Mo Alim, Zach Moore, Zed EM, Zee Man, the Duke, the Don of the Airwaves, your host with the most…. the list points towards infinity. This is because he exudes a panorama of personalities that blend with any space and time he finds himself. Dovetailing seamlessly into the previous and the new brigades is this Jigawa born quintessential, velvet voiced, broadcast prodigy that we present to you.
He is Zakari Mohammed! From the stores to the studio on a rescue mission and after the rather ad hoc assignment, the young Zakari Mohammed stayed back behind the microphone and the console. From good old 45, Martins Street Lagos; to Broadcasting House Ikoyi, Lagos; to Broadcasting House in Kutunku, Gwagwalada; to Area 1 and finally the pinnacle, Radio House in Area 10 Abuja, - that is the representation of the journey that has brought Zakari Mohammed to the spot where the light shines. He has been there for the past 3 decades and counting.
After his secondary education in Ghana, he joined the crop of employees of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) as a stores clerk. He was never satisfied with the boring, uneventful, insipid and repetitive chores of stock-taking. During those days of apparent intellectual dormancy, Zack cultivated the habit of reading script writing and, most of all, listening to radio. He was thrilled by such voices as Ikenna Ndaguba of Radio Nigeria and Moris Tena of the BBC.
Once upon a time, the voice, diction and garb of our shinning star were groggy and soggy. He was auditioned by Ikenna Ndaguba of the then NBC. Believe it or not, it was observed that he had a guttural interference picked up from the many lands of his sojourn during his formative and impressionable years. His father Ibrahim Mohammed was on diplomatic missions the entire period and his mother was always there to nurture. You could describe the events of that stage of his life as nomadic but focused. In one of the conversations with his mum, he had indicated his interest in the medical profession.
Today, the irrestible magnetic field around a live microphone has captured this Duke.
After his third audition, he finally passed, became a Duty Continuity Announcer, trailing and lunching programmes, writing and voicing scripts and so on. His artiste fee as at 12 December 1977 when he left the stores for the studios was four naira (N4)! During those good old days, names like Nwora Aghadi, Tunde Olusesi, Gabriel Otaru and Jones Usen were recurrent in the professional and social life of the exuberant Zachary Muhammed.
Though he hails from Kazaure LGA in the old Kano state (now Jigawa), a better part of his life was spent in Lagos. The streets of Lawanson, Apapa, Itire, Victoria Island and of course Ikoyi will always recognize the footsteps of this dynamic broadcaster. But in an interesting irony of life, his audience and fans are always at sea when trying to do a wedlock of the voice to the man. Some people have broken down in inexplicable surprise on seeing that,
“This is the same man you hear on Radio Nigeria Network News, The man you used to hear on Radio-scope.”
A celebrated case was between a former Minister of Petroleum, Senator Jubril Aminu and our dear ZM. After an interview session with the Minister in Saudi Arabia, the following dialogue ensued:
Minister: Young man, what did you introduce yourself as?
ZM: Zakari Mohammed.
Minister: Of Radio Nigeria?
ZM: Yes sir.
Minister: No! No! No! This can’t be true. The one that reads the news at 7am?
ZM: Yes sir.
Minister: The name is bigger than the man (laughter)!
Zakari Mohammed was the first General Manager of the vibrant Kapital FM in Abuja. The first studios (as he recalls fondly) was a disused convenience at the Broadcasting House in Gwagwalada. After raising a formidable team of young broadcasters and crazy DJs, he handed over the baton to Mrs. Christiana Akpunonu who took the fledgling FM station to the 12th floor of Radio House in Garki. On the network of Radio Nigeria and on Kapital FM, this master of wisecracks has done his best to mesmerize the listener by creating and playing a split personality role.
On KFM, he is “ZM the Duke, the Don of the Airwaves, spreading glad tidings of great joy on Radio” …and so on. But on Radio Nigeria Network, it is, “The time is 9 o’clock, this is the network service of Radio Nigeria. Here is the network news read by Zakari Mohammed….”
The business-like image this sedulous personality has on the Network Service always clashes with the playful, unrestrained DJ on KFM. How he has been able to separate the two unidentical clones remains a debate in the FCT and environs.
Before his death, Zakari Mohammed was the Deputy Director Programmes in Radio Nigeria Abuja National Station. He is married to his soul mate Zainab Mohammed and between them is a physiological chip off the old block called Sheriff. This youngman is yet to display any affinity for the microphone.
Adieu Zakari, the toast of broadcasting!
Last Updated (Monday, 04 July 2011 15:02)