…As Edo State University Uzairue Holds Its 4th Convocation Lecture
By Simeon OSAJIE
The former Director General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Prof. Tonnie Iredia have accused the Nigerian politicians of overheating the word ‘fake news’ items in Nigeria, adding that the mainstream media rely on social media for information.
Prof. Iredia made the accusations at the Edo State University Uzairue 4th convocation lecture when he delivered the convocation lecture titled “Fake News: Rethinking The Role Of The Mainstream And Social Media In National Development,” under the Chairmanship of Prof. Lilian Salami, Vice Chancellor, University of Benin and Chairperson, Committee of Vice Chancellors federal universities.
He said the role of the media is very significant as its fought against the military in 1966-79 and 1983-99 and also fought against the leaders of presidential democracy for failure to develop the nation.
According to Iredia, social media has an unequaled potential for mass mobilization for societal development as it can bring together large crowd of people for community service, and it is also important to make the point that social media and mainstream media are not mutually exclusive and with technological advancement, mainstream journalists now employ social media platform to speedily gather information and adjust to the new methods of news processing, packaging and reporting.
The guest lecturer said that the mainstream media has its own weakness as some professionals are unfit, insufficient and irregular remuneration which negatively affects employee efficiency; ownership control which often deprived of initiative and discretion and inadequate human and material resources leading to long hours of duty because of a small workforce; Poor manpower development which is shown in many employees never getting opportunity to upgrade their knowledge.
The former NTA Director General reiterated that popularity of fake news is not a Nigeria thing as anything that doesn’t favour Nigeria politician is always regarded as fake news. The negative impact this challenges have on performance can hardly be over stressed. He said those who criticized the media believe that every journalist is corrupt which is not being correct because it is an irrational generalization that cannot be proved.
According to him, “Fake news does not just refer to false news in Nigeria; it is also used to include fake statements, misinformation and disinformation as fake news has since acquired several dimensions”.
In Nigeria politics and elections in particular, it is fashionable to describe any piece of information including verified facts as fake news by those it does not favour.
He therefore enquired which one is fake news, the budget that was announced is always different from the one implemented. During the COVID-19, that affected Nigeria and other countries, Govenor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State made news when he exempted his state from COVID-19 protocol approved by the federal government and declared it a glorified malaria sickness, yet, every day the NCDC was declaring daily figures of infected people and death.
He said the mainstream media rely on social media for information but has obligation to process the information its gathered before publishing or transmitting the aspect of it that qualifies as news.
In conclusion, he opted that except excessive regulations and political high handedness which repress the press in Nigeria are revisited and reform, there would be no viable organ of mass communication to perform its constitutional mandate of holding government accountable to the people thereby obscuring the probability of Nigeria returning to the good old days when she was described and accepted as the leading African nation.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Vice Chancellor of the university, Engr. Prof. Emmanuel Aluyor said the 4th Convocation Lecture is remarkable because it features the first graduating set of the Faculty of Law which has attracted different individual prizes for its best grandaunts.
Prof. Aluyor used the opportunity to thank the governor and visitor to the university for the support of the state government saying that the university prides itself as a World class university because of the state-of-the-art facilities and ultra-modern laboratories for medical/science researches and practical.
“Edo State University Uzairue has been in compliance with the EdoBEST 2.0 initiative even from its initiation as the students do not only learn through the use of modern technologies but they are also taught on how to use them”.
He said it can only be the best hands that can man the state-of-the-art facilities such as Anatomage table which happens to be one of the best in the world, hence, the medical programme has been successful all the accreditation visits of the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
The VC added that the university has started its first semester for the 2021/2022 academic session while the graduating sets of the 2021/2022 academic session have been dispatched for NYSC and their certificates are ready and will be given to them immediately after the convocation ceremony.