By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
The Chief Executive Officer of Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ), Motunrayo Alaka, has said that Nigeria’s population is a great asset which can be harnessed to enhance its social and economic development.
Speaking during her 40th birthday celebration and book launch which took place at the Foundation of Truth Assembly, in Lagos on Tuesday, she said what Nigeria needs is a new set of values to drive it to greatness and not for its citizens to abandon it and move to other countries.
She explained that her book “BITS”, which is a collection of articles written over a period of nine years, centers on themes from the Bible and good governance, while reiterating that even though politicking is not her turf, she always puts in much effort into serving the country.
‘Politicking is not my turf but I would like to serve my country and I am already serving my country. I was taught as a child that occupying a position is not the most important thing and that leadership is about showing up and doing something. So, all my life, I have always showed up, whether it is to lend support or encouragement. I am serving my nation and will continue doing so.
‘My book “BITS” means Bible Inspired Thoughts and it’s a collection of articles I have written over a period of nine years. I put it together because I wanted to do something for myself and being an author is a dream. It is about thoughts that I got while reading the Bible. The biggest chapter in the book is about governance in Nigeria and the fact that we need to build this country. We are about 200 million people, so where are we going to go to? Nigeria is the only country that we have and we have everything it takes to be a great nation.
‘As a female, I have put in a lot of work into what I do. I put in a lot of midnight work and went on years without leave. That is not how it is supposed to be but that is how it happened to me. I put in a lot of hard work to get to where I am. Also, I value relationships a lot and I love collaborating with people. I am also strategic; I think about what I want to do and I do it.
‘About our center’s training for women, it is highly competitive. Last year, we got over 190 applications and we were looking for only 20 candidates. For the awards, it is the highest for investigative journalism in Nigeria and if you put in the hard work, you will win. We have judges that mark the scripts and they do not even mark with names of the journalists, they mark with codes because our system is very transparent,’ she said.
The Senior Pastor of the church, Rev Yomi Kasali, described Alaka as a born reformer, saying that the celebrant believes in doing things right at all times. ‘She is deeply spiritual and has grown in age and the work of God. I saw in her a leader because she thinks and believes well above her age. She has a deep passion for humanity and that is why I ordained her a pastor. We need people like her in government. We need people like her who are honest, hardworking and detribalised. If there is anyone I will root for to go into public service, it’s Motunrayo. She’s an asset to this nation and someone that will always but in the work and deliver excellence,’ Kasali said.