google are becoming the biggest advertising and media buying agencies worldwide.
In 2014 according to its published annual reports, facebook made $12.4bn in revenue. That is $3.1bn per quarter. See the report here
A report notes that “With more than $1 billion per quarter in advertising revenue and 1.2 billion monthly active users, few realize that Facebook is more than just a social networking site – it’s a shrewdly run corporation, worth more than $100 billion. The Numbers Speak For Themselves.” Source:www.business-management-degree.net/facebook/
Google ‘s annual report which is available online tells us that ““Google’s full year revenue for 2014 was $66 billion, up 19% year on year,” said Patrick Pichette, CFO of Google, “and this quarter, our revenue was $18.1 billion, despite strong currency headwinds.” International Revenues – Our revenues from outside of the United States totalled $10.23 billion, representing 56% of total revenues in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to 58% in the third quarter of 2014 and 56% in the fourth quarter of 2013. Read more here
Once again, advertising was a major revenue earner.
Twitter on the other hand which is new to the advertising cycle is cleaning out too. In 2014, the company according to Quora.com made a pile. “Researchers at EMarketer Inc. have said that in 2014, Twitter will reach $540 million in ad sales, which make up virtually all of its revenue, up from $139.5 million last year. Even so, it will take Twitter longer to generate $1 billion than bigger competitors Facebook and Google.” Source: https://www.quora.com/How-does–Twitter–earn–money-1
Why have I taken the trouble to reel out figures? Because we are conflating issues. If someone had asked you five minutes ago whether facebook was an ad buying agency you would have said no way, it’s a social media site. Now, you know better.
So, what is AIT? A PDP mouthpiece or a tv station? If it is a TV station is it set up to make money? If it is set up to make money is it really in its founder’s place to ask every tom dick and harry bearing adverts where the money came from? The answer is a huge no.
Raymond Dokpesi may well be chairman of AIT but as everyone with a modicum of business acumen knows, the chairman or CEO of a company is most often than not its de facto chief marketing officer. So, if in his capacity as chairman of AIT he brings in advert revenue amounting to over N2bn in an election year, what has he done wrong?
Oh, he was paid by the NSA. Good, who should have paid him? Who paid all the online sites who ran political ads during the elections? How many of them supplied invoices and got Purchase Orders? How many of them were paid by the campaign offices?
Before we go ahead, here are is a question for those spewing ignorance on social media. Do you know what it costs to get Channels TV or NTA or AIT to cover an event and air it for 3 minutes? I will tell you.
Channels TV News @ 10 will cost you N788,550.
NTA Network news will set you back N905,000.
AIT Network will deplete your account by about N864,000.
Now for AIT to cover a live broadcast, you will need to pay 7.5m for one hour.
Now, for the sake of the figure of N2.1bn, let us make a few calculations.
If AIT provided live coverage for PDP at N7.5m per hour, N2.1bn would have fetched PDP 2,430 hours or 101 days or just over 3 months. Remind me again, how many months did the campaign last?
If PDP used that money to buy spot ads on AIT this is what it would have cost them. A 60’’ spot ad for a product costs N365,000 on AIT. When placed during the news it costs N625,000. Now, if it is a political ad, AIT like Channels and NTA and other media houses will charge a surcharge. For AIT the surcharge is 50% thus taking the ad to N937,500.
Now, with N2.1bn PDP would have bought itself 2,240 spot ads on AIT for the 2015 elections. Have you noticed how many ads a typical telecoms company runs in a year?
I could go on and on but the point is to show how much N2.1bn can buy when it comes to adverts on a Nigerian television station.
And this is not to belittle the sum or make light of how much arms and ammunition it could have bought or how many lives it could have saved.
But the truth is those of us who pretend to be social media pundits must begin to engage the brain before typing. As the advert goes, images in the mirror can appear nearer than they are.
Many social media influencers, bloggers, and news websites ran adverts for PDP. Many printers printed posters for PDP. Many hotels provided accommodation for PDP delegates. Many airlines provided charter flights for PDP. Many caterers catered to PDP delegates. How many of them asked whether the money they were being paid was for elections or for buying arms? How many of them are being dragged before EFCC to explain why they were paid by Dasuki and not the Accountant General or whoever it is that was supposed to make those payments?
These are the questions we should ask, not these knee jerk reactions that make people look idiotic. Dokpesi did a job and was paid for it, where is the issue?
Oh, he didn’t ask where the money came from. Really?