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The power of storytelling

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’ve always been fascinated with stories. It’s one of the reasons why in high school I jettisoned physics, chemistry, and math in favour of literature and history. The decision has served me well in my media and communication career.

I realized early on – to quote the poet Muriel Rukeyser – that “the universe is made up of stories, not atoms.”

 

 

The truth is, stories are not loaded with hard data but rather with something more powerful: emotional data. That’s why we remember good stories long after we first hear them.

 

 

Jesus was a master storyteller. At the age of 12, he theologically confounded the teachers in the Temple. But it was his capacity to tell stories that deeply stirred the souls of those who followed him. He wove familiar elements that his audience could  relate to into his stories – pastures, hills, farmers, sheep, oil and lamps, coins, bandits and highway robbers, etc.

 

 

In workshops, seminars, or conferences on public speaking or communication, my advice is always simple. “Don’t complicate your presentation. Tell stories. Your audience will thank and remember you for it.”

 

 

Whether in journalism, public speaking, or business presentations, the most effective speakers tell stories. What sets them apart is an innate understanding of the needs of their audiences. They know how to connect on an emotional and sensory level, rather than a cerebral one. How do they do it? Stories.

 

 

Sports legend and entrepreneur, Magic Johnson, the world’s richest man, Jeff Bezos, Virgin Atlantic Founder, Richard Branson, and Kenyan Pan-Africanist lawyer, Patrick Lumumba, distinguish themselves by their amazing storytelling abilities. They connect on a powerful and emotional level when they speak.

 

 

Why are stories important and so powerful?

 

 

Simply because oral tradition has been a part of our DNA for millenia. We are addicted to stories, especially in a digital world of social media dominated by Instagram, twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook. And because stories help bring issues into sharp focus.

 

 

Stories are also important because every single one of us is looking for answers. We connect with appropriate and authentic stories that help us build bonds and bridges. Stories help us recognize that our own experiences are not necessarily unique. Stories help us understand that we are not alone as we navigate this journey called life.

 

 

Good stories should always have three key elements:

 

    *Honesty, authenticity, and vulnerability:* Audiences can tell a fake from a mile away. Your unique life experiences have prepared you well. Tell your stories.

 

 

    *Inspiration:* Life is tough. Your speech or presentation should be a lift and not a burden. Give your audience something to believe in. Inspire them to want to change their world one life at a time.

 

 

    *Clear Lesson:* Before you deliver your speech or presentation, ask yourself, “what is the key takeaway? What’s the lesson I want my audience to leave with? Is it clear and easily understood? Is my logic sequential? Does the story fit the circumstance and needs of the audience? Does it resonate?

 

 

As Plato once said, “those who tell stories rule society.”

 

 

Stories make us laugh. They make us cry. They help change the way we think, perceive and act. They enlighten and provide new insights. They teach values and pass on ancient wisdom. Revolutions have changed nations on account of the narrative-changing power of stories.

 

 

Most importantly, stories transcend the mind and speak deeply to the heart.

 

 

Your authentic story is your power.

 

 

Dr. Victor Oladokun is the Director of Communication and External Relations at the African Development Bank

 

 

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Curbing violence during elections in Nigeria

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Curbing violence during elections in Nigeria

Democracy is the preferred system of government all over the world because it provides the people an opportunity to elect the leaders of their choice.

Democracy is about freedom of choice, and that choice must be made by the people in an atmosphere devoid of violence, intimidation and harassment. 

This is why I strongly condemn the violence during elections generally in Nigeria, especially during the recent governorship polls in Bayelsa and Kogi states. 

Humanity is diminished when innocent lives are lost before, during and after elections. 

Democracy and violence have nothing in common.

Desperate politicians who want to win elections at all cost arm unemployed youths to cause mayhem while their own children are safely kept abroad.

I believe that any politician who has the intention to render service to the people will not kill the same people to get to power. 

It is rather unfortunate that no single individual has been prosecuted for electoral violence since 1999 when Nigeria returned from military rule to civil government, and this has given the perpetrators the boldness to continue the evil act.

This is why government must revisit the recommendation of the Justice Uwais Electoral Reform Panel on the establishment of an Electoral Offences Commission to prosecute perpetrators of violence during elections.

I also believe that the introduction of electronic voting system will drastically reduce violence during our elections.

Elections in Nigeria must be devoid of violence and the people must exercise their franchise in an atmosphere of peace.

Nigeria should send a clear message to the international community that it is ready to sustain and deepen democracy by conducting violence-free elections.

•Osikhekha is a 200-Level student of Mass Communication at the Babcock University, Ilisan Remo, Ogun State.

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Edo: The vultures flock to the prey

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Edo: The vultures flock to the prey

St John Clarke

Criticism is a popular sport in Nigeria. The art, if it can be so-called, requires no special gifts or any particular training, for that matter. It has no regulating guild and a lack of qualification can debar no one from participating in what sometimes looks like a national pastime. What you require most, is an obsession with a cause, a crisis or in many instances, a huge load of prejudice, professionally disguised as public or community interest.

The unravelling political impasse in Edo State has continued to attract comments, both helpful and unhelpful. However, vultures are now flocking to the prey. Interventions like that of Kassim Afegbua have in particular also been a distraction and have done nothing but set the pot boiling. Fortunately his partisanship on the matter at hand is difficult to conceal or misread: We concede that Kassim Afegbua’s free ranging professional genius can adopt causes and briefs even without a contract or proper briefing.

Afegbua has issued a somewhat magisterial sounding statement on the crises in Edo State. It is ponderously titled Edo’s Political Conundrum. Even though Afegbua’s effort pretends to be an analysis of the Edo crisis, it is essentially a vicious and partisan attack on the quality and contributions of the Obaseki years. It is thus better to engage the analysis with the understanding that the presentation is an attempt by a prodigal associate of Oshiomhole to feather the nest of his political father. This rhetorical health warning is an important precursor to any unbiased appreciation of Afegbua’s philosophical drift. It is worth recalling that Kassim Afegbua was for example part of Oshiomhole’s government in 2016. He served as Commissioner for Information and Orientation. However even though Afegbua has since parted ways with Oshiomhole he more than most, understands the authoritarian streak in Oshiomhole and has sometimes called attention to this. Afegbua’s portrait of Oshiomhole is understandably composite and sometimes confusing. In an interview with Adekunbi Ero of Tell Magazine some 11 months ago, he said this of Oshiomhole 

“I will rather he allows the incumbent governor the opportunity to be his own man and take full responsibility for his actions and inactions. That’s the way to go. Once anyone meddles into the affairs of a governor, he or she carries part of the blame. I see a lot of friction coming but like one adage in my village says, if you have sacrificed a rabbit for the gods, you remove your hands from its tail.’

Afegbua in the same interview issued a warning to Comrade Oshiomhole thus:

“My quarrel with Oshiomhole is knowing when and where to apply the brakes when confronted with a political disagreement. Leaders are called leaders because of certain qualities in them that are not in others. If you fight against godfatherism on the one hand and exhibit all traits of godfatherism on the other hand; your followers won’t take you seriously.’

This stiff-necked authoritarianism, correctly identified earlier, as the root of the Edo crisis, now gets no mention in Afegbua’s latest prognosis of the difficulties in Edo. Seized by what looks like residual partisan loyalty, Afegbua has instead attacked Governor Godwin Obaseki for being able to consolidate on the gains of the Oshiomhole years. Some of the arguments leading to this conclusion are weak and sometimes laughable. Afegbua bellyaches about Governor Obaseki’s inability or refusal to tar township roads in his native Okpella, and in Freudian slip reveals that this same neglect was one of the reasons he was alienated from Oshiomhole’s government. Afegbua went on to grouse about decay in infrastructure; in health and education and flood control under Obaseki. It is a massive portfolio of grievances, and in compound terms, contained extremely unreliable and sometimes ignorant charges.

Afegbua has posited rather lamely, that if Edo State under Obaseki could not employ 400 additional teachers how could the Obaseki government claimed to have created 157,000 new jobs. Coming from Afegbua this is a grave intellectual howler. It is shocking that he associates job creation with the effort by government to directly employ people. Job creation is activated when government through public provisions opens up the economic space for business to prosper. The orthodoxy which required government to involve itself in business is now old hat. Those who can remember, will recall that Ogbemudia, perhaps our most famous son and ruler, established over 72 government businesses. Most of them were wiped out by experiential contradictions. That way is no longer the preferred route. Afegbua is invited to kindly note this. We can also bear witness to the fact that it was this same attitude of regarding the service as a welfare haven rather than a tool for expanding social good, that has landed most states in their present unsustainable condition. Recurrent expenditure has risen exponentially in relation to gravely capital provisions. This is a danger of which a technocrat like Obaseki is well aware, and laboured along with Oshiomhole to establish an equitable capital/recurrent expenditure ratio.

The charge by Afegbua that 2,520 teachers interviewed by Oshiomhole are yet to be employed under Obaseki is of little consequence. Protocols and observances require to be fulfilled before hiring is perfected. In any case, funding is an important consideration, and it is worth reflecting on what might have disabled Oshiomhole from perfecting the appointments himself. A Warri proverb says that, “When you have identified a hurdle on the highway in the daytime, you do not require illumination to avoid it at night.” No excuses, but Obaseki’s circumspection on these matters is perfectly justifiable.

But perhaps Afegbua’s most bizarre turn was his charge that insecurity in the state had risen citing the recent kidnap of a judge in the state as an indication of how badly things have gone wrong. This is clearly in violence of the understanding that security is on the exclusive list and that no residual responsibilities devolve on the state.

These arguments will continue to animate public discussions for as long as we remain active political animals. But neither the insincerity of Afegbua’s laboured prognosis nor the partisan computations of rival gangs can deny the real achievements of the Obaseki government. The reconstruction of several government buildings including the secretariat in Benin stand out.

The secretariat is one the more iconic structures in Central Benin. It has remained neglected by government after government and ultimately became an architectural scar on the face of the city scape. Other institutions such as the Benin Technical College, the Ogbe Stadium and Ekpoma township roads have also received robust attention. These recitations are essentially banal and are only deployed in response to Afegbua’s irrational denunciation of a government he regards as hostile.

Afegbua’s unreasonable impatience is typified in his disgruntlement that a Gelegele-Okpella Road, which he said Obaseki adopted as a blueprint has remained undeveloped. The project if it really was an Obaseki initiative, would require a bit of time to be realised. Oshiomhole’s Airport Road pet project covered a mere seven kilometres and was an urban initiative. It took Oshiomhole 20 months and several variations and reverses to complete. Afegbua watched patiently and saw nothing wrong. Benin-Okpella is stretch of 190 kilometres and Obaseki is only three years in office. Yet Afegbua is already straining at the leashes! With people like this, Governor Obaseki can put no foot right. Whatever goes on, Obaseki is damned!

But the citizens and residents know better. The violence which threatens to arise from the ongoing political crisis is alien to Obaseki’s nature and family environment. A technocrat and man of considerable refinement, Obaseki prefers debate and dialogue to threats and coercion. Those who seek war must look beyond and outside him. There is still a chance that peace will prevail and that people like Afegbua, no stranger to ideological somersaults, can still find accommodation in Obaseki’s large heart.

•Clarke writes from Abuja

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Where are the Awoists?

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Where are the Awoists?

Chief Obafemi Jeremiah Oyeniyi Awolowo, GCFR, was born on March 6, 1909 in Ikenne, Ogun State, Western Nigeria and died on May 9, 1987. He attended various schools including Baptist Boy’s High School, Oke-Egunya, Abeokuta; he then became a teacher in Abeokuta. Following his education at Wesley College, Ibadan in 1927, he enrolled at the University of London as an external student and graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Commerce (Hons).

He went to the United Kingdom in 1944 to study at the University of London and was called to the Bar by the honorable society of the inner temple on November 19, 1946. He founded the Nigerian Tribune in 1949 at Adeoyo, Ibadan as a private Nigerian newspaper, which he used to spread nationalist consciousness among Nigerians.Nigerian Tribune is still publishing in Nigeria. Chief Awolowo was Nigeria’s foremost Federalist. He advocated Federalism as the only basis for equitable national integration. As the leader of the Action Group party he led the damans for a federal constitution which was introduced in 1954 Lyttle Constitution, following primarily the model proposed by the Western Region Delegation led by him.

He was first Premier of Western Region. He proved to be and was viewed as a man of vision and a dynamic administrator. He introduced free primary education for all in Western Region and free health care for children. He established the first television station in Africa in 1959 and the Oduduwa Group of Companies. He built the first skyscraper called Cocoa House in Ibadan and the Liberty Stadium also in Ibadan.

When Chief Awolowo was alive, a group of young Nigerians called themselves ‘AWOISTS’ to feather their political interest. A few of them were columnists in the Nigerian Tribune newspaper. One of them became the Governor of Oyo State later in his life. Many of them got federal and state government appointments, especially when Chief Awolowo was the Vice Chairman of Federal Executive Council under General Yakubu Gowon.

After the death of Chief Awolowo, many of these so-called Awoists, thin away from weekly journey to Ikenne. Only a few of them kept fate with Mama H.I.D Awolowo.

As soon as Mama H.I.D Awolowo too passed to the great beyond, the so-called Awoists were nowhere to be found. That is human nature for you.

Many of the so-called Awoists did not imbibe the culture and nature of Chief Awolowo. All the three children of Chief Awolowo I know (they do not know me) attended public schools, like other children in Western Region as soon as free primary education started. Even though the first private primary school in Ibadan was just across the road to the residence of the Awolowos, instead, they attended N.A. Teachers Training Practicing School Oke-Ado, Ibadan. Chief Awolowo did not employ a private teacher for his children, Tola, Tokunbo and Oluwole. The three of them always trek from Oke-Ado near Ibadan Boys High School to Oke-Bola, Seventh day Adventist primary school under Mrs. Ogunsola and trek back after lessons.

Mama H.I.D Awolowo would come and check the progress of her wards. I remembered day the ball we were playing off the field and stopped between Mrs. Ogunsola and Mama H.I.D’s legs. We were afraid to go and get the ball. Mama H.I.D Awolowo threw the ball to us on the field. Her remark that day is still ringing in my ear. She said, “We may not know Thunder Balogun may arise amongst these children.”

When Chief Awolowo’s contemporaries were celebrating their joy of becoming billionaires, he celebrated 25 years of free education in Western Region.

Many of his contemporaries were not remembered again in history. But, free education introduced by Chief Awolowo continues to put him forward as the real Asiwaju of the Yoruba.

•Dr. Ajai writes from Lagos.

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What sanctions for sex between consenting adults?

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What sanctions for sex between consenting adults?

should think that this revolution in sexuality and its manifestations in Nigeria are getting out of hands. Sex is a great staple in human affairs and excites great amount of interest and emotions whenever it is in issue. Sex revolution comes with social changes as happened with several cultures and at different epochs. The United States had its sex revolution in the 1960s when the young and the not-too-young seized the moment to experiment with sex especially in the entertainment industry.

But I doubt if the manifestations we are currently seeing in this sex revolution in Nigeria were the case in the United States. History records those hip-hop music stars, boxers and wrestlers, etc. dressing in weird ways and freely engaging the opposite sexes in sexual relationships became the custom and tradition. It was also during that period in the 1960s that the craze for large families by way of couples having many children otherwise called the “baby-boomers” was a fad. History did not record that those that lived this cultural revolution engaged in rape, incest, paedophile, etc. as has become the case in Nigerian since year 2000. The sex revolution in Nigeria is becoming something that even history will be ashamed to record as the social history of Nigeria.

The stories that have saturated the electronic and print media were, and still are stories that rend the heart in perversity and depress the soul. In one case, a father impregnates the daughter, or ward such as a maid or 60-year-old man defiled a 7 years old child and the list goes on interminably.

The academic communities of Nigeria are not spared as this sex revolution has seized it as it should ordinarily. Chukwuemeka Ike in Toads for Super rightly captured the freedom to live as humans in the twilight of colonial and newly independent Nigeria using the university people in freely expressing their sexuality as opposed to the reserved traditional cultural background of various Nigerian ethnic communities that regarded sex as merely means of procreation and not recreation.

Now, one of the major problems confronting universities in Nigeria is the corruption of the academic culture and environment. Sex is now used as a means to achieve advancement or promotion in academic matters such as a student getting a good or better grade or admissions in exchange for sexual favours. It has happened in Obafemi Awolowo University, University of Lagos, etc. This unhealthy exchange between a lecturer and his student is unlawful. Sexual relationship should ordinarily be freely contracted and broken off at will except when such has been concertized in legal marriage which is a contract that can only be annulled or dissolved upon the happening of certain prescribed events or circumstances or conditions between the parties which only the courts can determine. We do not even want to broach the idea of “free love” as postulated by some Marxist sociologists who dreamt of the world experiencing a period when men and women like other animals like dogs, fowls, goats, cows, etc. freely engage in unrestrained and unreserved sexual relationships without preconditions.

Sex between consenting adults is a freedom arising from the fundamental rights to associate; to privacy; to human dignity and expression of conscience. So, where consenting adults agree and engage in sex there can be no sanctions for their actions in realisation of that object of their desires. But the decision to relate and have sex must be free of all corruptive circumstances such as fraud, coercion, oppression, duress or intimidation. Where it is tainted with any of the above conditions or such like, then the relationship and the subsequent act of sexual relation becomes an offence or crime punishable under the laws. But so long the actions leading to sexual relationship and the actual sex were not tainted with any or all of the above conditions the law is helpless because the law presumes that the consenting adults in the sex relationship are eminently qualified to make that decisions for themselves regardless of the opinions of others no matter their moral standpoints or reservations.

It is in the light of the foregoing; it was with consternation that one reads the story about an undergraduate student in one of the country’s universities who impregnated his lecturer and the school authority reacted by summoning him before a disciplinary committee which punished him with expulsion from the school. This punishment is clearly improper. The news report did not carry the full facts of the case except as stated that the undergraduates whose university was not mentioned had been punished with expulsion for impregnating his lecturer. In the report, the boy protested his innocence declaring that the female lecturer lured him, threatened him and finally blackmailed him to have sex with her even to the point of requesting that she be impregnated.

I would not know what offence the undergraduate committed if the facts as presented be the true representation of their relationship? Is the offence as considered, determined and punished because the ‘victim’ is a lecturer? Or that a student is prohibited by law not to relate with his lecturer or to have sex with her? If such be the case, then such must be a bad law. Sex between consenting adults whether the parties are lecturers and students cannot be an offence unless it is shown that it was not consensual or that the relationship and the sexual act were fainted with fraud, duress, intimidation or blackmail, and in that case it becomes rape. But once it is free from any of the above stated condition the student and the lecturer are free to engage themselves in sexual relationship and there can be no sanctions for that relationship because it is their fundamental right to so relate.

We must acknowledge that Nigeria is undergoing a very trying period in its history when so many factors have conspired to render Nigeria “ungovernable” and the society in an irredeemable social ferment but descending to the level of lawlessness in handling the outcomes of ordinary social relations is certainly to kill a fly with a sledge hammer in the guise of fighting corruption as this unnamed citadel of knowledge was trying so hard but in a very wrong way to prove. Let no one make an offence out that which can certainly be no offence in law, public morality and common sense. 

In conclusion, we urge the university that handed down the sanction against the student to rescind it. To us, considering the fact presented in the report, the victim was the student and not the lecturer as she did not report she was raped or forced under coercion or fraud to contract the sexual relationship with the poor boy. If anything, it is the female lecturer that should be punished for deceiving the hapless boy into a sexual relationship she knew all along was experimental. Perhaps, she has been married but had been unable to conceive a pregnancy hence she contracted this poor boy to experiment to prove her fertility. And just when her experiment proved positive she now turned round to throw away her specimen and instruments used in the successful experiment because they have served their purposes.

This is callous and amoral but the university must not allow itself to be so cheaply used by a desperate and unconscionable woman. For the umpteenth time, sex between consenting adults is no offence.

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Its Time to do more

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By Edward Onoja

The 2019 Kogi State Gubernatorial Elections have come and gone.We thank the Almighty God and our good people on the reelection of Governor Yahaya Bello for a second term in office, with me as his Deputy.

Throughout the campaigns His Excellency premised his request for a second term on the promise to do more and as his loyal follower I echo that resolve. However, the 2nd term starts after Inauguration on the 27th of January, 2020. Till then, our determination and duty is to serve out this current term as strongly and as successfully as possible.

As at today, neither His Excellency nor myself have any other desire other than completing our existing mandate with excellence and then improving on our performance in the one to come. In fact, the serious business of providing good governance to the people of Kogi State has since commenced.

I do not have anything against destiny but God-given destiny is an honour which no man takes upon himself. In fact, destiny is a ‘shy spirit’ which likes to hide itself. It has a way of meeting a man while he is engaged in his dutiful routine of today while doing everything to evade those who go running around looking for it.

One of my favourite Bible characters, is David. The story of how he became King of Israel when nobody, including his father, gave him a chance is a classic tale of destiny finding and uplifting somebody while totally writing off others.

David was away in the fields doing his normal job of tending sheep when destiny came in the form of Prophet Samuel to anoint a king from among the sons of Jesse, his father. After they did everything to push the prophet to anoint another person, he discovered the family had a last son whom they did not even believe had any glory in his future. Prophet Samuel directed them to fetch David and immediately he arrived the Holy Spirit identified him for the job and the rest is history.

The point I am trying to make here is that I, Edward DAVID son of Onoja, am not in agreement with those who have started ‘seeing a bison’ for 2023 and making provocative permutations for me. 2023 is a river, when we get to it God will show us how to cross it. For now, allow me to settle down and do the current job my boss has assigned to me.

Permit me to ask, can any of us tell what will happen tomorrow? As a Believer, I have learnt never to be ahead of the One who sees the hidden things of the dark and who owns the future. It’s the fastest way to truncating ones destiny.

Henceforth, I will walk out anyone who visits me and so much as mentions plans for a 2023 project that no mortal has control over. ..Not even the next moment can you guarantee!

I pray the souls of those who passed on before, during and after the Elections Rest In Peace. I equally thank God for sparing the life of my wife and many others from the bullets of hired mercenaries.

Let me use this medium to send a reply to those who have started peddling rumours of an imaginary rift between me and my boss. These victims of a febrile imagination are pathetic. If they don’t say His Excellency is angry with Edward, they will say Edward has fallen out with H.E, or both. ”Dem swear for some people?”. How do they come up with such barefaced lies?

I consider it the worst form of disrespect and a devious act for me to ever be at loggerheads with my boss. Yes, His Excellency calls me his Siamese Twin brother and yes, he grants me grand and unfettered access to his person and counsel, but till I die, I will NEVER take that for granted and I will consider these as privileges to be nurtured, but NOT rights to be demanded.

For the records, there is only one Governor in the whole of Kogi State and that is none other than His Excellency, Governor Yahaya Bello.The rest of us in the New Direction Administration are co-labourers he has engaged to join him in this great work. As his helpers, we are expected to work hard and conform to the norms of teamwork.

The laws of the land clearly indicate that in governing the state none of us can ever become the Governor’s equal in authority, much less confront him in disagreement. Any unruliness or deviation is to be handled with alacrity, while anyone whose assignment is concluded is let go.

So, let it be clear to those who are carrying rumours of a quarrel between my boss and I , that their devilish desires will perish with themselves. As God Almighty lives, they will never live to see any division between His Excellency and I, as I know my place and I am professionally inclined to observe my bounds per time.

My boss, my Governor, Alhaji Yahaya Bello, has my undiluted love and respect forever. As for his own love for me, I have discovered that the more my stewardship increases in faithfulness to him, the more his love for me increases. In that case, the magic formula for me is simple – to increase my loyalty, competence and capacity more and more.

Fortunately, both His Excellency and myself are Godly politicians. After the unprecedented victories we have enjoyed from the Almighty, what do we have to quarrel about? We have broken records. Who else has seen the startling margins we have recorded in Kogi State before?

We started our electoral dominance from the Lokoja/Koto federal constituency by-election in August 2018 in which APC polled 26,860 to the paltry 14,845 votes received by our closest rival, the PDP.

The next test of our acceptance came in the 2019 General Elections and by God’s grace, we came forth in flying colours. We effortlessly delivered President Buhari who bested Atiku Abubakar of the PDP with over 80,000 votes in Kogi State alone.

After that we executed a decisive takeover of the national and state legislative apparatus of Kogi State with a historic win. 2 out of 3 Senators, 7 out of 9 House of Representatives members and 25 out of 25 House of Assembly members swelled the ranks of the APC after that elections.

We proceeded to the Elections Tribunal and made a clean sweep of the 3 Senatorial seats in the state as Senator Smart Adeyemi dislodged former Senator Dino Melaye of the PDP who the courts agreed got it initially by foul means.

With this grand chronicle of achievements under the leadership of His Excellency and our head tactician, all we have is gratitude. We have no room, reason or time to quarrel. I am even more loyal and humble in service to my boss now than ever before and my boss has become even more generous and magnanimous to me.

I also hear that some busybodies claim that I am not happy with my promotion to the exalted office of Deputy Governor of Kogi State. In their minds, I would have preferred to remain in my former office as the Chief of Staff to the Governor…please can you breathe the other way? Your ignorance is bleaching my hair!

Let me state without equivocation that, I am ecstatic to be addressed as, His Excellency, Edward David Onoja, the Deputy Governor of Kogi State even when mere mortals thought I was too small for the office! They lobbied my ’Oga’ to bring ‘more qualified individuals’, but “God pass them”. I am forever grateful to my boss for finding me worthy of elevation to the number 2 position in our state. How can I ever find it in me to nurse anger or resentment against such a destiny helper?

Yes, I diligently did my job and held my head high as Chief of Staff to the Governor. It is always like that when you work with a people developer like Governor Yahaya Bello. With leaders like Governor Yahaya Bello, every position filled is a masterclass in leadership selection but he must first find you worthy and trustworthy.

Another thing is that my position today is the biggest commendation ever for my performance in my former office. If I did poorly, will my boss elevate me? Who promotes somebody who failed them to a higher office?

My relationship with His Excellency dates back to 2003 in the North Central City of Markurdi in Benue State. Neither of us suspected that 16 years later we will be saddled by the Almighty God Himself with the Herculean task of building a United Kogi State characterised by Peace, Progress and Prosperity.

Detractors who are trying to chop down this mighty iroko today by plucking off a few fruits and leaves here and there are wasting their time. Our roots go down to the bedrock of divine favour and human labour. I am amazed myself at the length the Almighty God has gone to preserve us and the assignment He has given us.

My friendly warning to our would-be foes is to repent and desist. Without exception, every single hand which has risen against us on this journey have turned leprous and made the owners outcasts in society. One funny fellow once declared that ‘anybody fighting Bello is fighting God’. I believed him and I have been properly guided since then. Sadly, he did not believe himself and after getting himself into too many troubles in his vain attempts to fight us, he was finally and spectacularly disgraced from relevance and reckoning just last weekend.

As for those who have begun to lobby for offices in the coming dispensation, just note that there is nothing wrong with that one but if your strategy is to bad mouth others with fabricated lies and all manner of falsehoods, do yourself a favor and evaluate yourself first. What did you better than others in the last 4 years, including your performance at the polls. Just to avoid heartbreak o.

“The lines are fallen unto us in pleasant places; yea, we have a goodly heritage.” Psalms 16:6.

Finally, let us remember that God has indeed blessed us as a state but it is in our hands to make or mar our destiny.

It’s Time To Do More!

ONOJA EDWARD DAVID (CIK)
Olimene Attah Igala.
Deputy Governor,Kogi State

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Social media: Its technicalities, intricacies

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Social media: Its technicalities, intricacies

 

 

I

t’s not anymore news that the electronic media sector has graciously welcomed another section in its day-to-day operations known as the social media otherwise referred to as the “new media”.

 

In recent times, the social media have seemingly dominated the information world. It is conspicuously distinct from other existing media networks – including the print and broadcasting – in various ways.

 

For instance, it operates in a dialogic transmission mode – many sources to many receivers – in contrast to print and electronic media that operate under a monologic transmission mode, one source to many receivers. It can simultaneously connect as many sources and receivers as possible.

 

There are numerous positive roles of social media networking in nation building. Though it’s a relatively new advancement in technology, it has made the world seem like just a minute clan owing to its ability to simultaneously connect millions of people from different localities across the globe, as well as spread news within a shortest time frame.

 

Hence, it makes information go viral that it could be assessed from any locality. It enables one to reconnect with his/her old time friend or schoolmate. In addition, it helps people to stay connected to each other at all times.

 

Social networking is a great way to meet entirely new individuals and entities. One can easily discover persons or groups that are into his social/business interests. Online dating is currently more common than the traditional pattern of dating, and it’s worthy of note that many happily married couples today met online.

On the other hand, social media is at the moment the fastest and easiest way to promote goods and services; and it gives such products a different dazzling look, thereby encouraging the audience to patronize them.

 

 

Entertainers these days don’t need to be on television/radio before they could be heard; they can globally market their brands online with ease. The most fascinating part of it remains that the brand in question would be known by countless countries within a twinkle of an eye.

 

The social media equally helps to catch and convict criminals. People are usually ignorant of the consequences of what they post online. Often times they post, albeit ignorantly, pictures or videos of themselves doing illicit things. In the same vein, they also place bragging posts regarding various ‘minor’ crimes they have committed.

 

The law enforcement agencies invariably visit these sites towards fishing out the bad eggs as well as to trace a suspected culprit. The sites also assist the agencies while prosecuting any suspect in their custody.

 

However, it’s imperative to note that there are equally negative impacts of social media on mankind and the society at large. There are several falsehoods on various social media platforms; such information or propaganda can stir up panic and severe misinformation in the affected area.

 

For instance, in the just concluded 2019 general election in the country, the social media was deeply involved in misinforming the people as regards collation cum announcement of election results which remains the statutory obligation of the electoral umpire, thereby overheating the polity.

 

Although it helps to start new relationships, it had on the contrary succeeded in ruining or terminating various other existing relationships. The ability to easily share people’s privacy, such as nude pictures and videos, on social sites has constituted several nuisances in people’s real life. It suffices to say that it puts trust to a limit.

 

Cyber bullying is not left out. Having access to people’s lives at all times is not encouraging, because such avenue helps many online fraudsters to lure their potential victims into their net, hence taking advantage of their vulnerability.

 

Sometime in 2012, one Miss Cynthia Osokogu was reportedly cajoled to a hotel room via social media. At the said venue, she was brutally gang raped and therein murdered by the fraudsters. Similarly, people are duped through social networking under the guise of ‘buying and selling’. The fact that you are not seeing who you are conversing with is enough reason to worry.

 

Prospective employers use the social media to scrutinize, and consequently discriminate their intending employees. They would delve into the profile of the jobseeker and by so doing, would acquire all the needed private information about him or her.

 

Employers always use this mechanism to their advantage and in most cases, to the detriment of the applicant. Among all, one of the greatest plights attached to the social media remains that people are fast becoming addicted to it. This kind of craze causes a lot of distractions for people in their respective fields of endeavour.

 

On the other hand, most people while conveying messages on social media prefer using symbols, smileys, abbreviations or what have you, to writing words in full. This syndrome has gone a long way in causing a great decline in the people’s grammatical ability.

 

Hacking is another worrisome factor that can’t be overlooked while discussing the social media. Internet hackers can intercept your account under a certain guise or by gaining access to your password. Considering that most users of the social media aren’t professionals indicates that people are liable to constantly fall victim.

 

It would be ideal to regulate the day-to-day usage of the social media with a view to sustaining decency and legality. All stakeholders to include families, communities, schools and religious bodies are required in implementing the proposed regulation.

 

Aside legislation, the leadership of the above key institutions can institute a law binding the users of social media within their respective jurisdictions. The parents/guardians, for instance, can determine when and where cell phones should be used by their wards. Self-control will also help to avert several misfortunes that could befall the users of the platform. 

 

Above all, individuals, groups and corporate organisations are advised to maintain a complicated password on their various accounts and endeavour to change it regularly, to avoid hacking.

 

 

The social media is undoubtedly a viable and remarkable platform for all forms of communication and information dissemination, hence its existence needs to be upheld.

 

However, the intrigues, intricacies, technicalities as well as technologies of the platform call for holistic caution and wisdom while deploying its use. Think about it!

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December rush and the fear of imported wives

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December rush and the fear of imported wives

 

D

ecember is here again. It is that time of the year when young Nigerian men in the diaspora like to go back to their country of origin to celebrate Christmas with loved ones. For some, it is a good time to look for a bride to settle down with. Having formalized their residency, they are ready to start raising a family. Often the bride is someone they had known before they travelled abroad in search of greener pasture. It may also be someone they had met on social media or a girl concerned relatives had identified as the right bride. For cultural reasons, some Nigerians prefer to go back to get a wife rather than marry Nigerian women they met abroad. The excuse is always that such women are too westernized in their ways and are no longer amenable to the African cultural demands in matrimony.

 

 

Some men bring the women with only high school diploma and send them to school in the United States at great cost to increase their earning power. Ironically, brides from Nigeria tends to change as well once they cross to the western world. African culture with its family orientation, female submissiveness and male entitlement is very different from the American culture. Trouble begins when the woman gets here only to discover that the free-spending guy that swept her off her feet in Nigeria is actually not as rich as he had pretended. The disappointment is compounded when the woman discovers that not only is she more educated and can earn more, the man is either a struggling cab driver or factory worker living from paycheque to paycheque.

 

 

On the other hand, the man is shocked to see the seemingly meek woman she brought from Nigeria changing after being influenced by those she interacts with outside the home. In some cases, merely getting a job and attaining financial independence is enough to upset the dynamics of the marital relationship. There is something intoxicating about American culture that makes some Nigerian women giddy like someone under the influence of alcohol when they get here. Freed from the shackles of patriarchy, its gender-defined roles and its subordination of wives under the authority of their husbands, some women go haywire and begin to question the authority of the husband.

 

 

The stress of living in the United States imposes serious strain on African marriages, particularly for those who are unable to adapt to the American way. There are no defined roles in marriage among Americans. Women here are not confined to the kitchen or the other room. Kitchen roles apply to husband and wife. If you are hungry, make your own food, especially if both of you have jobs. And the husbandly expectation in the other room is at your wife’s pleasure. If she does not want it, you simply cannot have it. You can’t use force or claim your right to it. Marital rape is a serious crime in the United States and it carries a long prison sentence.

 

The consequence is that the imported wives refuse to play the matrimonial game by the African culture. Since they both have to work to pay bills, he cannot actually claim to be the breadwinner. It’s even worse if he earns less than his wife. They begin to squabble often as the man is unable to assert his authority as the man of the house.

 

The end result is constant conflict, emotional and physical abuse in some cases, sometimes interspersed with the police being invited by the woman or concerned neighbours. The end-result is separation after the man had grown tired of the harassment. Marriages that had been stable in Nigeria for decades before the couples decide to relocate can pack up in less than one year in the U.S.

 

Unfortunately, spousal murder is increasingly becoming a regular occurrence in the Nigerian immigrant community. Between 2005 and 2017, close to 20 Nigerian women have been reported killed by their Nigerian husbands, mostly by being stabbed or shot. America may be the land of opportunities. But it is also a graveyard of African matrimony.

•Dr. Raufu, a former Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief of National Mirror Newspapers, is of the Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas, United States

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Could the private sector fill Nigeria’s $31bn annual infrastructure gap?

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Could the private sector fill Nigeria’s $31bn annual infrastructure gap?

Nigeria’s Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Raji Fashola recently commissioned public roads built by a private citizen, Chief Ade-Ojo. For decades, Nigerians have looked up to the government to provide necessary infrastructures. But things seem to be changing, at least following Fashola’s call on private citizens to supplement state efforts.

Nigeria has an enormous infrastructure deficit that would require annual spending of at least $31 billion and the government is already neck-deep in debt.

According to the World Bank, the country’s infrastructure deficit may reach a whopping $878 billion by 2040. A viable way for Nigeria to fill this gap in infrastructure in light of the rising debt, as advised by Fashola, would be through the support of individuals and corporations.

Should Nigerians, however, take to building public infrastructures, it would not be the first time such help is rendered by non-state bodies. Unleashing the powers of the private sector through infrastructure investment, meanwhile, is a part of development stories in the west.

In 1896, Nikola Tesla built a hydroelectricity power station at Niagara Falls in order to provide public electricity for New York City. Thirteen years earlier, Thomas Edison commissioned the first public electricity project in the world while inspiring the first hydropower station built by another American businessman, H.J Rogers on the Fox River in Wisconsin. Many of the railroads and steel bridges in America were built in like manner by private citizens.

Similarly, though, Public-Private Partnerships in the United Kingdom (UK) has led to the private sector investing £56 billion in 700 UK infrastructure projects. With the huge infrastructure deficit in Nigeria, there is a lot of room for private capital investments.

The importance of private participation in state-building should not be lost.

But now that private university founders like Chief Ade-Ojo are venturing into building public roads, too, it is instructive to note that the oldest private university in Nigeria started in 1999. Whereas, in 20 years, 79 private universities have been built in Nigeria. The private sector has built 36 more universities since 1999 than all 43 federal universities built since 1914.

Clearly, there is no doubt that with the right policy environment, this feat can be replicated in building roads, seaports, railways, power supply, and other hard infrastructures.

As we have seen with the new private universities, financial institutions, and entertainment outlets, job creation is a dependable outcome when private corporations invest in an endeavour. Investing in hard infrastructure could provide thousands of jobs that would, in turn, help the average household income, which is currently appalling. These investments could accelerate Nigeria’s industrialization.

Meanwhile, Nigerians should do away with the wrong premise that the government has unlimited wealth at its disposal, hence it should assume all development responsibilities. This would only encourage indiscriminate state borrowing would accelerate.

Not only does the borrowed funds lead the country into a huge debt burden over time, but it also susceptible to be embezzled or diverted by officials when it is aplenty. Nigeria’s debt profile is already a staggering N25 trillion. We would not want to blow that over.

Private sector investments in infrastructure, nonetheless, provide a healthy alternative to borrowing. With the private sector complementing the state in infrastructural developments, the government can focus more on creating an enabling environment and increasing funding for other necessities like education and health.

Indeed, Nigerians need to change their view on the role of the government in development. Moving the country forward is everyone’s homework.

*Feyisade Charles Adeyemi is a writing fellow at African Liberty and a lecturer at Elizade University. He is on Twitter @Thisischale.

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Now that the A’Court has affirmed Ganduje’s victory

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Now that the A’Court has affirmed Ganduje’s victory

When on Friday, November 22, the Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna affirmed the verdict of Kano State Governorship Election Petitions Tribunal which on October 2, validated the re-election of Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, the news did not come to many as a surprise. In fact, before I set out for Kaduna to witness the verdict, I was fully convinced that victory would come our way, having witnessed all the tribunal proceedings in Kano as well as the meticulous manner which the chairperson of the panel, Justice Halima Shamaki and her team delivered justice.

In the article I wrote immediately after the tribunal verdict entitled, “Kano Guber Tribunal Verdict: A Case Of No Appeal,” I had advised the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its gubernatorial candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf to accept the verdict of the tribunal in good faith because it was crystal clear that they have no case to appeal.

Recall that Justice Shamaki upheld the re-election of Governor Ganduje, declaring that his victory in the March 23 supplementary election was lawful and valid. Justice Shamaki also added that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) acted within the ambits of the law to have declared Governor Ganduje the winner of that election having scored the highest votes.

The PDP and its candidate could not produce direct evidence to substantiate and prove to the tribunal that they were not defeated in the March 23 supplementary election. But what they succeeded in doing was to invoke presumptions in their failed attempt to subvert the cause of justice. In a unanimous judgement, the tribunal struck out all the petitions which were based on speculations and held that the petitioners failed to give the number of votes cast for March 9 election by tendering Certified True Copies (CTC) of the result sheets. The chairman of the tribunal further held that results in some areas like Wudil, Mangwa, Nasarawa and Gama Wards presented were not the Certified True Copies.

Interestingly, the Court of Appeal sitting in Kaduna affirmed the re-election of Governor Ganduje. The appellate court dismissed the 24 grounds of appeal filed by the PDP and its candidate, Abba Kabir Yusuf. I can recall that on November 18, the court commenced hearing of the appeal against the October 2 judgement of Election Petitions Tribunal headed by Justice Shamaki. ​I observed and listened​ carefully to the adoption of the petition by counsels to the petitioners. I also listened to the responses by counsels to the All Progressives Congress (APC), INEC and Governor Ganduje. From their presentations, I was convinced that the respondents would emerge victorious.

Expectedly, in a unanimous judgement on Friday, the chairman of the Appeal Panel, Justice Tijjani Abubakar, upheld the judgement of the tribunal, insisting that Governor Ganduje was validly elected.

Now that the Appeal Court has upheld the election of Governor Ganduje, my candid advice to the PDP and its candidate is to once again, accept defeat and join hands with the progressives to take Kano to the Next Level. The Court of Appeal has affirmed the judgement; and I am 100 per cent confident that even at the Supreme Court, the verdict will remain the same. I have read in the social media that they are considering approaching the Supreme Court. To me, I believe that would amount to waste of time and resources because the judgements of the Tribunal and the Appeal Court were clear enough.

What we should begin to commend is the magnanimity of Governor Ganduje who has promised to run an all-inclusive government. The leadership of our great party, the APC, has also promised to welcome anybody who decided to join the Next Level train. Already, we are aware that a good number of them are willing to join us. There are vacancies in the train of victory and we will be willing to welcome them to join hands with Governor Ganduje to rebuild Kano and give our dear state its befitting status of a Mega City. The time to regain the lost glory of Kano has come. It is instructive that we disallow ourselves to become agents of distraction. The Ganduje administration is built on the tenets of democracy and rule of law. We view the opposition as no threats. We welcome constructive criticisms of those who decided to stay on the other side, but it is pertinent to note that our resolve in the Next Level government is to take Kano to greater heights.

•Malam Garba is Kano State Commissioner for Information.

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Fighting off the throes of death…

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CONTINUED FROM YESTERDAY

 

 

 

The Figures  Can Be Better… (Market Trends)

To compound the woes of the media, profitability which is key to vibrancy, freedom and independence is poorly because of decline in advertising revenue.  Data from MEDIA FACTS- an authoritative publication of MediaReach OMD which covers Nigeria, Ghana, Cameroon, Benin, Ivory Coast, Togo  and 17 other West and Central African countries, provides insight into how the media business fares, particularly with advertising support- the lifeblood of media business.

Over a five-year period of 2014 to 2018, for instance, total ad spend actually moved from a total of N93 billion in 2014 to N97.9 billion in 2015 and began a steady decline to N91 billion in 2016, N88 billion in 2017 and N81 billion in 2019.

A further review showed for TV a 12% increase in 2015 over 2014; -19.2% decrease in 2016 over 2015; 6.4% rise in 2017 over 2016 and -12.3% decrease over 2017 figures in 2018. Radio showed  similar market characteristics: 24.8% growth in 2015 over 2014; -16.6% decline in 2016 over 2015; -1.7% decline in 2016 over 2015 and -18.4% sharp drop in 2018 over 2017.

Press had -8.1% drop against in 2014 in 2015; -23.6% fall in 2016 against 2015, further drop by -2.9% in 2017 against 2016 and 18.4% increase in 2018 over 2017.

It is instructive here that whereas there was observed decline in investment over 2017 on all media except press which recorded a significant growth of 18.4% as advertisers and politicians alike leveraged the Print media for pre-election campaigns, TV remains the vehicle with the most investment year on year, especially for its audio-visual appeal.

We can flesh it further. Despite TV being the lead medium because of its audiovisual properties, a 10-year review by Media Monitoring Services (MMS) revealed that the compounded annual growth rate shows a 2.9%decline as well as 12.2% decline year-on-year between 2018 and 2017. 

Media investment in Radio medium recorded 2.3% decline compounded annually between 2009 and 2018.

Print is interesting as it presents a relationship of better fortune at election cycles: 2009(N15.8bn); 2010(N16.5bn); 2011(N15.4bn); 2012(N9bn); 2013(N18.5bn); 2014(N25.5bn); 2015(N23.7bn); 2016(N18.1bn); 2017(N17.6bn); and 2018 (20.8bn).

Yes, investments in the print platform grew significantly by 3.1% compounded annually between 2009 and 2018 but the observed significant growth in print investments in years prior to elections in Nigeria is 4% year-on-year for 2010 over 2009; 39% for 2014 over 2013 and 18% growth of 2018 over 2017.

And if we match cost of doing business which has more than doubled against these investments, the corresponding financial distress  precipitate inability to meet fiduciary obligations to both staff and the state.

A financially distraught media can  be of little use to itself and a liability to the society at large. So much for media economics!

The operating environment:

Our libertarian media mix, for its plurality,  remains attractive for a vibrant and free press that promotes democracy in multi ethnic, multi religious society; one that fulfills the peculiar demand to hold the government accountable to the people, though operating in a shrinking space.

The challenge is that of sequencing or appropriate agenda setting by a distressed media.

There is a paradox though: the print has a rich cemetery of the old players, reflected in the shrinking membership of the Newspapers Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN). Broadcast on the other hands is recording new entrants into the market notwithstanding doubtful  profitability outside Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt, where I understand, there are no more spectrums.

For numbers, Television is rich  with over 120 plus operational terrestrial TV stations inclusive of one federal network service (NTA with a total of 101 stations, three privately owned network services (AIT, STV and Galaxy); 37 state-owned stations, 36 plus private stations, 34 MMDS/wireless cable service providers, over 137 Satellite TV stations, more than 42 private stations.

Radio has over 100 licensed radio stations – one federal network (FRCN with 41 individual stations, over 63 state-owned stations on AM and FM bands; over 60 privately owned stations, nine community stations.

The  NBC has, in  the last five years, added a total of 243 provisional licenses to broadcast entrepreneurs. In 2015 for example, 187 FM radio licenses were granted while there were 31 for campus radio, 13 for community radio; in 2016, two IPTV or web licenses were granted. 2017 recorded one IPTV (web) and in 2018:  146 FM radio licenses, 10 DTT (National); six DTT regional; 38 DTT (Local); 16 campus radio licenses, 24 community radio licenses, one (1) national network and two IPTV web.

The  print not only struggles as business entities,  the print runs, are  running out. The membership of the NPAN says volume to the attrition rate of the print media.

Our leading brands, like Nigerian Tribune, The Punch, The Guardian, Vanguard, Daily Trust, ThisDay, BusinesDay, The Nation, SUN, New Telegraph, Peoples Daily, Blueprint, being publications of record remain powerful, influential to the extent of their shrinking reach.

Generally, operating as undercapitalised, small businesses, many of our brand leaders may really not be bigger than some micro finance houses. There is no economy of scale in this import-dependent business where the only variable being controlled is salary and wages.

Although, the survival strategy of collaboration through multi plant operations, is in view for some, the challenges of logistics for delivery of expensively produced products are still unnerving. Poor trade, low capacity precipitate a weak media environment.

The internet and the social media disruption.

While we are it, our media space has experienced a grand disruption by the Internet and the social media with significant consequences for the traditional media. While brand leaders in the traditional media are gasping, attempting to acquire assets on the Internet through digital convergence, emerging brands not necessarily in printed format  but on the Internet are signposting a new era of robust engagement for freedom and independence; putting the state in check.

The authentic global village or virtual village square has birthed on the Internet and the social media and this has become the ultimate media: affordable, accessible and democratic. And if you consider that the Global State of Digital in 2019 discovered 98.39 million Internet users in Nigeria, four million more than 2018, with 54% access the internet on a daily basis while 24 million (12%) have active social media account, then you can appreciate the value of the Internet/social media disruption.

It is the reason for the sudden rise of the state against media freedom.

What can we do?

Like Repucci said, of power abuse especially against the media is inevitable in all societies. Nigeria manifest own strand in the rash of attacks and the current legislative onslaught like the Hate Speech and Social Media Bills. What is required of us all is eternal vigilance and rally for ourselves and the society we seek to protect while we try to be as professional as we can be.

Conclusion:

For me, ours is a landscape of growth in number, despite  harsh economic indicators. There may be variances in the spread of fortunes of the media, the increasing number of electronic media and new media signifies confidence in media development. We just must perfect our act of competition that is fair, equitable and serves public good.

Two, the global village is real and virtual. However, the virtual Village Square meeting can define and refine own rules of engagement. Then we can defend Free Speech with responsibility. We must build capacity and bring our credibility to bear on the use of new media to probably crowd out the unprofessional, unskilled, dangerous social media engagement.

We are in a democracy, where there is no other choice than Constitutional Order. It is only a strong, free and independent media that can check  inefficiency, corruption and lack of accountability of state actors.

The media must collaborate and cooperate to survive. That’s the lead from the marketplace. The experience from history tells me that the current travails notwithstanding, we will survive to tell the stories and write the history. That’s what is the  DNA of our media.

•Adefaye, the General Manager, of Vanguard Newspaper, delivered this paper at the Conference of the Nigerian Guild of Editors last week in Sokoto.

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