Why Realnews is Focusing on African Leadership in a Turbulent Era #Realnews5thAnniversaryLecture

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By Maureen Chigbo

 

GOOD morning dear honoured guests, distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, and members of my constituency, the Media. Please permit me to stand on existing protocol.

It is with great pleasure and honour that I welcome you all to the fifth anniversary lecture of Realnews Magazine. We acknowledge and appreciate your sacrifice to be here at a time when you should be preparing for the end-of-year activities. Thank you for gracing this important occasion.

I am elated that Professor Akpan Hogan Ekpo, our Chairman for this occasion, and other distinguished invited guests are here.

It is an understatement to say I am overjoyed that our Guest Lecturer is also here. Dr. (Mrs) Oby Ezekwesili, Senior Economic Adviser, African Economic Development Policy Initiative (AEDPI), former Vice-President World Bank for Africa, former Minister of Education, Federal Republic of Nigeria, convener of the BringBackOurGirls initiative and currently a Global Democracy Ambassador, does not need much introduction.

We appreciate the honour you have all done to us by accepting our invitation and for supporting Realnews. We have no doubt that our Guest Lecturer will do justice to the topic of our fifth anniversary: “African Leadership in a Turbulent Era.”

My special welcome also goes to Mr. Ahmed Kuru, Managing Director of Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Dr. Maikanti Baru, Group Managing Director of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), and Mr. Waheed Olagunju, Executive Director, Bank of Industry (BOI), for accepting to serve as discussants at this event.

Allow me to appreciate and welcome all members of the Realnews Hall Fame, made up of our former Guest Lecturers – Prof. Maurice Iwu, former INEC Chairman, Dr. Ibn Mohamed Chambas, United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative and Head of the UN Office in West Africa and Sahel (UNOWAS), and Prof. Charles Soludo, former Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, and other discussants – Mr. Roberts Orya, former Managing Director, Nigerian Import-Export Bank (NEXIM), Mr. Benjamin Dikki, former Director General, Bureau of Public Enterprises, Prof. J.I. Ezigbo, Managing Director, Falcon Corporation Ltd, Mallam Mohammed Hayatu-Deen, founder/CEO, Alpine Investment Limited and Dr. Ngozi Anyaegbunam, President, Media World.

The Realnews Hall of Fame is our own modest way of honouring Lecturers and Speakers at our Anniversary Lectures for their contributions to knowledge and national development.  We cannot thank them enough.

There are many of you who have cancelled other engagements to be here.  Many have also travelled from far and wide to be here. We owe you all a debt of gratitude.

I wish to thank members of the Realnews team for their sacrifice;  Mr. Adama Gaye, who played a critical role during our brainstorming session for the theme of this lecture in April in Ethiopia,  Mr. Paul Ejime, for always providing editorial guidance, and Sir Elvis Emecheta, for his support to the success of this event.

This Anniversary Lecture is one of the ways Realnews is contributing to the development of our nation by providing a forum for frank discussion by professionals, scholars, technocrats and influential personalities on the way forward for our great nation as the hope for Africa. In 2014, we focused on general elections; in 2015 the theme was on the economy, and last year, the discussion was on security. This year we are deliberately focusing on Leadership.

Our choice of the 2017 topic has been informed by contemporary global events, especially the emergence of Mr. Donald Trump, as America’s 45th President, with Russia and China increasingly wielding more influence on Africa. There is also the looming threat of a nuclear war in the Korean peninsula. This is coming at a time when African countries are struggling with ceaseless political and socio-economic turbulence, high youth unemployment with hundreds if not thousands of young Africans perishing in the Mediterranean Sea on perilous journeys to Europe in search of so-called greener pastures. Just last week, some 26 Nigerian young women between 14 and 18 years old died in the Mediterranean Sea.

From South Sudan where warlords appear bent on disintegrating the country, to the lingering Boko Haram insurgency in West and Central Africa, coupled with a rash of uprising by separatist groups including the Niger Delta militants and the Indigenous People of Biafra in Nigeria, in addition to the increasing wave of terrorism in other parts of Africa, the prognosis looks bleak, to say the least. Millions of African children are at the receiving end of the socio-economic, political, security and development challenges, with many now victims of serial abuse and violence, human trafficking, malnutrition and avoidable deaths, while others are deprived of quality education and a viable future.

We are fortunate today to have as our Guest Lecturer, an international figure who has advised many African governments on leadership and development issues.  I wish to appeal to my journalist colleagues to ensure that the message from here today is heard across the nation and beyond. Of course, at Realnews we will ensure that we do our part, by giving the widest publicity to this important lecture. Our objective is to use our investigative skills to dig out information in the sectors we focus on, produce an unbiased report that will influence the government and decision makers to take actions that will make the society better.

Realnews boasts of 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 towards building a free, fair and just society where fundamental human rights are respected and citizens have the freedom to pursue their interests without let or hindrance. Our motto is: “For God and Humanity.”

Our Vision is to build a reputable and world class media institution with professionalism and integrity as the bedrock of the four cardinal points of our Mission. 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 galvanize the public, and spur 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. Our fourth mission 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 respected and cherished.

In the past five 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 our job with a high sense of responsibility. In 2013, 2016 and 2017, Realnews provided special coverage of the African Development Bank (AfDB) annual meetings in Marakesh, Morocco, Zambia, and India, with support from the Bank, and the Bank of Industry, Nigeria respectively.  In 2015, we also provided special coverage to the African Economic Summit in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo. We have been covering the Tana High Level Security Forum in Ethiopia since 2015 with support from the organisers. We will be there again in April 2018 to provide exclusive coverage of the events for the teeming visitors to our website.

The success we have recorded in 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.

I 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.

But if our magazine which we work so hard to produce is free, how then, do we make money to remain in business? Our special appeal therefore, goes to everyone, whether from the public or private sector, and civil society, to support Realnews to remain in business! 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. In this regard, I wish to thank Chevron Nigeria, for providing professional training to two of our staff members recently.

Realnews is also into media consultancy and writing of books and biographies. We have several manuscripts we are working on. These are some of the ways we raise money for our free-source on-line publication, with investigative journalism, as our first-love.

We also welcome whistle-blowers in the world of Realnews magazine. Rest assured that when you give us sensitive information we will handle it with all sense of responsibility and confidentiality.

Always keep in mind that Realnewsmagazine is all about investigative, robust and excellent journalism. We are your partners in development and together we will build a strong and virile nation where all will be free and happy to live and invest in.

Our sincere gratitude to our partners Chevron, Mobil and advertisers for supporting the organization of this lecture

Once again, I wish to welcome you all very warmly and thank you for your attention.

God bless you all. God bless Realnews. God bless our dear country Nigeria, and our mother continent Africa!

 

*Being the welcome address delivered by Maureen Chigbo, Editor/Publisher, Realnews Magazine and Publications Limited, Publishers of Realnews Magazine Online, at the Fifth Anniversary Lecture of the Magazine held Thursday, November 16, 2017, at Sheraton Hotel, Lagos

 

– Nov 22, 2017 @ 18:35 GMT |

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