#Realnews2020Lecture Speech by Maureen Chigbo, Publisher/Editor, Realnews Magazine and Publications Limited, at the Eighth Anniversary Lecture of the Magazine, held on Thursday, 19th November, 2020, Sheraton Hotel, Lagos

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Chigbo

Your Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, and members of my constituency, the Media, permit me to stand on existing protocol to express my delight in welcoming you all to the Eighth Anniversary Lecture of Realnews Magazine. We appreciate your sacrifice and support, especially at this precarious time when the world is reeling under the devastations of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are overjoyed that our Guest Lecturer, Mr. Boss Mustapha, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, SGF, and the Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce on COVID-19 is here with us. He does not need much introduction, for as saying goes, his exemplary reputation precedes him. We are grateful that the SGF made time out of his very busy schedule to honour our invitation. We owe a debt of gratitude to Mr. Olusegun Adekunle, former Permanent Secretary, General Services Office, OSGF, and Alhaji Tajudeen Kareem, Media Consultant, Proegde Communications Limited, Mr. Willie Bassey, Director, Press, OSGF, and Maurice Mbaeri, Permanent Secretary, GSO, OSGF, for facilitating our guest lecturer attendance.

We also elated that Professor Chris Bode, the Chairman of today’s occasion, and other distinguished guests are here.  We are most grateful our Chairman, and thank you my big brother Alhaji Kareem for supporting our efforts to ensure that Professor Bode made it here.

Our special welcome goes to Malam Mele Kyari, Group Managing Director, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, Dr. Alero Roberts and Dr. Michael Ihemaguba for accepting to serve as our Panel discussants.. Thank you, Dr. Donna Umesi and Dr. Oderinu, for ensuring that Dr. Roberts made it here. .. Our thanks go to Dr. Kennie Obateru, NNPC Group General Manager, Public Affairs Division, for finding space for our Lecture in his boss’ crowded schedule. Dr. Ihemaguba, will be joining us via zoom having returned to his New York base after a recent home visit. We are most grateful. Our warm welcome also goes to members of the PTF and Federal government officials who accompanied the guest speaker.

We welcome the Counsellor-General of the Ghana High Commission in Lagos, who is here with us.  Please accept our sincere condolences over the sad passing of former President J.J. Rawlings, a great pan-Africanist and respected Statesman. We pray God to grant his soul a peaceful repose.  The anniversary lecture series is one way Realnews contributes to nation building and development by providing a forum for policy change-oriented discussions by professionals, scholars, technocrats and decision-makers on the way forward for our great nation and Africa in general. In 2014, we focused on elections; in 2015 the theme was on the economy, in 2016 the discussion was on security; 2017 was on the challenges of Leadership in Africa, while the lecture in 2018, dwelt on Africa’s political transitions and the economy. Last year, the focus was on economic narrative for West Africa beyond politics with the sub-theme: The end of oil: whither the Nigeria economy.

Our choice of the 2020 topic: “Managing the COVID-19 Global Pandemic in Africa: The Nigeria Experience” is informed by the need to escalate and broaden the conversation on the health challenges facing our region with Nigeria as the regional economic powerhouse. This is against the background of the havoc unleashed by theCOVID-19 pandemic across the world in all sectors. Against various predictions that Africa will witness millions of deaths from the virus, the fact is that as at 10 November, 2020, the death toll for the continent is 45,647 from the 1,894,367 reported cases with 1,598,594 recoveries. The statistics represents a mixed bag of sadness and relief. There is sadness; because the death of one person is one too many. (Can we please observe a minute silence for the souls lost to this pandemic). May the souls of all who died from the virus, and all the faithful departed through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  We also wish all those struggling with the disease a quick recovery.

We cannot wish away the pain and loss of human lives, but at the same time, we can draw consolation from the fact that the death toll is not as predicted. The question then is how did Africa disappoint the doomsday prophets? Was it a fluke or as a result of steadfastness and painstaking efforts by African governments and health professionals? Our Guest Lecturer will share his experiences on what transpired as the Chairman of the Presidential Taskforce in Nigeria. He has been at the helm of policy initiatives to contain the spread of the deadly virus in Africa’s most populous nation.

We have a carefully selected panel of discussants with relevant expertise, knowledge and experience to shed more lights on the topic.

I would like to appeal to my journalist colleagues to ensure that the message from here today is heard in Africa and beyond. Of course, at Realnews we will ensure that we do our part by giving the widest publicity to this important lecture and the discussions. Realnews boasts a crop of seasoned journalists who believe strongly in the tenets and ethics of the profession. We are convinced that journalism as the Fourth Estate of the Realm can contribute to building a free, fair and just society where fundamental human rights are respected and where citizens enjoy  the freedom to pursue their interests without let or hindrance. Our motto at Realnews is: “For God and Humanity.”

In the past seven years we have kept faith with our Vision and Mission statements. We have investigated and published exclusive stories that cover all sectors of our focus, including politics, oil and gas, business and economy, women and youth etc. We can proudly say that we have done and continue to do our job with a highest sense of responsibility.

However, the modest success we have recorded at Realnews has come with its share of challenges, especially in fashioning creative ways for sustainable publication in a difficult economic environment with dwindling prospects for advertisement.

Consequently, we would like to invite everyone here, especially those who are not already on our mail list to visit our website and subscribe to our e-Newsletter to enjoy investigative reports on topical development issues rendered in professional style.

Realnews Magazine is free but without your support, from the public or private sector alike, and civil society, it will not survive! The support can be in form of advertisement, special supplement and special features on your company/organization for publication on our website. We also welcome capacity building programmes for our staff to serve our clients better.

Realnews is also into media consultancy; writing of books and biographies, and image survey for companies. Over the years, the books we have published include Federal Road Safety Commission in the Eyes of the Media Volume 1 – 3; Pathways to Political and Economic Development of Africa, and Paragon of Journalism Volume 1 and 2.  We are working on several manuscripts and require sponsors for their publication. . These are some of the ways we raise money for our free-source on-line publication, with investigative journalism, as our first-love.

In addition, we also welcome whistle-blowers in the world of Realnews magazine. Rest assured that all information provided would be handled with the highest sense of responsibility and confidentiality.

Realnews Magazine is all about investigative, robust and excellent journalism. We are your partners in development, and together we will build a strong and virile society where all will be free and happy to live and invest in.

Before I conclude, permit me to appreciate and welcome members of the Realnews Hall of Fame, here present – Mr. Ahmed Kuru, Managing Director, Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) Dr. Ngozi Anyaegbunam, President, Media World, Dr. Waheed Olagunju, former Managing Director, Bank of Industry (BOI), Mrs. Comfort Coleman and Sir Elvis Emecheta, and Professor Joe Ezigbo, Managing Director, Falcon Corporation. The Realnews Hall of Fame is our modest way of honouring Lecturers and Speakers at our Anniversary Lectures for their contributions to knowledge and national development. We also honour Realnews Ambassadors..

May I also craze your indulgence  to thank members of the Realnews team for their commitment, hard work and sacrifice; Mr. Paul Ejime for his editorial guidance, and Mr Adama Gaye, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NewForce Africa, Senegal, Mrs Comfort Coleman, CEO, Nekego Resources and Sir Eze Emecheta, CEO, Elvis Group, for their encouragement and advice.

I cannot end this address without thanking all the corporate organisations that made this year’s Realnews Anniversary Lecture possible with their support and advertisements. These are the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Fidelity Bank Plc., Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, First Bank of Nigeria, Nigerian Communications Commission, Central Bank of Nigeria, Bolton White Hotel, Abuja, Nigerian Export Import Bank, and Generix Global, which has just introduced a wonderful product on displayed at the Hotel’s entrance lobby. We are most grateful to you all.

Thank you for your attention and welcome one and all!

– Nov. 19, 2020 @ 11:05 GMT |

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