Femi Adesina, president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, has been re-elected for a second tenure at the biennial convention of the editors in Lagos. Also elected for the first is Victoria Ibanga, formerly of Champion Newspapers as the general secretary
| By Maureen Chigbo | May 11, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT |
THE Nigerian Guild of Editors ended their biennial convention on Saturday, April 25, with Femi Adesina, managing director of The Sun Newspapers returned as the president of the Guild for a second tenure. Adesina, Funke Egbemode, publicity secretary, Ray Echebiri, Ken Ubechie, Austeen Elewodalu and some standing committee members West and East were returned unopposed while Victoria Ibanga was elected as the general secretary. Sebastian Abu and Sani Adamu were elected as standing committee members representing North.
All the new elected officials were official sworn in immediately after the election by Dupe Ajayi-Gbadebo, chair of the convention. New members of the Guild were inducted at the dinner/gala night that followed the all-day convention which was attended by Vice President-elect Yemi Osibajo who represented General Muhammadu Buhari, president elect.
Prior to the election, General Buhari, represented by Osibajo, said he was mandated to personally deliver the good will message to the Guild. According to him, any meeting of the guild is always a national event because of the role of the media in the country, adding that the media had been able to influence millions of Nigerians and that the editorials of influential newspapers were constant reminders to government officials on topical national issues. He said that even political parties seek powers through the support of the media, adding that based on experience in the last election, they have come to realise the role played by the media in the outcome of the election.
In his remarks, Lateef Remi Ibirogba, who represented Governor Babatunde Fashola, declared the conference open. Prior to that, he said that the convention provided an opportunity for the editors to come together to discuss Nigeria, especially after the 2015 general election.
Welcoming the audience, Adesina said that the convention came two years after the biennial convention in Ibadan in which members of his executives and standing committee were elected. He noted that the executive have been running the affairs of the guild since then and that the conference presented an opportunity for him to render account of their stewardship. Highlights of his speech centred on how the executive was able to fulfil their campaign promises some of which includes training and retraining of editors. He also added that in the last two years more than 100 editors have been trained under the auspices of Centre for Leadership in Journalism. The NGE also funded trips of editors to France and United Kingdom while two others are billed to be in Barcelona and Washington to attend Global Editors Network , GEN.
On National Secretariat, he said that the executive has kept faith with the dreams of the founding fathers of the Guild, adding that over N200 million was realised during the fund raising dinner last year. According to him, the federal capital territory minister equally fulfilled his promise to allocate land for the building of the secretariat at Kyami in Abuaj while the delay in the commencement of the project was due to the fact that the contract for the infrastructural development of the site are yet to start.
He said that the standing committee of the Guild adopted a resolution to procure a property in Lagos, for the Secretariat pending when the Kyami land is developed by government. He also spoke on welfare package for members, saying that over N2 million was spent on gifts and donations among others.
He noted that 200 identification cards were given to Guild members in collaboration with Chamms Nigeria Limited and that publishers of Online publications were also incorporated into the association.
Speaking, Dupe Akayi-Gbadebo, chairman of the convention, expressed delight at being at the convention, stating that Editors should congratulate themselves for the role they played in ensuring that the election was made possible. She also commended the president elect for cautioning his supporters from undue celebration that could have led to crisis. She equally commended those who lost and accepted the verdict in good faith. She expressed happiness that the dooms day prediction that Nigeria will break-up in 2015 did not come to pass. She noted that if democracy does not do well, the nation will not be well, adding that we must recognise the fact that the majority of our colleagues were responsible for heating up the polity. She equally raised the issue of code of conduct for the Guild as this will guide how future elections are reported. She especially expressed concern over the issue of character assassination which trailed the election, drawing inference from the UK’s campaign which has been devoid of campaign of calumny and hate speech. She advised journalist to practice the profession with dignity and passion.
She advised publishers and media owners to also adequately remunerate their staff as that is the only way they will not be compromised.
Also, Tony Momoh, former minister of information, expressed happiness to be in the community of professionals who once rejected when he was the minister of information. He took time to explain the relationship between the Constitution and the people. He said that it is the Nigerian people who are sovereign and not the Constitution and he therefore enjoined journalists to constantly monitor and hold government accountable because it was the Constitution that gave them the mandate. He said that sovereignty belonged to the people who delegated it to the government. He advised journalist to stay above corruption as it will be difficult to monitor those who have compromised you as a journalists. He advised that training must be relevant to Nigeria’s peculiar circumstances. He also advised that as practitioners, Editors should not allow foreign media to set agenda for the country.
On his part, Bello Kankarfi, Registrar of Advertising Practitioners and Communications Organisation of Nigeria, APCON, who represented the minister of information, said expressed gratitude to the guild and advised that the Guild’s election should be peaceful and not end in acrimony. He also advised that the editors should report the in-coming government professionally. He urged the incoming administration to resuscitate the Triumph Newspaper in Kano.