For five days, precisely from Friday March 19, 2021 to Thursday March 25, 2021, journalists in Nasarawa State virtually dropped their pens and cameras and other working paraphernalia to celebrate their annual Press Week.
The activities were well laid out and executed by the Press Week Committee.
Recall that on October 30, 2020, the leadership of the NUJ in Nasarawa State constituted and inaugurated the Press Week Committee.
The Committee worked out the activities and were accordingly carried out.
The first day of the events was Friday, 19th March, 2021 at the Secretariat Mosque, along Shendam Road, Lafia. in fulfilment of his promise, the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr Abdullahi A. Sule was part of the congregation.
Speaking to the journalists after the Juma’at prayers marking the beginning the Press Week, the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Engr Abdullahi A. Sule after congratulating the Journalists said: “First and foremost, let me congratulate the NUJ for the programme they are holding to mark the 2021 Press Week.
“Today, we have prayed for the NUJ, we prayed for the country and we prayed for ourselves. We pray that these events that you are going to hold will be the beginning of a lot of more successes for the NUJ, a lot of growth and a lot of progress to the NUJ.
“We pray that the members, may the Almighty continue to unite the members of the NUJ and the entire media, so that they and unite with the government and the people of Nigeria so we can work for the benefit of humanity.
“So, I want to congratulate the NUJ, particularly for what they are doing. I pray that the vents will go on smoothly.”
The State NUJ Chairman, Comrade Salihu Mohammed Alkali led other Council officials, the Press Week Committee and many journalists to the mosque.
It should be reported that on that Friday, many journalists cutting across the two religions – Islam and Christianity – were at the Secretariat mosque, Shendam road, Lafia
On Sunday, March 21, 2021, as early as 7:30am, many journalists were at the auditorium of Evangelical Reformed Church of Christ (ERCC), LCC Gloryland, Shendam Rod, Lafia for the special church service dedicated to the 2021 NUJ Nasarawa State Press Week.
Again, the State Chairman of the NUJ, Comrade Salihu Mohammed Alkali led other journalists to the Sunday service. Also in the church were the NAWOJ leadership led by the State Chairperson, Hajiya Hadiza Umar
The Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Dr Emmanuel A. Akabe and his wife were at the church alongside other top government functionaries. Among the government functionaries were: The Head of Civil Service, Mr Nicholas Abari Aboki, the State Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Hon Dogo Shammah, the Permanent Secretary, Deputy Governor’s office, Mr Allahnana Attah, the General Manager of Nasarawa Broadcasting Service, Mr Aloko Flashman, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Breeze FM, Lafia, Dr Nawani Aboki.
In his sermon titled Different Fields Of Work, For The Good Of All, the senior Minister of the church, Very Rev Peter Y. Aya read Genesis 2:4-5, 15 and 1Cor.12:1-26
He said: “Today is a special day in this church as we are hosting the journalists working in Nasarawa State. I have been told that they are marking their 2021 NUJ Press Week and have chosen to begin activities by coming to appreciate God for sustaining them in their chosen career.
“I should hasten to add that the coming of the Journalists to this church also coincides with the celebration of Media Workers in this church. In this church, we appreciate the significance of every profession. Hence, each profession has been given date to come with their thanksgiving to God.
“Brethren, God has given us different professions and vocations to do in order to serve Him and for livelihood. In Genesis 2, we see that God Himself put Adam in the Garden of Eden and asked him to work it and take care of it.
“If only every profession will endeavour to serve humanity diligently, the world be a better place.
“I remember some years ago, the then Minister of Information, Prof Jerry Gana enjoined every Nigerian should be serious in his or her work. He used to say: if you are a teacher, teach well; if you are farmer, farm well; if you are doctor, ‘doctor’ well; of you are a Governor, govern well; et cetera. The sum of what he was saying is that if every professional should handle his or her duties diligently, everyone will live a good life. Every profession is important and we need one another to make the world a better place.
“The scriptures in 1 Corinthians 12 tells that the body has many parts but work together in unity and for the good of the body. Verses 15 to 26 drive home the message thus:
Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact, God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
“Today, we are celebrating journalists in Nasarawa State as they have come to appreciate God for His protection, mercies and grace upon their lives.
“Scripture talks a lot about working hard with happiness while serving God at your job workplace. Always work as if you were working for God and not your employer. The Bible and life tell us that hard work will always bring some type of profit.
“When we think about profit usually, we think about money, but it can be anything.
“For example, hard work in school will lead to more wisdom, a better job, more opportunities, etc.
“Don’t be that person with big dreams who says, “I’m going to do this and this,” but doesn’t.
“Don’t be that person who wants the results of labour without sweating.
Idle hands never get anything done. God looks down upon laziness, but He shows with hard work you can accomplish many things. When you’re in God’s will God will strengthen you daily and help you.
“Follow the examples of Christ, Paul, and Peter who were all hard workers. Work hard, pray hard, preach hard, and study Scripture hard.
Proverbs 14:23-24 says: All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty. The wealth of the wise is their crown, but the folly of fools yields folly.”
Speaking on behalf of the journalists in the State, the Vice Chairman of the Council, Mrs Juliana Ofoku said: “I thank the Reverend in charge of this church and the leadership, our Special Guest of Honour, His Excellency the Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State, Dr Emmanuel Akabe and his wife, all other invited guests who are here to join us in this thanksgiving service, the entire members of Gloryland, members of the pen profession, I greet us all in Jesus name!
“This morning, before you are the members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, Nasarawa State Council. We are here this morning to thank God for the privilege He has given us to be alive, and we are also here this morning to thank God for bringing us here today, being the commencement of the Press Week activities.
“We thank God for His guidance, protection, privilege and faithfulness upon everyone. As journalists, we are faced with numerous challenges in the course of discharging our social responsibilities. Therefore, we believe that God has been so faithful to us in discharging our duties. So, we came here to bring our thanksgiving to God.
“I sincerely thank the leadership of this church and our special guest of honour, other guests and he entire membership of this church for granting us permission to come and bring our thanksgiving. May the Almighty God bless you all!”
The Honourable Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Hon Dogo Shammah gave a goodwill message to the journalists.
He said: “The Journalist is the bridge between the government and the governed. No society can exist effectively without the role of the media, who are referred to as the Fourth Estate of the Realm. We want to sincerely thank God Almighty for bringing us to this day, a day that journalists come together to thank God and have sober reflection in heir activities.
“I believe that we will continue to support the government, we will continue to make sure the public gets the information that is required, information that is needed so that there will be stability, there will be progress in Nasarawa State.”
After the Commissioner, the Deputy Governor the State, Dr Emmanuel A. Akabe delivered his goodwill message to the journalists in which he said, inter alia, “When I got the invitation to attend this service, I actually had it in mind to be in Abuja at this time but I had to change my plans for the reasons that I have high regard to the men of the Pen Profession.
“I want to agree with what the Reverend said, that everyone is important before God. Every profession is also important and we need each other just as the Reverend read in 1 Corinthians. The journalist needs the Pastor, the Pastor needs the Doctor, the doctor needs the Nurse, and on and on.
“As we celebrate with you the journalists today, we pray that this profession will continue to flourish and you are representing all the journalists not only in Nasarawa State but the world over.
“Like the Pastor said, it s a profession that is vulnerable. It is a profession that many people don’t value it until they need information, without information, there is no life, and journalists can make or mar you, they can create or destroy.
“We thank God for the crop of journalists that we have here in Nasarawa State, I must say without any fear of contradiction, that, as a government, we have enjoyed very cordial relationship with them. Not a relationship of master and servant but that of colleagues. They tell us when we go wrong, they never hide it from us, they tell us as it is. This crop of journalists has really, really been helpful. Whenever they criticise, they give us options.
“That is why His Excellency, the Executive Governor has been tagged as Media friendly Governor. He has all the respect to this profession, he was at the mosque to pray with the journalists, and here I am today to pray along with the journalists.”
On the request of the Senior Reverend, the wife of the Deputy Governor also gave a goodwill message to the journalists and the women in the church.
The Associate Reverend then led the special prayers for the media workers in the church as well as the journalists in the State.
Monday 22nd March, 2021
The following day being Monday 22nd March, 2021, there were two major events, both of which held at the premises of the Press Centre. First was the opening ceremony proper. The Special Guest of Honour was the Grand Patron of the NUJ in the State, His Majesty, Alhaji Ahmadu Aliyu Ogah Onawo, the Andoma of Doma who declared the Week open.
Present at the ceremony was the Aren Koro Kuje, Mr Sunday Namo JP, the Federal Commissioner in the Federal Character Commission, Barrister Mamman Alakayi, the General Managers of Nigeria Television Authority, Lafia and Nasarawa Broadcasting Service, Mallam Sani Ibn Salihu and Aloko Flashman respectively and Mallam Musa Abdullahi, one-time General Manager of NBS ad also Radio Nigeria Precious FM Lafia, the Director of Information, Mr Alfred Akwe, Director of Culture, Mrs Gloria Ashikeni among others.
In his address, the Grand Patron spoke extensively on the issue of security and the need for peaceful co-existence between the different nationalities in the country, and called that people should learn to tolerate one another. He added that it is God’s will that the different ethnic groups be staying where they are found. (Details of his speech will be published in the next edition of Eggonnews)
Barr Mamman Alakayi also spoke when he admonished journalists to adhere to the ethics of the profession.
Later in the afternoon, there was an interactive session between the veteran journalists and those still in practice. The veterans came in their numbers. The Executive Governor of the State, Engineer Abdullahi A. Sule was present at the session.
During the session which was moderated by Mr Alfred Akwe, the Director of Information in the State Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, opportunity was given for journalists to ask questions, share experiences and make observations on the practice and changes the media face in the contemporary world. The veterans were first given the chance to narrate their days while in active service in comparison to what is obtaining in the present clime.
Among those who spoke were: Alhaji Gani Shafa, Mrs Veronica Ogbole, Mallam Jafaru Musa, Mr Allahnana Attah, Barr Mamman Alakayi, Sani Ibn Salihu, Wilson Bako, Madaki Member, Abdullahi Adokwe Ladan, Mallam Musa Abdullahi, Anna Jatau.
The journalists also had opportunity to know the Governor’s thoughts on some salient issues when he responded.
The Governor spoke on issues such as his relationship with journalists since he came into office, welfare of journalists as well as some achievements of his administration so far.
Speaking about his impression about the press generally in Nasarawa State and in this administration, Governor Sule said: “I am a sharp shooter. If I am impressed, I will tell you I am impressed. If I am not, I will tell you I am not impressed. Nothing will happen to me. I just come from that type of arrogant background, that when it comes to bluntness, I must be blunt.
“To be candid with you, I see the media as the closest partners of government. That is what I grew up with, that is my impression about the media. And I have always loved media chats when I saw in the past where leaders exposed themselves to open questions and then they will be answered.
“If you see along the line, I think we missed the road somewhere by getting those who had no capacity to be in government, to be in government. By getting those who could not even express themselves to be in position of leadership, by getting people who are completely dishonest and with no agenda to be with authority of leading certain places. And when we did that, I think that is the beginning of where we missed the road. And that’s where you will come up with the idea of the gentleman mentioned don’t see the journalist as beggars, people that you will negotiate with. Because just like we are getting the wrong people in government, we started getting the wrong people also in the media. And I think that’s where the problem started.
“It also ran into the next item. Today, if you ask many of these big media houses – Anne was asking us to pay good salary. If you ask these big media houses, how much are you paying your journalist on salary? It is almost nothing. Some of them don’t even pay. How do you expect the people not to be beggars if you don’t pay them? I think that is where you have to send your most important question that all these media houses must pay the people, they send out there very well. That way, you cannot make them to look like beggars. So, they will have the courage to report as they see and be able to say it as they understand it.
“But the moment they are not being taken care of – and today, majority of the media houses are private. So, if I ask you AIT, what are you paying your journalist in Nasarawa State? You will be shocked. Because they select certain people that they pay and the rest they don’t pay. So, I wish you had invited the owners of the media houses to be part of this your event so I can talk some sense into them. Because that’s the foundation and I think that’s where the problem is coming from.
“So if you ask me my impression, it is actually a sweet and sour kind of impression. I may be impressed in one area, but I am terribly disappointed in certain areas. And that is exactly what I am telling you. That is why I said I am sorry you asked me and I will tell you. I am not going to beat about the bush, I will tell you the exact position that I see.
“What does that mean? There is work we need to do both from our own end as government and from your end. And I think the moment we understand that we are partners in this, then the better for us that we can move together. That is my understanding.”
The Nasarawa State Governor also took some time to speak about some accomplishments by his administration since its inception.
He said: “You mentioned about some of these visits that we made, then what next? It is important for us that is why before we came in as a government, we came up with what we call the Nasarawa Economic Development Strategy. We came up with a strategy. That was a lot of work that was done. In fact, most of the work was done when I made up my mind to contest. I engaged some consultants to start working on that and come up with some of the needs of Nasarawa State, what we need to do if we win the election. That was the idea. So they came up with their report.
“So, knowing that this kind of things can happen, we can come up with a report and after the campaigns we close the report, put it under the table and it is still gathering dust, we decided to come up with an implementation committee. We just finished our EXCO meeting now. And at the EXCO meeting, every EXCO meeting, we have what we call a sector report. Every ministry will tell us how they are following up with their assignments, how are they living by the budget they provided. Everyone will tell us their own report and that is what we will take. Because in this part of the world, once there is no implementation and follow up, you will miss the point.
“And that is why I am happy to tell you that part of what we see we are doing; when we came up with the idea of developing tourism in Nasarawa State, we didn’t just stop at talking about it. We looked at the sites. And one of the sites we picked was actually the Farin Ruwa project. We said the Farin Ruwa project is a beautiful site but it can also do two additional things for us in Nasarawa State. At the water table where the water was falling, easily you can generate between 10 to 15MW of power at that level. At the dam itself, we say easily you can generate 25MW of power. 40MW of power is enough to power Nasarawa, Benue and Plateau together, all the three States.
“So we said how do we go about doing that so we don’t stop at just talking? After the visit, we came out to say nobody will go to those sites if we don’t construct the roads. With all the problems we had of lack of funds, we started by awarding the road for roughly about 3 billion (naira). We decided to construct the road to the area to encourage the Federal Government to come in. So the Federal Government now agreed and gave the contract. As I am talking to you today they are constructing the dam.”
According to him, the common saying that politicians are all talk with little or no action does not apply to him as his government from inception, has always tried to follow through and implement plans and policies for the good of Nasarawa State.
He however lamented that some sectors have not enjoyed the speed and attention he wished they enjoyed. In his words: “One of it I can tell you exactly is education. Am impressed as a Governor, every time we go and sit down discussing about education, out of the 36 States, you will see Nasarawa is number 29, 31, 32? So, I am not impressed with that.
“So we decided to do the baseline survey. But the implementation of the baseline survey to me, is too slow.
“And I know part of our problems. One is getting the committed hands that will also take it the way we will take it and do it. Most of the times you get people, they are more interested in the DTA that will happen. It is when I came to Nasarawa that I understand DTA. When I was in Dangote I didn’t even know what DTA was. When I came here, it took me some time after they explained the DTA I then understood it.”
The Governor then called on the journalists to help by selling Nasarawa State to the rest of the country and the world saying that whatever benefits coming to the State is not for the Governor or any single person but for the good of the entire State.
He commended journalists in Nasarawa State for their work because according to him, the State is now being heard of more than before when Nasarawa State only appears in the news once in a long while.
He said, “I can’t say I am completely disappointed with journalists in Nasarawa State because if they have not been promoting and helping and sending that information, maybe it will not be happening.”
He then called for an improvement in the partnership between the press and the government of Nasarawa State.
On the welfare of journalists and the fate of the State-owned Nasarawa Broadcasting Service (NBS), Engineer Abdullahi Sule promised to lift the NBS to the same standard with the likes of African Independent Television (AIT) and Channels TV because according to him, no investor will take the State seriously if that is not done.
He said he is aware of the dearth of equipment and facilities at the State-owned station and there are already moves going on to remedy the situation.
Tuesday March 23, 2021
Tuesday March 23, 2021, was dedicated to sports. In the morning, the Table Tennis Finals were played. The event took place at the NUJ Press Centre, along Makurdi road, Lafia.
It should be reported that the Table Tennis tournament was made possible thanks to the assistance by the State Deputy Governor, Dr Emmanuel A. Akabe.
It was against that backdrop that the leadership of the Council and Press Week Committee requested him to be the special Guest of Honour at the Finals, which he accepted and was there personally and presented the prizes to the winners of the Male and Female categories.
The two prizes went to Suleiman Mohammed and Patience Jacob, both of Nasarawa Broadcasting Service (NBS) chapel who emerged winners of male and female categories of the table tennis tournament for 2021.
Just before the finals were decided, the Deputy Governor played a ceremonial match with the Senior Reverend of ERCC Gloryland, Lafia, Very Rev Peter Y Aya.
In his speech at the occasion, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, Deputy Governor of Nasarawa State promised to institute an annual table tennis tournament for journalists in the state to keep fit.
Akabe said he would provide the needed resources the annual event through the leadership of NUJ in the state to ensure the success of the tournament.
He pointed out that keeping fit was critical to the general well-being and productivity of everyone including journalists, hence the decision to sponsor the annual tournament.
The Deputy Governor, therefore, advised journalists to take advantage of the table tennis facility provided at the Press Centre Lafia, to burn calories and live healthy.
He also promised to provide additional set of table tennis board and facilitate the building of hall at the NUJ Press Centre Lafia, in order for journalists to play the game indoor.
Earlier, Salihu Mohammed-Alkali, Chairman of NUJ and Mr Matthew Kuju, Chairman of the Press Week committee thanked the Deputy Governor and the State Government for their support towards the success of the press week.
The duo also appreciated members of the union for massively turning out for the activities lined up for the week.
Later in the evening of that day, there was a novelty football march between the journalists and lawyers in the State.
By 3:30pm, the two teams filed out at the Lafia City Stadium, Bukan Sidi, Lafia. During the half time, the Chairman of the NUJ, Comrade Salihu Mohammed Alkali led of other officials of the State Council as well as Press Week Committee to perform the kick-off ceremony of march.
At the full time of play, team NUJ defeated Nigeria Bar Association 3-1. It was indeed a good time.
Wednesday March 24, 2021
On Wednesday March 24, 2021, there was Seminar during which three presentations were made. It held at NUJ Press Centre, beginning from10:00am.
The papers were presented by Mallam Sani Ibn Salihu, the General manager of the Nigeria Television Authority, Lafia, Musa Abdullahi, Deputy Director of News, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Headquarters and Ladi Bala, the President of NAWOJ.
In his presentation titled: Demarketing Fake News, the General Manager, Nigeria Television Authority (NTA), Lafia said refusal by public officers to divulge information to journalists was one of the factors responsible of fake news in the country.
According to him, public officers often make themselves unavailable to clarify issues concerning their duties in their respective offices to journalists.
He said it is unfortunate to imagine that public officers are afraid to be accountable to the public.
He said the position is for public service and not private, therefore, occupiers should see journalists as partners, adding that, it is through the media that public officer easily get across to the public.
He used the occasion to appealed to Nasarawa State Government to direct all Commissioners and head of Ministries, Departments and Agencies to always make themselves available to journalists as a way to be accountable to the public.
He explained that if they public are properly informed, it would go a long way to dispel fake news being paddle in the social media by non-professionals.
The GM of NTA Lafia also challenged journalists to ensure they always disseminate the truth so as to win public confidence so as to de-market fake news.
In his presentation titled: The Role of the Media in the Development of Nasarawa State Since Creation and the Question of Professionalism, Musa Abdullahi, Deputy Director of News, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Headquarters, urged media professionals to always report the truth to maintain their credibility.
He said journalists derogate themselves before news makers as the very important people in the society.
The Deputy Director of news of FRCN said journalists should focus attention on reporting activities in the rural areas and human angle stories so that the people would feel carried along.
On her part, Ladi Bala, National President, Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) said women are underrepresented in government business across the country.
The President of the entire women journalists in the country therefore, appealed to government at all levels to give women more opportunity to contribute to the development of the nation.
The public lecture also future questions and answers from journalists in the state on the challenges confronting the media industry.
Later in the evening of the same Wednesday March 24, 2021, there was NAWOJ Kitchen.
The idea behind having NAWOJ kitchen during the 2021 Press Week of the Nasarawa State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalist, was to have an event where the rich culture of the people of Nasarawa and indeed Nigeria, can be displayed through a variety of dishes.
This was also the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), giving special recognition to the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ), one of the most important arms of the NUJ.
The special guest at the event was no less a personality than the wife of the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, Hajiya Salifat Abdullahi Sule. And although she was not there herself, the First Lady of Nasarawa State was ably represented by the wife of the Secretary to the Government of Nasarawa State, Hajiya Zainab Aliyu Mohammed.
There were also other notable personalities – male and female – present including the National President of NAWOJ, Mrs Ladi Bala, Dr Zainab Ahmed, the first female Secretary to the Nasarawa State Government (SSG) and Honourable Mohammed Omadefu, Chairman Nasarawa State House of Assembly Committee on Information.
The Nasarawa State Commissioner for Education Hajiya Fati Sabo and the Permanent Secretary, Nasarawa State Ministry of Finance, Mr Emmanuel Alidzi were represented at the event.
In her remarks at the event, representative of the First Lady of Nasarawa State, Hajiya Zainab Aliyu Mohammed congratulated the NUJ for marking this year’s press week and also NAWOJ for coming up with a program to address what she described as a fundamental problem in our society.
She said, “If you go to many homes today, you don’t hear them speaking our dialect. What you hear is English. We are copying from the white man when he is not copying anything from us.
“It is the same with food. We eat more of junks which are not healthy for us. This is the fault of the women. We need to be awake to our responsibility and ensure that only healthy meals are served in our homes, and the younger generation will also learn from us.”
She urged NAWOJ to carry on with the campaign for the consumption of healthy meals beyond the press week to make meaningful impact.
In her address, Mrs Ladi Bala the NAWOJ National President described the NAWOJ kitchen as “very key because we are talking of our culture. Our culture is our own way of life. Culture is the totality of who we are. And there is no better way for us to express ourselves than through our culture. It is our identity.
“I want to say that what NAWOJ set out to do today is also to show the need for us to embrace our culture. We need to go back to the roots to provide healthy meals for our family. The health of our family should be paramount because they say health is wealth. So, when you don’t pay attention to the kind of meal you feed to your family, you are doing a disservice to your family and to the society. Many people come down with various kinds of ailment as a result of the concoction that we do.”
Also speaking, the first female SSG in Nasarawa State Dr Zainab Ahmed who could not hide her enthusiasm thanked the organisers for inviting her while apologising to the NUJ for her inability to attend the other programs lined up for the press week.
Dr Zainab Ahmed who took the opportunity to speak extensively about the rights of women in the society, advocated for more opportunities to be given to the women in the spirit of fairness.
She said, “It’s a pity that we are in a man’s world. Women are given little or no opportunity. And the reason is because you are a woman.
“Our message is that we grew up together, we attended the same schools, collected the same results – some of us even performed better than the men. But when it comes to elective positions, I am sure we know the statistics. The legislature is the worst culprit. No woman as a legislature. Even at the local level, how many women were elected as councillors? We have only one Deputy Chairman.
“Alhamdillilahi, the Judiciary seems to have bailed us out. We now have a woman as Chief Judge of Nasarawa State.
“You go to the Executive, what is the score card? Okay, we have two commissioners and usually it is only a woman that gets sent to the Ministry of Women Affairs. Why not a man?
“We have executives of boards and parastatals. Who is a woman chairman of a board? Nil. At best, we are members of commissions and boards. Maybe that is our lot for this time but I am sure it is going to change because we have been making complaints loud and clear. I am sure the Governor is a listening Governor. He must have listened so we expect him to do some changes for us.”
She called for women in the media to be allowed to do challenging jobs because they have the capacity just like their male counterparts.
She also took time to advocate for equity and equality in elective and appointive positions in government saying that the 30 percent affirmative action was not sufficient and it is the society that will be the beneficiary of more women in government.
She also urged women to avoid what she termed ‘pull her down syndrome’ whereby women harp on mistakes made by their fellow woman in a position of authority thereby causing her downfall. According to her, no one is above mistakes and so women have to stick together and support each other.
Comrade Dan Usman who represented the Permanent Secretary, Nasarawa State Ministry of Finance, Mr Emmanuel Alidzi, commended the NAWOJ for the initiative to organise the NAWOJ kitchen which according to him is another way of promoting the rich culture of Nasarawa State and even Nigeria at large.
He lamented that many young ladies do not even know how to cook the traditional dishes of their various tribes saying that more programs such as the NAWOJ kitchen need to be organised more often so our culture can be sustained and promoted in an ever-changing world.
After all the speeches were made, it was time to open the dishes and invited guests were led to the stands where the various dishes were arranged according to tribes including Eggon, Mada, Alago, Wamba, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba among others.
There were freewill donations for the advancement of NAWOJ in Nasarawa State.
The grand finale of the Press Week took place on Thursday March 25, 2021 at the Ibrahim Abacha Youth Centre, Shendam road, Lafia.
Tagged Appeal Fund Launch/Dinner/Award Night, the event attracted journalists in their numbers as well as friends of the media and guests from various walks of life.
The special guest of honour was the Governor of Nasarawa State, was represented by the Director General, Strategic Communications, Mr Yakubu Lamai.
Also present were the following: the NUJ President, Comrade Chris Isiguzo, the Vice President Zone D, Chief Wilson Bako, the NAWOJ President, Ladi Bala, the Honourable Commissioner of Information, Culture and Tourism, Comrade Dogo D. Shammah, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Barr Yusuf Musa, the General Manager of Nasarawa Broadcasting Service, Mr Aloko Flashman and the Chief Executive Officer of Breeze FM Lafia, Dr Nawani Aboki.
Also present were: Senator Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, represented by Danjuma Joseph, Dr Joseph Haruna Kigbu represented by Mallam Musa Magaji, Dr Ikrama Hassan (CMG of the Dalhatu Araf Specialist Hospital, Lafia), the wife nd children of Late Philips Tatari Shekwo, the slain State Chairman of APC, dr Alemo Thomas, Head of Department of Mass Communication, Federal University of Lafia
To formally set the event rolling, the State Chairman of the Council, Comrade Salihu Mohammed Alkali gave a welcome address in which he promised to give the Council effective leadership.
In his remarks, Comrade Chris Isiguzo, President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists asserted media’s role in democracy, saying ‘we will not keep mute’.
Comrade Chris Isiguzo, reiterated the constitutional responsibility of the media to hold Government accountable to its citizens, noting that the media remained the last of hope Nigerians.
According to him, the level of insecurity in Nigeria had made the country highly vulnerable, noting that the three arms of government: executive, legislature and judiciary, had technically given up, leaving the media as the last hope of Nigerians.
He, therefore, charged journalists to continue to exercise their constitutional responsibility of holding Government accountable to the people, instead of keeping mute.
Isiguzo said: “Today Nigeria is not secure.
“The challenge of insecurity has become a common thing.
“We are so concerned that life has become so cheap in Nigeria.
“The primary responsibility of every Government is to protect the lives and property of its citizenry.
“We will not keep quiet about what has become a trending issue, that is affecting Nigeria.
“It is obvious that Nigerians are now looking up to the media as their only hope, the executive, legislature and judiciary having technically give up.
“The media now remains their last hope.
“Therefore, we will not keep mute.
“It means that both the Government and the governed look up to the media for a sense of direction.”
The NUJ President called on Government at all levels and traditional institutions to rise to the occasion by putting their hands on the deck to ensure that the citizens of Nigeria go to sleep with their two eyes closed.
“We are appealing to President Muhammadu Buhari as much as we appreciate him for the work he has been doing recently, to some extent he overhauled the security architecture, but he needs to do more,” he said.
Isiguzo commended Governor Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State for extending support to the members of fourth estate of the realm, saying the media appreciated the number of projects his administration had initiated and completed.
“Democracy without impacting on the life of people is not democracy, because democracy is about people, once people are alienated from the government that’s no longer a democracy,” he said.
Isiguzo, while commending the Nasarawa State Council for organising a colourful press week, said the essence of the week was to afford journalists review activities of the past year, with a view to making amends and improving, where necessary.
The major highlights of the evening were the awards that were presented. There were three categories of award. There were awards based on the entries made by reporters and the winners emerged after thorough assessments by the Press Week Committee. There were awards based on the assessments by the Committee on the professional and ethical conducts of the journalists in the State and the awards to those described as Friends of the Media.
The friends of media were: The State Governor, Engr Abdullahi A. Sule, the slain APC State Chairman, Philips Tatari Shekwo, the Chief Medical Director of the Dalhatu Specialist Hospital, Lafia, Dr Ikrama Hassan and the longest serving Vendor in Nasarawa State, Alhaji Sale Ibrahim based in Keffi,
To add colour and excitement to the occasion was the Isa Kungar Cultural Troupe.
On the whole, the 2021 Press Week was adjudged by journalists and non-journalists as having been well planned and executed.