By Abdullahi Ridhwan Adetutu
As part of the activities laid down for this year’s press week celebration, the university of Ilorin chapter of the union of campus Journalists, UCJ, Tuesday, held its annual public lecture/magazine Launch at the NUJ Pen House, Ilorin. The theme for this year’s lecture was UBUNTU; Exploring Humanitarian Journalism.
This year’s lecture was in honour of Alhaji Liad Tella, a just retired senior lecturer from the department of Mass Communication of the institution who, according to the president of the UCJ, Unilorin, is an iconic journalist who has spent a larger part of his life in the world of journalism.
The invited guest speaker, publisher of the online news portal, Premium Times, Mr Dapo Olorunyomi, while stressing on the importance of journalism in entrenching democracy, challenged the students journalists on the need to measure up to the challenges capable of hindering the practice of journalism in their immediate environmental.
“A pure democracy is as good as its media; If the media is good, the government will be good. If the media is independent and not compromised, government will seat on its feet and do its job.
“And this is the driving force behind the entire philosophy and efforts being put in place to reform the sector which is basically what the PremiumTimes center is set up to do.
“The challenges facing us as media is one my boss will say facing an existential crisis. That is a situation when you have to negotiate how we continue to exist, what we are going to engage and what terms of games you need to continue in the country.
“We face lot of problems most specifically financial problems. However, being in academia, we expect you to see problems as trajectory.”, Olorunyomi admonished.
Alluding to the history of the past and present great activists who had began their activism also as campus journalists, Olorunyomi, represented by a member of his team, Mr Deji Adekunle also emphasized on the opportunity that being in a union like UCJ has place ahead for the campus journalists.
“We believe you guys (campus journalists) are the foundation of such efforts. Going back history, most of the activists we have today, with most of the sensible things to pull changes started out as campus journalists. Inclusive of Mr Dapo Olorunyomi.
“So you are in good company and I hope you can do better that what they did. Students have written stories that have warranted firm action, strict action with clear cut and distinguished impact. Do not see yourselves as small. See yourself as capable; the sky is the limit.
“Whatever you do as as journalist is what you do to change the face of the society for the better. Whatever you do in your university days is directly represention of what you are going to do when you get out.
“So if you want to be different, set out your track record. Learn to be different, do things in the right ways and when you conquered here; and then when you go out to the challenges out there, you know have done it before that you can be better”, Olorunyomi admonished.
In his own speech, the executive director of Media Career Development Network, MCDN, Mr Lekan Otufodunrin, represented by one of his associate, Mr Jimoh *** urged the students Journalists, as much as the traditional and mainstream media, to explore more on humaniarian Journalism. This, he said would go a long way in redefining the lives of the people the media intend to inform.
“More than ever before, the media need to explore humaniarian Journalism that provides factual accounts about crises and issues that affect human welfare. Crisis and welfare issues abound in the country and what is required is for Journalists to accurately report them and aeet to get them resolved.”, Otufodunrin implored.
He further charged the student Journalists to key into the humaniarian aspects to Journalism. According to him, “on your campus, there are welfare issues which demand urgent attention of the authorities which campus journalists should highlight and keep harping on it until necessary steps are taken.”
“I recently read a report of deplorable state of the hostels in the University f Nigeria, which is common across the country. This should not be the case. I am sure you can think of many other examples of sufferings in your campus which should interest your members as part of your commitment to humaniarian journalism.”, Otufodunrin charged.
The event also witnessed the presentation of awards of honour to the iconic figures in the field of journalism and Humanitarianism by the university’s union of campus journalists.
Among the awardees were Mr Lekan Otufodunrin, a lecturer from the department of Mass communication in the school, Dr Kadiri Khadija, Alhaji Liad Tella, and the Premium Times Publisher, Mr Dapo Olorunyomi for the striking impact he has made in the cause of developing journalism in the society.
At the event were the chairman of the state chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Mr Abdul Wahab Umar, Mr Lekan Otufodunrin represented by one of his associates, Mr Jimoh, amongst others.