Prof. Wole Soyinka
By Vincent Obia in Lagos
The fourth edition of the Wole Soyinka Media Lecture Series ended at the weekend in Lagos, with discussants urging the Nigerian state to reconsider its current centralised security system. Most of the speakers recommended a reorganisation of the country’s security structure to shift more powers from the centre to the federating units.
The object of the lecture series, which has been held on July 13, Soyinka’s birthday, since 2009, is to honour the Nobel Laureate, who turned 78 this year. It is organised by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism.
Participants at this year’s lecture discussed on the theme “Media and civil liberties when the clouds of fear gather,” according to a statement by WSCIJ Centre Coordinator, Motunrayo Alaka. They proffered solutions to the country’s present security challenges.
Ace political analyst and executive director of Tawada Media Limited, Mallam Mohammed Haruna, who was the key speaker, identified poor educational quality, poverty, and vague legal provisions as some of the factors behind the reactions Nigeria has been witnessing in the form of Boko Haram insurgency and other civil disturbances.
Discussants at the lecture included president of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye; human rights activist, Comrade Shehu Sani, who was represented by Colonel Gabriel Ajayi (rtd); and Mr. John Momoh, represented by Mr. Patrick Obuseh.
The speakers advocated the decentralisation of the country’s security management system, as well as proper equipping of the police, empowerment of the media, and adherence to media ethics.
They also emphasised the need for a national conference to resolve the fundamental issues threatening Nigeria’s corporate existence.