November 26, (THEWILL) – On Tuesday, November 14, 2023, the cream of the Nigerian media made up of more than 300 media executives and senior editors converged on Uyo to attend the 19th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference (ANEC).
Among the participants were members of the Kano/Jigawa NGE Forum made up of editors drawn from the Kano and Jigawa belt, ably led by the Chairman of the group, Dr Sule Yau Sule.
They traversed more than 1,000 kilometers and crisscrossed about 10 states notably Kano, Kaduna, Nasarawa, Benue, Kogi, Enugu, Ebonyi, Imo,Abia and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, to reach Uyo, the host city, arguably making them the editors who covered the longest distance to attend the all-important conference.
The five-day conference themed: ‘Stimulating Economic Growth, Technological Advancement: The Role of the Media,’ featured economists, technology experts and media professionals who deliberated on the nation’s economic and technological challenges and proffered the way forward.
While welcoming the editors and other guests to the peaceful oil city, the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Eze Anaba, said the conference would also examine “Nigerian media sustainability and the existential threat by the Big Tech and what we need to do in the face of the new reality.”
“It will afford the participants the opportunity to discuss issues affecting the journalism profession and proffer solutions that hopefully will enhance its robust practice in the country,” Anaba said.
Much earlier, the Oku Ibom Ibibio and President-General, Akwa Ibom Supreme Council of Traditional Rulers, His Eminence Nteyin (Dr) Solomon Daniel Etuk, on behalf of the royal fathers, also welcomed editors and other guests to the state.
Etuk said the theme of the conference indicated the willingness of the editors “to contribute towards reviving our communal economy at a time we desire to bring it to the fore and promote same.”
“The Supreme Council and I do attest to your continuous gatekeeping and agenda setting role, especially towards Nigeria’s political and economic advancement over the years.
“It is my fervent belief in your commitment to the upholding of high moral and ethical journalism practice for a better Nigeria that I feel highly elated to associate with and welcome the editors to Akwa Ibom State,” the Oku Ibom Ibibio said.
Declaring the well-attended conference open, President Bola Tinubu said his administration would continue to work to promote free and robust media without any intention to stifle the press.
Represented by the Minister of Information and National Orientation, Mohammed Idris, President Tinubu also urged the editors to tackle the issue of fake news and misinformation through fact checking.
He stressed the need for media professionals to ensure responsible reporting and digital literacy, even as he tasked them on operating within the framework of the ethics of journalism with utmost sense of duty and patriotism.
Earlier in his address, the Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Pastor Umo Eno, commended the Nigerian media “for the robust role it has played in demanding good governance, for working to strengthen our institutions, for the good job it has done, sometimes at grave risk to see to the deepening of our democratic culture and traditions.
“You have advocated the need to have justice, equity and fair play as we work to achieve and nourish our unbending cords of unity.
“As excited and proud of the great work you have done, there are however, some areas that are very concerning and that’s why the theme of this confab is so apt and timely” Stimulating Economic Growth, Technological Advancement: Role of the Media,” Pastor Eno said.
The governor was later on Thursday conferred with an Award of Excellence in Good Governance for his media-friendly disposition by the Nigerian Guild of Editors at a Gala Night held at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Uyo.
The award, which was presented to him by the NGE President, Eze Anaba, was part of the activities rounding off the 2023 All Nigeria Editors Conference.
Presenting the award, Anaba extolled the Governor Eno-led administration in the state for raising the bar in governance through the A.R.I.S.E Agenda and reaffirmed the benefits of a continuum in governance as evident in the success stories in the different sectors of the state.
“Akwa Ibom State has shown us the possibilities in Nigeria. Akwa Ibom State has proven that we can have a good country. Akwa Ibom has debunked some theories that only the private sector can drive an economy, with the success of Ibom Air, you have indeed given hope for a better Nigeria,” he said.
Receiving the award, Eno thanked the guild for recognising the efforts of his administration in delivering good governance to Akwa Ibom people and to justify the mandate given to him.
He also thanked the NGE for choosing Akwa Ibom for their 19th conference and reaffirmed the readiness of the state government to collaborate with the media to tell the Akwa Ibom story which, according to him, is written with a focus on the ARISE Agenda.
Another highlight of the conference was the induction of 39 new members and installation of 14 fellows of the NGE. This event was particularly a joyful one for the Kano/Jigawa NGE Forum as two of its members were eminently part of it.
They were Hajiya Maimuna Garba, a very senior colleague, who was installed as a Fellow of the guild and Adamu Ibrahim Dabo Dawakin Tofa, who was inducted as a member of the guild.
The conference formally ended with a communique in which the NGE said among other things, that it aligned itself with the measures so far adopted by the Federal Government to revive the nation’s economy.
It, however, warned that the path to total economic recovery should not be littered with “corpses” of those who cannot survive the suffocating heat of the present situation.
Also, in the communique signed by Anaba and the guild’s General Secretary, Iyobosa Uwugiaren, the editors urged the Federal Government to reduce the deafening anxiety among Nigerians by taking short-term measures that would address soaring prices of goods and services, a depreciating currency, volatile exchange rates, illiquidity in the foreign exchange market, high-interest rates, high trade costs, declining purchasing power, escalating production costs, rising energy cost, slump in industrial capacity utilisation and erosion of profit margins.
A particularly interesting aspect of the conference was an invitation extended by Governor Eno to editors to be part of Akwa Ibom’s month-long celebration of Christmas, especially the 2023 edition of the Ibom Christmas Carol scheduled for December 15 at Unity Park, Uyo.
The governor’s announcement at the Gala Night was greeted with thunderous ovation from editors who viewed it as a continuation of the weeklong hospitality they were accorded by the Akwa Ibom State Government.
Before their departure to their various destinations on Saturday, November 18,2023, many of the editors were overheard expressing interest to return to Uyo to savour the Ibom Christmas Carol.
All that started well, ended well. The Uyo ANEC was one of the most successful ever organised by the NGE and it will linger in Editors’ memories for a long time to come.
About the Author
Abdullahi Yusuf is a seasoned journalist, communicator and was previously the Deputy Editor-In-Chief and Zonal Manager, News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Jos, where he retired on December 15, 2021