LAGOS-NIGERIA, The Awardees of the Woke Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism were again honoured for their initiative in exposing the rot in the government by the Civil Society Network Against Corruption (CSNAC) at an interactive session with the media with the aim of setting an agenda for the press for the year 2014 amongst other things held in Lagos.
CSNAC is a coalition of over 150 anti corruption organizations with the aim of constructively battling corruption and effectively monitoring the activities of various anti-graft agencies in Nigeria.
Mr Jiti Ogunye in his remarks acknowledged the efforts of journalists in reporting events accurately. He however showed understanding of the handicap most journalists face due to the subjectivity of media houses.
Mr Sulaimon Arigbabu, Executive Secretary, HEDA Resource Centre in his opening comments talked about the need for journalists to effect change by continuously shedding light on areas where change is needed. He said, “We think it is important for the collaboration between the media and civil societies to be further consolidated to the extent that we provide resources to ensure most of these issues don’t go into immediate past before we get results out of them”.
Mr Tunde Akanni, Lecturer School of Communication LagosState University encouraged journalists to take advantage of social media sites where stories are promoted especially human interest stories. He reiterated that CSNAC will always be supportive of journalists in their endeavor in uncovering the facts as relates to the true state of events in Nigeria.
An underlying theme at the event was the recent spate of letters that has been circulating the corridors of power and indeed our airwaves.
Comrade Ayodele Akele in his comments expressed his fear on the dangers threatening our democracy due to the instability these letters are generating. He said, “in my opinion but I might be wrong Obasanjo’s letter is inciting. In fact this ground is more fertile for a coup than in the past and if there is a coup, Obasanjo should be held responsible”. He went further to say Obasanjo had no right to set agenda for the nation as he failed to address most of the issues raised in his letter during his tenure. He challenged journalists to investigate the veracity of these letters.
Mr Jiti Ogunye stated in his comments that the power struggle going on in Nigeria presently does not have the interests of the people at heart. “Nigeria needs a new deal and our not being able to get it does not mean we have failed to realize this but from not knowing how to get it”. He encouraged the media to reflect issues that will positively inform members of the public.
The high point of the interactive session was raised by journalists includes: Social Media, Media Ownership, Poor Salary, and Gatekeeper without free conscious for editorial judgment.
Ayo Osugbaku of TVC explained the challenge the social media presents as stories go from viral to stale before proper leg work is concluded. Ben Ezemalu formerly of Next newspapers shed light on some of the issues that precipitated the closure of Next’s offices as revenue was not generated because of the paper’s ‘radical’ reporting.
Issues to be focused on next year include campaign against military intervention, investigating the oil sector and generally the mineral resources generated in the country and how resources generated are disbursed, evaluation of corruption and accountability in the government and focus on constitutional issues using Taraba state as an illustration. Also mentioned was the issue of plagiarism. Mr Tunde Akanni stressed the importance of acknowledging sources in all reports and the reporting of cases in court to encourage transparency and accountability.
CSNAC recognized the following distinguished Wole Soyinka Centre Awardees they are lni Ekott, Bassey Udo, Tobore Ovuorie,Temitayo Famutimi, Ruona Agbroko-Meyer, Toyosi Ogunseye, Aderonke Ogunleye, Stanley Ogidi, Adeyemi Adesomoju, Emmanuel Ogala and Ayoola Kasim.
Stanley Ogidi of The Punch newspapers, in his speech on behalf of his colleagues thanked CSNAC for their recognition reiterating the dangers faced by journalists and encouraging CSNAC to always stand by them.
Reports By: Remi Serrano & Mayowa Adeniran, CSnews