All is now set for the 12th edition of the All Nigeria Editors’ Conference (ANEC) holding from August 3-7 in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, with the theme: ‘Economic Diversification: Agriculture as Option for a Prosperous Nigeria.’ No fewer than 300 Nigerian editors, a collection of mainstream farmers, agribusiness financiers, policy-makers and captains of industry are expected to grace the event.
The host Governor, Nyesom Wike, said the conference would afford the state the opportunity to showcase its investment potential.
In a statement signed by the Special Assistant to the Governor on Electronic Media, Simeon Nwakaudu, the governor noted that the conference would be a fitting platform to partner editors and the media to consolidate development in both the state and the nation at large.
Wike noted that the state is hosting several national and international events as a demonstration of the fact that Rivers State is an investors’ destination, stressing that the state is peaceful and the people hospitable.
“Hosting this year’s conference will also make the editors witness first-hand the development projects and programmes of my administration which has improved the living standard of the people,” the governor said.
The ANEC is the largest gathering of Nigerian editors. It is a watering hole of ideas that have shaped government policies and programmes over the years. The maiden edition was held in 2004 at Ada, in Osun State. Subsequent editions have been held in different parts of the country. The conference also attracts both local and foreign speakers as well as editors from organizations such as the West African Editors Forum (WAEF), the African Editors Forum (TAEF), the World Editors Forum (WEF) and the World Association of Newspapers (WAN).
This year’s edition has been tailored primarily to focus on agriculture as a counterfoil to the dwindling receipts from crude oil. Speakers include a rich mix of practising farmers, agriculture financiers and policy-makers.
The founder of HoneySuckle PTL Ventures, Mosunmola Cynthia Umoru, would speak on agriculture as panacea for unemployment while Mr. Kola Adeniji of Niji Farms would talk on agriculture as a foreign exchange earner. The Chief Executive of Bank of Agriculture, Professor Danbala Danju would be explaining the role of banks in agriculture financing while Kano-based farmer, Muhammad Abubakar, the Managing Director of L&Z Integrated Farms would experientially explore the topic: Making the Most of Agriculture Value Chain.
The acting President of the Guild, Funke Egbemode, said: “The sole emphasis on agriculture for this year’s conference was in response to the falling price of crude oil at the international market which has automatically reduced government’s earnings and revenue base. This is the first the conference is focusing on agriculture in the most pragmatic sense and it is meant to draw the nation’s attention to the limitless opportunities that abound in agriculture.”
Previous editions have bordered on good governance, electoral values among others. In 2005, the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory Administration, Malam Nasir el-Rufai, facilitated the conference in Abuja with the theme Media, a Catalyst for Good Governance.
In 2006, the government of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, then governor of Bayelsa State, sponsored the conference, which was held in Yenagoa and the theme was Media and the Challenges of Political Transition.
In 2007, ANEC was held in Bauchi State, with the support of the government of Malam Isa Yuguda. Theme was: ‘The Media: Electoral Reform and Election Management.’ The fifth edition was held in 2008 in Kaduna with the support of the government of the then Governor Mohammed Namadi Sambo with the theme ‘Vision 2020, Economic Growth and the Nigerian Editor.’
In 2010, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers State hosted, and theme was ‘Oil and Gas, Post-Amnesty and the Nigerian Editor,’ while in 2011, Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State hosted the conference with theme ‘Deepening our Democracy: Role of the Nigerian Editor.’
In 2012, the Akwa Ibom State government hosted, and theme was ‘National Security and the Nigerian Editor.’
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State hosted in 2013 and the theme was ‘Nigeria Beyond Oil,’ while in 2014 Katsina State government hosted with the theme ‘Credible Elections and Good Governance – The Role of the Editor.’ Last year, Bayelsa State hosted and the theme was ‘Nigeria: The Change We Need – Role of the Editor.’