National unity tops focus of FRCN’s lecture
The Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN) Annual Lecture provided a platform for discourse on need for national unity.
Media events usually provide avenues for national discourse and brain-storming and the 2017 FRCN Annual Lecture, was no exception. The theme of the lecture “The Role of the Media in promoting National Unity and Productivity” was apt for media personalities and guests to air their views on matters that affected Nigeria.
The guest lecturer and former co-founder and managing editor, Newswatch magazine, Lagos, Dan Agbese, explained that it was impossible for a repressed media to partner with nation builders because their role is dedicated to the public good and hence must not be taken for granted. Agbese, who is the Executive Director, Mayfive Media Limited, appealed to Nigerians to approach national unity as a process rather than a project.
He said the role of the media in the process of national unity is to tell the truth at all times, pointing out that attention placed on the media is not misplaced.
According to him, whatever might be our personal attitude towards the media, it cannot be denied that it constitute an important social institution and play roles noble or ignoble that affects all and the Nigerian state itself in almost equal measure.
The Head of Mass Communication department, Baze University, Abuja and one of the discussants at the lecture, Dr Abiodun Adeniyi, stated that the instrument of national unity is not reserved only for the media as it is a sector within the multi sectors and has to work within the framework of other sectors. He expressed reservations that it is often take for granted that many persons understood the context of the media.
Adeniyi noted that with education, tolerance and understanding, that is desired as a nation can be achieved using the media as one platform.
Another discussant, Barrister Esther Uzoma, using the woman as an example of unity, said that the Nigerian woman is that person that leaves her home in the South-East, go to Maiduguri lives with a man and assumes a different identity. She believes in this country.
She said the media creates reality, defines beauty, provide context, information, provoke and sustain interest in whatever information was available.
“People in power make laws based on their perception of reality and this reality is created by the press. The Nigerian press in a subliminal level sculptures our minds,” she noted.
The guest speaker and Governor of Kano State, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje said the country has crossed the red line few months ago where vested interests, hate speeches and divisive materials flooded the media.
According to him, journalists had an important role to play in unifying the country.
He said if Barack Obama can because President of USA, there was hope for Nigeria, hope for the Idoma man and hope for the man from Southern Kaduna to become Governor of Kaduna State without political accident.
The Director-General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, (FRCN), Dr Mansur Liman, said discourse in Nigeria move from protecting the individual, to protecting the whole and from sentimental utterances that have further divided the country.
He said the media must be up and about in reducing ignorance in the society and bring to the fore, the need for unity in diversity. Liman said the new media must play by the rules, while traditional media must continue to spread love, provide a clear picture of happenings and reduce ignorance.
Dan Agbese presenting his paper at the lecture