By Innocent Eteng
Could it be true that Nigeria loses billions of naira yearly due to lack of national cohesion and security? National cohesion is said to be a process of getting all segments of the country to agree on what should be done to boost the economy and enhance security. The media was chosen to put out the concept.
Over three dozen journalists from different media platforms in the South-South and South East regions were therefore challenged to see themselves as key players in achieving the much needed cohesion and security through positive reporting.
The urge came through a media parley organized by First City Monument Bank (FCMB) in Port Harcourt on Wednesday, March 27, 2019.
Diran Olojo, FCMB’s Group Head, Corporate Affairs, said the confab was put together because the bank appreciates the value of the media in progress-making and in building the economy.
He said the discussion was brought to journalists in the two regions because “the South-South and South East, for most of the years, have been some of the best regions the bank has,” he said, adding that the confab was a demonstration of how much FCMB as a bank valued the media.
In his presentation titled: “Achieving National Cohesion and Security Through Positive Reporting: The Role of the Media”, Chief Executive Officer of Corporate Shepherds Limited, Idorenyen Enang, described the concept a process and an outcome of instilling and enabling all citizens to see themselves as members of one country and enterprise. He said achieving national cohesion required everything and everybody to make it happen.
He, however, quickly added that a great task falls on the media, which he said have over the years, inflicted burns through negative reporting.
“You must be good story tellers,” he says, challenging the journalists to take a positive tilting in their reports by letting go of moribund standards and embracing something better – excellence, a departure from which he says births mediocrity.
To achieve this, he says in addition to gaining mastery through drive and influence, journalists must display another characteristic – “analytical rigour” by exhaustively answering the question “why”.
“Whenever you set yourself to report, ask yourself ‘have I answered the question “why”?’,” Enang asked. “If we want to change things in this country, begin to reorient people in their minds because we are legacy builders.”
He says a good place to begin is the national pledge that instils loyalty and faithfulness as against leaning on religious and ethnic bias in reporting.
“What do we report? (We report) Herdsmen kill 20 persons. If we would do our best reporting positively, with time, we would change the narrative.
“What price are you going to pay for the new Nigeria? I want to challenge you to start telling stories using the national pledged. The pledge is the most potent tool to build national cohesion. It says ‘I pledged to Nigeria, my country; To be faithful, loyal and honest….’ If there is anything you are taking home from here today, I want you to start telling stories using the national pledge,” he said.
He said with cohesion achieved, social inclusion and others would follow as national values.
He urged the writers to invest in themselves if they must earn mastery because “if you can’t earn mastery, you can’t stand out.”
Meanwhile, some participants expressed satisfaction in the level of information they garnered in the process of the discussion.
“You know we always think gaining mastery is to out-do the others or cast aspersions on competitors, but I have learnt that it is about you mastering and improving yourself,” says Chioma Ezenwafor who works with Cool FM in Port Harcourt.
The dialogue reiterates global glamour on the need for media to balance issues in their reportage. Calls for attention to be given to solutions-based efforts at solving social problems and fostering development have particularly been on the rise in the past several decades, leading to an uptick in the emergence of solutions-centred media platforms across the globe.