The Annual Roundtable On Cultural Orientation (ARTCO) organised by the National Institute for Cultural Orientation (Nico), ended in Illorin Kwara state capital, last week Wednesday with many questions unanswered on how the media should tread on promoting Nigeria’s Cultural diversity without hurting national aspirations and unity.
In other words, the media is largely seen as the soul and body of the nation, yet denied basic oxygen to aggregate the quest for national Unity and cohesion, through detailed understanding of our unique Cultural attributes and thousand songs, tongues, dances, religion, history and culinary experiences.
Issues of Operational challenges, such as media ownership, government regulation, lack of internal censorship, poor remuneration and training, insurance, irritations from the people and influence of tribe and political interference were generously highlighted by the speakers and discussants, leaving little or no room to clinically find out where the shoe pinches media Practitioners, many who were present but found it difficult to defend the myriad of failings heaped at the media for not getting Nigerians to see Nigeria as one nation, different tongues.
Certain realities came fore at the highly engaging confab, particularly the issues on the abuse of the new media, certainly driven by untrained media professionals but with its many troubles burdened at the editorial tables of trained practitioners.
Indeed, Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, hinted that the time to regulate this” social media” has come, yet again, the fear of the mainstream media on this regulation drumbeat, remains the unexplainable challenge during the discourse.
Significantly, all the papers presented were richly researched, provoking refreshing dimensions. Professor Jawondo Ibrahimm Abdulganiyu of the university of Illorin, took an overview insight on “Culture and inter Ethnic Relations” while Associate Professor, Saadat Bekki of the Mass Communication department of the University of Illorin, fired introspection on “ media and security management in Nigeria.”
On this outing, I will try to dwell more on the papers of this intellectual egg heads, drawing from the interjections of the very vibrant participants.
For the records, however, Dr Ebenezer Lawal, of the Federal University, Lokoja, dropped a bomb shell on multi Cultural and Diversity management, the role of the media, Dr Kabiru Lawanti from Ahmadu Bello University, “ culture and social Media and National Cohesion and Professor Muhammed Sanni Umar, from ABU, on “The media and the sustenance of Democracy in Nigeria “
It will amount to media misdemeanor if one failed to note the very creative and futuristic intervention by Raheem Adedoyin, ex Guardian newspaper guru, now a politician and Media trainer who clearly and methodically, browsed through the history of the Nigerian media and our democratic journey.
One fact across board, is the reality that the media cannot be separated from same people, it chose to carry their burden. Professors Jawondo Ibrahimm and Saadat Bekki, threw plenty posers, leaving open more windows for interrogation.
Saadat Bekki said’ in matters of security the media are expected to be smoke detectors and heat sensors that signal danger far before it erupts” and not surprising, hit the gavel against the media for failing in this and other areas of reportage on national security.
Professor Jawondo Ibrahimm historical rundown, on ethnic demographics and dimensions, brought about a robust remarks from the DG, Nico, Mallam Ado Yahuza, who opined that the Nigeria’s cultural history and diversity, pre dates colonial occupation, noting poor reportage of the gains of our Cultural diversity as against what divides the people by the media as the generator of the many troubling developmental dislocations facing Nigeria.
Dr Gerald Adewole, a discussant from National Council for Arts and Culture ( NCAC), took the veil off the eyes of participants, drawing practical engagement of the media by NCAC to identify, promote and showcase strong value chains of the Nigerian Cultural diversity and to which has built up a more enduring platform for Cultural role models in all aspects of our private and public lives.
Even though he knocked the Nigerian media for not doing enough and for being “patronized and dictated to by the political class, the under laying truth is that the Nigerian media cannot solve all the national problems from a ‘siddon look” and very disadvantage corner.
Indeed, the confab opened up the under belly of the Nigerian media industry, in a most critical expectations on the getting groved into the culture seminary , factoring its basic orientation values for the growth of a healthy national Unity and cohesion.
National Institute for Cultural Orientation (Nico), has proven that its mandate to oxygenate and propel new thinking, relationship and reportage of Nigeria diverse culture is on course and doable, there are however room for closer engagement, retraining and practical exposure for the Nigerian media to take this expectations to the public space and for the good of national development.
Nigeria is great and blessed no doubt, but it’s imperative for the national assembly to take a second a look at the national budget circle and fund the penetration and acceptance of Cultural Revolution across the nation through a well-trained fourth estate of the realms
If space permits, from next week, we shall course to publish edited inputs of the papers presented to help enrich the fresh thinking on harnessing the media value chain through Cultural Orientation reportage to the sustainable benefits of national development and cohesion.
Definition of the word ‘diversity’ from socioeconomic and political backgrounds, further reinforced the need for the media roundtable, looking at contemporary end posts and how other less culturally endowed nations, have effectively defined and pushed their case to their people. Nico, under the watch of Mallam Ado Yahuza,am sure will address the issues one by one.