Brekete Family! A Revolution In Nigeria’s Broadcasting Industry

 

Ordinary Ahmed in the studio with guests while addressing a case. Credits; The paradigmng.com

Brekete Family Radio programme, anchored by Ordinary Ahmad Isah, is just a unique one in Nigeria. If you call it a live radio town hall meeting, out-of-court settlement platform even a mini round table peace meeting with a microphone and anchor, you will still be correct. It is in fact, the most followed radio programme in Abuja. Someone calls in and reports injustice of any sort. The case is discussed on air, with contributions from the audience. If the case has merit, Ahmad promises to follow it up. Unlike most Nigerian politicians, he actually keeps his promise and follows the matter up, seeking adience with whoever is involved in the case, no matter how highly placed the person is, until justice was served. He then returns to the studio to announce results of the investigation on air. Listening to Ahmad on radio is like watching an American TV series, full of suspense, intrigues and climax. People weep for joy on air, live in the studio or via phone-in platforms, once justice was served. Ordinary Ahmad is a typical example of a Nigerian selflessly serving the public, sometimes at his own expense. Ahmad refers to himself as ‘Ordinary Ahmad’ or ‘Ordinary President’ to reflect the segment of the society he represents, which according to him, is the general public. He is in fact described as the voice of the voiceless by many observers and fans. He believes he is representing Nigerians from different parts of the country so he has refused to be pinned down to any state if origin. People from different parts of Nigeria bring cases to Brekete Family programme in Abuja and the issues are addressed. You just need to listen to Brekete Family on 101.1 Human Rights FM, Abuja and you will discover how extraordinary ‘Ordinary Ahmad’ is to the society.

Ordinary Ahmed in action while resolving a dispute on air.
Credits; cityvoiceng.com

About Brekete Family
Ahmad’s popularity is premised on his impressive activities as the anchor and founder of Brekete Family Programme which is also streamed live on YouTube. So what is the programme all about? Pleasures Magazine took time to do a very good, research-based piece about the programme. Read below.
Brekete Family Programme is a reality radio and TV magazine talk show that airs on Human Rights 101.1 Abuja, and is streamed live on the social media. It features real life issues and events concerning human rights. It has gained wide acceptance and mass appeal especially among ordinary Nigerians because it has a community help network which reaches out to the less privileged, and intervenes in everyday human rights abuses of downtrodden citizens.
The community network and magazine programmes have in their centre of operations a man that has garnered so much goodwill over the years among the poor masses, that he is known by Brekete Family members as the “Voice of the Voiceless”: Ordinary Ahmad Isa or Ordinary President. The “Ordinary” in his name is a vocal contraption of the class he represents.
This is what the programme represents in a nutshell. It is just like a live town hall meeting on radio where various parties air their views on matters that concern them.

Aggrieved members of the public protesting in front of Human Rights FM premises
Photo credits; Pleasures Magazine

Resolution of Cases
In terms of how this programme has impacted society, this is also an impressive finding. Ahmad and his programme have become so responsive and reliable to the extent that people even organise demonstrations in the premises of Human Rights Radio, Abuja so that Ahmad will attend to their programmes. Here is how Pleasures Magazine described Ordinary Ahmed’s achievement and impact on the society through Brekete Family Programme;
“Berekete Family has resolved many complicated societal matters. It has reconciled warring societal groups and faceoff between individual Nigerian citizens/organizations and governments (federal, state and local) and their agencies. Some parents who procreate and abandon without caring, children who fall out of control of their parents due to bad influences, people who have met injustices in their surroundings or workplaces, citizens who gloat over the misfortunes of other citizens, public officers who do not play by the rules and any person whose voice or action is not heard are all taken care of by the programme either by tutoring or enforcement through relevant organs empowered by the nation’s constitution to carry out such duties. Summarily, maltreatment from different quarters, including wrongful dismissal from office or school, pension matters or other unpaid entitlements, brutalization in the hands of some armed security operatives, wrong treatment in hospitals and other public institutions, landlord/tenant and similar disputes as well as other human right violations are effectively handled. Ahmad is the voice of the voiceless and the action of the actionless.”
This is really some form of redefinition of radio programming and presentation in Nigeria. It is truly exceptional, that someone will bring out his time, go the extra mile to tackle the needs of people in the society through his programme.

Tasking but Selfless Investigations
This is a tasking job which requires a lot to undertake the investigation but Ahmad does not take money for his investigations. It is entirely a selfless effort. According to Pleasures Magazine, Ahmad does not take money from complainants. Although 90 per cent of the programme and projects are unpaid for, he uses the remaining 10 per cent from sponsorship or advertisements to pay salaries and tax and also run the station.

The Programme is a brand
Brekete Family Programme is a brand in Nigeria. It has unique features used to differentiate it from others. The recitation of the National pledge, the pattern of greeting, and the advice which Ahmad begins with before the cases are looked into. Again, Pleasures Magazine captures these brand features here;
The programme is conducted purely in Nigerian pidgin English, with a resounding greeting of a prolonged last ‘g’ Good morning, repeated three times. This is done after the recitation of the Nigerian national pledge: I pledge to Nigeria my country…; then follows the daily advice for Nigerians: brother, sister, uncle, aunty to wake and strive for the betterment of the society. Ahmad would say: “Lazy brother…, wake up! Lazy man…, wake up! Take your life do better things!” At the end of the third greeting, the Berekete Family members in the studio would overwhelmingly reply and add these qualities to Ahmad: GCON, Double Doctor, Double Ambassador, Five Star Comrade and Senior Advocate of the masses as well as other traditional tiles. Methink what Ahmad does through this medium deserves more. He is the real vicegerent of God on earth because God is good. And he who is good is assured of God’s happiness and security.
Ordinary Ahmad also commences by shouting “Hembelembeh!” and the Berekete House replies “Olololo!!” These are trade mark expressions the Brekete family programme is known for. Both sounds according to Ahmad, have meanings which resonate on the essence of the programme. He says Hembelembeh means in the dictionary of Berekete Family “the person who has nobody has God,” while Olololo means “the person who has God has everything.”
Ahmad and his team have truly done exceptionally well through Brekete Family programme. They have introduced a turning point that has redefined the face of radio programming and programme presentation in Nigeria.

The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, (formerly Anambra State University), Igbariam Campus.

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