MANY doyens of Nigerian journalism Friday poured encomium on the out-going President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye as he transferred the baton of leadership to the in-coming executive members of the association after four years of exemplary leadership.
The virtues of the out-going President were extolled at the 2013 convention of NGE held at the Premier Hotel, Ibadan Friday.
Before the election of new executive members, Mr. Adefaye gave the account of his stewardship saying he was happy he did not betray the confidence reposed in him four years ago when he was given the mandate to lead the association.
He said, “you gave me the mandate and I promised you not to put you in shame through any unwholesome conduct. We have tried our best in this regard.
Adefaye extolled the exemplary leadership of Alhaji Lateef Jakande, Aremo Olusegun Osoba, Mr. Sam Amuka, Mr. Ajibola Ogunshola, Dr. Tony Iredia, Nduka Obaigbena, Tony Momoh, Mrs. Comfort Obi and others.
He said he was grateful that he was able to fulfil some of his promises noting that very soon about 20 editors and journalists would go to Paris for training.
He called for the upward review of membership bill adding that when there is no money, there is no association. He urged the incoming executives to exhibit high level of professionalism while striving to make the association great.
The Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Ray Ekpu, underscored the importance of journalism in the fight against oppression. He recalled how men of the profession fought spiritedly against injustice done to Alhaji Balarabe Musa and Abdulrahman Shugaba.
He lamented the death of Sketch newspapers calling on Governor Ajimobi to prevail on other Odua governors to ensure the resuscitation of the newspaper which he described as the best profit making government newspaper before its extinction.
The host governor, Senator Ajimobi, said,“Newspapers cannot offer us that ability to document this pas sing history because of their peri shability. This is why converting some of those historical events into books is a great service to humanity. Such efforts should be encouraged so that posterity will be availed the opportunity of having access to some of these journalism patriarchs’ great journalistic efforts and critical historical occasions that are reported in the media”.
He warned of a great threat to newspaper publication in Nigeria, which, he said, was the availability of same news materials on the internet.
“Many newspaper readers do not have to purchase hard copies of the paper but resort to reading the content of the news online. This has affected the fortune of newspapers greatly. Many great newspapers like Next have had to close shop due to the capital intensive nature of newspaper publication and the dwindling returns from advertisements and circulation”, .
”This has posed the challenge of the need for the Nigerian media to gravitate towards online publications. It is the new wave of media and guarantees less capital and 24-hr availability of news to the readers.
“However, online publications pose their own great challenge to the practice of journalism. Chief among this is the infiltration of non-professionals and all manners of people into journalism practice. This has swelled the ranks of falsehood peddlers and those who assassinate characters of the elite without corresponding verification of their reports. And because their news is made available to a multiplicity of readers, it enjoys wide audience and rave review which has the potential to destroy faster than a bushfire in the harmattan”, he said.