Realnews’ Contribution to Developing Nigeria’s Economy

Fri, Nov 20, 2015
By publisher

BREAKING NEWS, Featured, Realnews 3rd Anniversary Lecture


I AM most delighted to welcome you all to this third anniversary lecture of Realnews Magazine. I know you all sacrificed a lot be here this morning. I deeply appreciate and thank you for coming.  I am very happy that His Excellency, Senator Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Productivity who is also our Guest of Honour, is here with us.  You must have put some important programme aside to be here today. Thank you so much for honouring our invitation.

I am very happy that our Guest Lecturer, Professor Charles Soludo is here, all the way from London where he now lives to give this lecture. I know you sacrificed a lot to be here including cancelling some important engagements because of what you termed your “personal social responsibility obligation” to support young organisations like Realnews. Thank you a million times for accepting to give this lecture. I have no doubt you will do justice to the topic: It’s the Nigerian Economy, Stupid”.

My special welcome also goes to Alhaji Mohammed Hayatu-Deen.  When I called you on the phone and requested that you should be our chairman for the lecture you agreed tentatively because of other engagements. I am very happy that the tentative agreement has become a reality and that you are here today. You are most welcome Sir.

The same special welcome goes to Mr. Gimba Ya’u Kumo, Managing director of the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Remi Ogunmefun, Director General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria,  and Dr. Abraham Nwankwo, I am glad  that you are all here as discussants despite your busy schedule.

My special welcome also goes to all our “Second Anniversary Lecture Team” comprising Guest Lecturer, Maurice Iwu, former INEC Chairman, and discussants – Mr. Roberts Orya, Managing Director, NEXM, and Mr. Benjamin Dikki, Director  general, Bureau of Public Enterprises,  Professor J.I. Ezigbo, Managing Director, Falcon Corporation Ltd and Dr. Ngozi Anyaegbunam, President, Media World, who reviewed the book: Paragon of Journalism. Today, you are to be inducted into the prestigious Realnews Hall of Fame for the singular invaluable service you rendered to Realnews. May I state that the prestigious Realnews Hall of Fame is exclusively reserved for our Lecturers and Speakers at our Anniversary Lectures.  Thank you for accepting our invitation and making out time to be here personally at the Realnews Third Anniversary Lecture.

Of course, there are many people who have cancelled prior engagements to be here. I appreciate all the sacrifice you have all made especially those who travelled from far and near – Benin, Onitsha, Abuja etc. Thank you for coming to Realnews Third Anniversary lecture. I must specially recognise the priceless effort My “Big Brother” Mr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor made to help me get the guest lecturer to be here today. When Realnews narrowed on the lecturer, the problem became how we can reach him. Mr. Joe Anichebe, whose brain I tapped during the conceptualisation of this project let on that Mr. Ugochukwu was the best person to reach him. And indeed, he helped a great deal in ensuring that Prof. Soludo, to use his own word, could not “wriggle” out of his commitment to give this lecture.

Thank you so much Mr. Ugochukwu and to you too Mr. Anichebe.

This Anniversary Lecture is one of the ways Realnews is contributing to the development of our nation by providing a forum for professionals, scholars and prominent Nigerians to discuss and proffer ideas to resolve burning national issues. Last year, we focussed on the 2015 general elections with the theme: “Nigerian Democracy: Getting It Right in 2015”. All those who were here last year may have gone away with valuable lessons that must have one way or the other contributed to the successful general elections earlier this year. With the elections behind us, never mind the ugly vibes from the verdict of the election tribunals, today, Realnews is shifting attention to the ECONOMY.

We are focusing on the economy, knowing fully well that there is global economic downturn and that right now, the Nigerian economy is currently in the doldrums. As we are all aware, all the economic indices in country are not in the form most economic and financial experts will like them to be. The economic indicators ranging from depleting foreign reserve as a result of fall in crude oil prices, depreciating value of the naira, the double digit interest rates, high rate of unemployment, especially amongst the youth to inflation rates which is now on the increase, show that there is need for a rethink of the economic direction Nigeria is heading, especially in this new civilian administration that most Nigerians want CHANGE.

My guess is that the bad state of the economy could be one of the reasons there is so much agitation and tension in the polity. If the economy is good, if the power supply is stable; if capacity utilisation of companies are up to 80 percent; if more youths are employed, I think the anxiety and tension in the land will lessen. Also, if the nation’s agriculture is mechanised, many of the restive unemployed youths will be meaningfully engaged and will not have time to engage in a prolonged peaceful civil protest.

But since the reverse is the case, there is an urgent need to check the trend. Hence, here we are today with many economists and financial experts in our midst to find a way out.  And since I am not an economist but a journalist, my job and those of all my senior and junior colleagues in this room, is to ensure that the message coming out from here today is heard across the nation

Of course, we in Realnews will ensure that we do our part, through publishing our weekly general interest magazine; an online publication which thrives on investigative journalism. The objective of Realnews is to use our investigative skills to ferret out information in the sectors we focus on, produce an unbiased report that will actually influence the government and decision makers to take actions that will make the society better.

We are seasoned journalists who believe strongly in the tenets and ethics of the profession. We sincerely believe that journalism as the fourth Estate of the Realm can contribute its quota towards building a fair and just society where fundamental human rights are respected and citizens have the freedom to pursue their interests anywhere in the world without hindrance. Hence our motto: “For God and Humanity.”

Our vision is to build a reputable and world class media institution whose watchword – professionalism and integrity – form the bedrock of the four cardinal points of our Mission as an online news magazine. The first is to ensure that Realnews becomes the cornerstone of investigative journalism in Nigeria and Africa. The second is to publish a credible and influential magazine that will galvanise the public especially the government and decision makers into taking actions that will change the political, socio-economic landscape and society in general for the better. Third is to focus on oil and gas, environment, vulnerable groups – youth, women and children, and give voice to the silent majority and minority groups. And fourthly is to use Realnews magazine to fight any form of injustice and ensure that no section of the Nigerian society is neglected, discriminated against or left behind in our quest to build a better and just world where basic human rights are well respected and cherished.

There is no gainsaying the fact that in the past three years we have kept faith with our vision and mission statement. Hence, we have investigated, covered and published exclusive stories that cover all the sectors we focus on including politics, oil and gas, business and economy, women and youth etc. We have done our job with all sense of responsibility. In 2013, Realnews provided special coverage of the African Development Bank annual meetings.  And this year, we also provided special coverage to the African Economic Summit in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo which held between 2- 4 November at the instance of AfDB.

However, in the course of our job, we have had very serious challenges. Barely a year into our existence, we suffered the first set back when our web site was hijacked. This was followed by the illegal detention of one of our reporters who went to investigate the crude oil theft in the Niger Delta and finally death dealt us a devastating blow by claiming one of our directors who happened to be my beloved mother on June 22, 2014, and then our pioneer editor-in-chief, Mr. Mike Akpan on September 30, 2014, when we were working on the first Volume of the book: Paragon of Journalism.

We have also published the second volume of the Paragon of Journalism. Last year, we launched the first volume and since then we have learnt a lot of hard valuable lessons. One of the lessons is that a young organisation which is not yet financially stable must not invest a lot of its resources in a venture that will tie up its resources. That is why this year we have not mass produced the Paragon of Journalism Volume 2 which I have the honour to present to you.

It comes in hard and soft copy with beautiful cover to give you an idea of the rich content inside. We have an order form which we will pass around so that anybody who wants it can make an order. We also want to collaborate with individuals/organisations/donor institutions who will like to sponsor the production of the book to enable us donate it to schools, Departments of Mass Communication in Universities/Journalism Institutes, to teach the students practically what investigative online reporting is all about. May I appeal to individuals/organisations and corporate bodies who want to assist, to please contact us here or after this event.

I must state that the reason behind the book has so much to do with creating more awareness about our job as online investigative journalists. We are in an age when online journalism is being treated with so much suspicion and something close to fear. Once you tell somebody that you are publishing online, the immediate reaction is, oh this blackmailers, muckrakers, and people who publish without verifying their stories. The more outspoken critics will just tell you that online publishers are plain irresponsible.

It is in a bid to correct this erroneous belief that we decided to publish the book to put paid to all the accusations.  We also want to fulfil the wishes of our numerous fans who were heart broken when we left Newswatch. When they learnt that we are now publishing online they also craved to have the hard copy of our magazine. We are hoping that when they buy and read “Paragon of Journalism” they will follow us online upon realising that we have not lost steam in our reportage and that they can read us free of charge on our website

On this note, I would also like to invite everyone here especially those who are not on our mail list to visit our website and subscribe to our e-Newsletter to read very well investigated stories free of charge. You may be wondering if our magazine which we worked so hard to produce is free of charge, how then do we make money to remain in business. This is where I need also to appeal to everybody here today, representing both the public and the private sector to please support us. The support can come through advertisement, special supplement and special features about your company which we could write and publish on our website. You can also provide us the information necessary to do our work. We welcome whistleblowers in the world to Realnews magazine. You can always trust us that when you give us sensitive information we will handle it with all sense of responsibility. Please always remember that Realnews magazine is synonymous with investigative, robust and excellent journalism. And that we are your partners and together we will build a strong and virile nation where we will all be happy to live and invest. That is the basis for the Paragon of Journalism.

May I let you know that we are into media consultancy and writing of biographies and books. We already have some that we are working on. This is one of the ways we raise money to remain in business and do what we love: most investigative journalism.

If you doubt what I am saying, please buy a copy of Paragon of Journalism, which is outside this hall. And then order for the second volume. After reading them you will be singing the refrain: “Realnews, Investigative Journalism, Investigative Journalism, Realnews”.  Please don’t forget to get your own copy of the book so you can have a taste of journalism at its best.

Once again, I welcome you all to this grand gathering and lecture.

May I also seize this opportunity to thank our sponsors and advertisers for their support. The three-year life journey of Realnews could be summarised by the reaction of one of our Sponsors: When Realnews started in 2012, I went to Chevron to solicit for advertisement. Mr. Sola Adebawo said emmmemm Maureen, you know you have a pedigree, We know you well, You have won our award as the Oil and Gas Reporter of the year given by the Nigerian Media Merit Award. But Realnews, you just started, I am afraid there is no way I can make a case for your new company. I managed a smiled and said thank you. In our second year after the second anniversary lecture, Mr. Adebawo called me and commended me and said that they are still watching me. He also told me that Realnews is doing very well. I also did not get any advert. But the commendation was good enough. Now when the notice for this year’s lecture went out, he Adebawo called me to congratulate me. But this time he said something different without any prompting from me -“Maureen, I think we can support this your programme.”  Not only Chevron, PENCOM also did. What are you still waiting for? Get your companies advertisement and support on board flight Realnews magazine ( and together help us build a strong, credible and viable online media which we can all be proud.

I thank you all for listening. God bless you all. God Bless Realnews. God Bless Nigeria.

Being the Welcome Address By Maureen Chigbo, Publisher, Realnews Magazine and Publications Limited, Publishers of Realnews Magazine Online, At the Third Anniversary Lecture of the Magazine Holding on Thursday, November 19, 2014, at the Lagos Oriental Hotel, Lagos.

—  Nov 30, 2015 @ 01:00 GMT