Juan Elegido, Senator Enyi Abaribe, Mrs Ikiebe, Ajibola Ogunshola, Aremo Segun Osiba, Sam Amuka, Dr Doyin Abiola and Femi Adesina
The Special Adviser Media and Publicity to President Muhammadu Buhari Mr Femi Adesina has called for increased collaboration between the Muhammadu Buhari administration and the media to “build a new country”.
Adesina made the call at the formal presentation September 22 of Nigerian Media Leaders: Voices Beyond the Newsroom, a book of conversations with media leaders authored by Richard Ikiebe of the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University.
“Fortuitously, this book is being presented at a watershed time in the history of the country. The no-nonsense former military ruler, who had enacted Decree 4, meant to gag and shackle the press in the performance of its legitimate duties, is now a converted democrat, and champion of freedom of that same press, seeing the institution as a vital building block in national development. Instead of an adversary, President Muhammadu Buhari has turned full circle to see the media as allies, critical partners in the quest to build a worthy new Nigeria,” the presidential spokesman stated.
Adesina seeks “a middle of the road policy, in which both institutions collaborate for the good and development of our country” rather than an adversarial relationship. He decries a situation where the media pursues the government “as something to be harassed, hounded and hunted down.”
Adesina says the Nigerian media needs to collaborate and support the Buhari government because thirty years after he persecuted the press as military head of state, Buhari has changed. “The President is now in a democratic mode and has asked for the right hand of fellowship of the media”, Adesina asserted.
The evidence for this change, according to Adesina, include
1.The government is creating “an environment that encourages freedom of the press”.
2.“There is free access to information, and no journalist is harassed or intimated, at least not from official circles. This will be maintained in the months and years ahead”.
3.The government would ensure it assists media professionals to work professionally.
4.The media played a contributory role in the emergence of the Buhari government as it “lent itself as a platform for the expression of the masses’ voices” that brought the change of government.
APC spokesman Lai Mohammed emphasized the contribution of the media in brief remarks at the event. He said the party was in full support of the book launch in appreciation of the role of the media in bringing about the change of government.
Author Richard Ikiebe said his four-volume book of first-person accounts by media leaders “seeks to fill the foundational gaps in the study of Nigerian journalism.”
Media leaders and personalities attended the event in large numbers.
Amidst the encomiums, a former Director General of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (Radio & TV), Dr. Christopher Kolade cautioned the media against the trend of focusing on reporting political parties rather than issues in governance.
Former Governor of Ogun State, Aremo Segun Osoba, extolled the book. The appointment of Osoba as editor of the Daily Times sparked a chain of events that led to the military takeover of the then foremost newspaper in Nigeria. Osoba said he was happy that the personalities involved in the disputation all now realise their mistakes and said so in their different interviews in the book.
General Manager of Vanguard newspaper, Mr Gbenga Adefaye played a central role in birthing the town and gown collaboration between the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University and the Nigerian Guild of Editors. He was then President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors. He called for more of such collaboration.
Speakers included Dr Doyin Abiola, first female to edit a national newspaper, the National Concord. She later became the managing director of the organisation. Others were syndicated columnist Mohammed Haruna, Tell magazine boss Nosa Igiebor, Mr Ray Ekpu, and Mr Sam Amuka, Publisher of Vanguard.
Guests included 18 of the media leaders interviewed in the first two volumes. They are Doyin Abiola, Sam Amuka, Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo, Betty Irabor and Mohammed Haruna. Others are Christopher Kolade, Vincent Maduka, Ajibola Ogunshola and Segun Osoba. There were also Gbenga Adefaye, Frank Aigbogun, Femi Adesina, Dan Agbese and Clem Baiye. Others are Ray Ekpu, Gbolabo Ogunsanwo, Lanre Idowu, Nosa Igiebor, and Agbeke Ogunsanwo.
The turnout Tuesday was impressive. Former Chairman of Punch Nigeria Limited Chief Ajibola Ogunshola chaired the event. There were Aremo Segun Osoba, ex-Governor of Ogun State who made his name in Daily Times, Sketch etc. Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe was a very successful chairman of the Senate Committee on Media, building bridges.
Femi Adesina, Sam Amuka, publisher of Vanguard, Gbenga Adefaye, Frank Aigbogun, Pan Atlantic University vice-chancellor Prof Juan Elegido and the dean of the School of Media and Communication Dr Ikechukwu Obiaya.
The author recognised Dr Christopher Kolade’s role in virtually dragging him into academia at the School of Media and Communication. It has been a wise move, he said, as he has enjoyed the challenge and the stimulation.
Prof Idowu Sobowale came from Covenant University, Prof Lai Oso from Lagos State University, Prof Ralph Akinfeleye came from University of Lagos/Unilag FM. There were also Prof Dayo Alao from Babcock University, Dr Bisi Olawunmi from Bowen University and Gbemiga Ogunleye from the Nigerian Institute of Journalism. Lagos State commissioner-designate Steve Ayorinde was present as were Jahman Anikulapo, former editor of The Guardian (Sunday).
Editor of The Guardian Martins Oloja registered a strong presence as did Mumini Alao of Complete Sports. Ikeddy Isiguzo, Razaq Adedigba, Pius Isiekwene, Vincent Nwanma, Uchenna Awom, Ogbenyi Egbe, Utibe Ukim, Nkanu Egbe and Temitope Lakisokun.
From the other fields were ex-Minister Dr Nike Akande, CON, Cornerstone Insurance MD Ganiyu Musa, First Bank senior executive Ngozi Obikile and Airtel Director of PR & CSR Mr Emeka Oparah.
Other personalities included Ted Iwere, Stanley Egbochukwu, Soni Irabor, Dare Babarinsa. Dr Bisi Olawunmi of Bowen University presented the book review penned by Prof Adigun Agbaje of the University of Ibadan. Others were Mr Bayo Onanuga of The News magazine and Mr Oluwaseyi Sijuade, managing director of the Nigerian Railway Corporation.