‘Why I am passionate about bridging communication gap by Moji Danisa
In this interview, veteran broadcaster, MOJI DANISA, commonly known as ‘Queen of the Tabloid Journalism’ for her riveting insights into the lives of socialites and celebrities back in the days, with Chuks NZEH, she speaks on her mission to bridge the gap between the common man and policies of government with “Break It Down” a weekly television program that x-rays contemporary issues.
Tell us about ‘Break It Down?’
“Break It Down’ is a 30-minute show on television which is focused on development policies, and projects. It falls under governance actually, we are looking at non-governmental organizations and because we are already on air, we look out for people in government, ministries departments and agencies, Sustainable Development Goals, (SDGS), amongst others. So we want to bring policies and other issues closer to the people, simplifying the issues, that is what we say, that is our pay off.
Actually it is communications development, that is our catchment area, so that is basically what it is; we break it down in the language that the common man would understand. We discovered that there is a dearth in communication between the government and the governed because government uses technocrats and experts mainly, who are very used to these high sounding languages, jargons, and the common man does not understand what they are saying, what you hear the common man say most times is that “they are doing their thing there.”
If you ask a common man now what is restructuring, he will just be looking at you and might say they want to divide Nigeria, he does not really understand what restructuring is or how it can even benefit him or even the negatives and this is where ‘Break It Down’ comes in to make these technicalities better appreciated by the man on the street.
Besides what you just said, what else inspired or moved you into this?
The programme was conceived in other to ensure that information on policies of government for a better informed audience and society is easily understood by all, because even some of us we do not understand, like sometimes I find myself going to Google to find out some things they speak about, when technocrats come on television to make proposals or speak on policies of government. I want to have an in-depth knowledge of want they are talking about, for instance the Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB, how does it benefit me? Beyond me how does it benefit the tomato seller in the market, because they are the government, they are the people that vote during elections, they make up the larger percentage of the society, and that should be the yardstick for assessing the average person. So there is this disconnect between the government and the people, that was what actually gave birth to this idea.
You are highly resourceful. So what should we your audience expect to make it better?
For now, we talking to the experts mainly because we are still building the structure, but very soon starting from this quarter we are going to bring the people in, because originally it was designed for the people to call in and ask questions that they do not understand for the guests or resource persons to respond by breaking it down to their understanding, we are going to get there, to actually make the people part of the programme not just the resource persons.
How do you hope to bridge this gap because there are some technocrats who do not understand the language of the grassroots?
You can hardly find a technocrat who did not grow on the streets especially if the person is a Nigerian. They should understand the basic language of every human being, especially those within their environment and if you are a technocrat you should also be a communicator who must learn to deal with a specific audience and that audience is the common man. I bet you, the technocrat even if he is from Harvard because of my expertise as a communicator, interviewing people, I would make that person speak the language the common man understands, and of course there would be guidance.
What is your projection like in five years time?
We would have achieved our specific aim which is to make the people understand better every single policy of government and other critical stakeholders would be brought to the people, so that the people can understand better and that would make people know if the government is doing well or if they are doing poorly.
Unlike when experts say they have passed the PIB, most people do not understand but some pretend they understand. We would have achieved bridging that information gap, then of course, we are going to do seminars workshops, those are in the pipeline.
We are also going to focus on education, building leaders for the future, that is one of the major projects we would embark on in 2021, there is going to be a huge conference where we are going to discover leaders for the future, as we can see there is a dearth in leadership, as we have seen the old people do not want to leave the scene because they think the youths are not ready. So how ready are we to have a successor generation. You saw what happened during the #EndSARS protest, we know the mistakes that the youths made, we know the efforts, we also know the gains they achieved, so let us build solid successors to take over from this generation.
Given the potential of our young people, why do you think they are not coming to the fore in government?
The fact is that there is a vacuum, and that vacuum was left by the generation after the old people, which is my generation, we were the oppressed generation, we were the generation that witnessed military brutality, we are the generation that was silenced for a very long time, we were the generation that was impoverished and made to beg for bread, so we have lost our voice, and so because we had lost our voice, we could not impact on the generation after us, that is exactly where the disconnect came from and this new generation they are just finding their feet. I am so impressed with them; I think it is because most of them have solid education from what I have seen. Forget the fact that we say the Nigerian education is poor, these children are the digital generation there are a lot they learn outside the school curriculum, but they have learnt a lot about leadership and I think that they are ready to take the baton of leadership. For my generation, forget it, we have lost it.
Message to the average Nigerian, especially the youth on what you are doing?
We are engaged in leadership and development, they should just keep learning first, it is very important, the need for self-development, they should develop themselves, their capacity, get involved in leadership trainings, workshops and then try to lead from their different levels, even if it is classroom, almost everybody has an innate leadership potential they should take it one step at a time. They are a very bold generation, for instance if I put my daughter before the president, she is going to tell him her mind without shaking. This is the Generation Next. It is the generation that would build Nigeria, and I just want them to know that we believe so much in them and they should keep it up.
Source: The Abuja Inquirer
Our mistakes cost APC Zamfara governorship seat – Sagir Hamidu
Our mistakes cost APC Zamfara governorship seat – Sagir Hamidu
Alhaji Sagir Hamidu was an All Progressives Congress (APC) governorship aspirant in the 2019 election in Zamfara State, who was part of the recent reconciliation talks. He speaks from an aggrieved point of view on the ongoing membership registration by his party, power shift and the situation in his home state, among other issues
You were part of the reconciliation process brokered by the national leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) between factions in Zamfara State, how frank were the talks, and do you think this would stand the test of time?
Alhaji Muhammad Sagir Hamidu: During the 2019 general elections, particularly the state and national assemblies and gubernatorial elections in Zamfara State, there was a regime of impunity arising from the former governor’s decision to name his candidates to all the elective offices in the state. Eight of us came together and decided that we must resist that imposition and impunity which we carried out religiously. We succeeded in truncating that imposition. But whether we are happy with the consequences, that is a different thing. We lost all the positions in Zamfara State to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). By default, we installed a wrong government. Over the years now we have seen gross ineptitude, recklessness, corruption and lies of the PDP government. We felt we should come together to rescue the state having realized our mistakes. We are all ready to make amends to become true democrats, to uphold the tenets of democracy to forgive each other. We have common interests, we have our party and what it stands for. We also felt that there is no need to remain divided as we are approaching the 2023 elections. So, when we are ready to come together, the interim national chairman called for that reconciliation which though belated, but we are happy it happened and the reconciliation took place. After that we went home to reconcile, we went to Kaduna to reconcile and there was another round of reconciliation with the vice president. In all there is this air of willingness for us all to come together and work as true party men and women to reclaim our mandate of the state in 2023.
What did you mean when you said you made a mistake in 2019?
For Yari’s inability to see beyond one candidate out of eight and to stick to his gun that it must either be his candidate or no one, that was his undoing. On our part, we also refused to see a reason or to toe a reconciliatory path and to act as statesmen.
Your party suffered because of your group’s decision to stop Yari at all cost, what about that?
We are not proud of it. We all felt bad about it both ways; one, by implication and by default, we installed a bad government for the people, and for us a party we lost all the offices. We lost all power to implement our party manifesto that will impact on the lives of the people. That is not something to be proud of.
What is your reaction to the ongoing membership registration and revalidation by your party that has been characterized with criticisms and creating more factions in more states?
The concept of registration should not have any element of restrictions. It should be open to anybody. The moment you want people to register, or you noticed that in your previous registration there are discrepancies or you don’t have proper records, nothing should stop you from authenticating your records. You have a timeframe within which you want to register members, make it known, publicise it. When it is done, you close for that moment, subsequently you do it again. You close because we are going for a convention, if you have the required number that you need for your delegates, excos from the wards to the national levels, then you can close and open later. The most important thing is how do you register people and make it authentic. It does not matter which faction one may belong to. Let whoever wants to register do so. But when you restrict registration to 100 members per polling unit, of course you are inviting trouble. It has become restrictive and subject to manipulation. Don’t forget that there are politicians who still believe they must control delegates before they can make it, once that is the mindset, you can be sure that there will be a crisis all the time. That is what is likely to happen with the membership registration.
What measures should the APC take especially with those scheming to control the party?
There is little the party can do because of so many factors. There are some laws that emphasise the use of money, so it takes people of goodwill who are genuinely interested in deepening democracy to fight it out. That is why the drive to have as many members as possible is important. There is a need to moibilise members to make them realise that the survival of the party remains with them and not on the government or any individual. Once you succeed in making people realise that the survival of the party is in their hands, then we will begin to see positive outcomes.
Do you think that President Muhmmadu Buhari was preaching the other day when he was talking from the bottom-up?
Yes. But not many cared to listen to him, because that is not what the majority of politicians want to hear. But that is actually what he means. I strongly believe in that.
The agitation for power shift is mostly from the south west and south east, and the north is quiet on this too. What is your take on this?
Under multi party, as long as democracy is a game of numbers, as long as democracy is about fusion of contending interests, the question of power being agitated for or harassing other people to seek power at all cost or threats does not arise. No laws bar any region or any person from aspiring to be anything. If that is the case, build bridges, reach out, understand your differences and align them with the interest of others that you want to work together with and get what you want. I for one don’t believe in power rotation, I believe in the best and we have the best everywhere. Everybody has an opportunity to participate to throw himself up for the office of the president of Nigeria. I don’t believe that a Hausa man must be president before I realise my potential to become whoever I want to be. I don’t believe that a Yoruba man can truncate my future, even within the practice of federalism that we are, there are so many settings that protect my interest. I think we dwell more on imaginary fears. Afterall, Obasanjo had eight years, nothing changed my life for the worse, my religion did not change, my being Hausa/Fulani did not change. They have the right to ask for it, they also have the right to reach out, they have the right to participate in joining the most popular party which is the APC. you don’t belong, and you say you must get the highest office, I mean, I don’t think it is correct.
How did Matawalle get it wrong in dealing with the situation in the state, especially the most challenging insecurity?
I don’t want to dwell so much on the security situation in the state because of its sensitive nature. The federal government is doing its own best by mobilising more troops both air and land personnel and resources, and they are making tremendous progress there. His own style of negotiation with the bandits is neither here nor there. It is something others have done before which did not work. You say you have negotiated with bandits, they have surrendered so-so amounts of weapons and then the next hour you hear that they have struck somewhere. In actual governance, there is much to be desired. If you go to the state, apart from social media projects that were being executed and commissioned, you will not see anything in terms of projects going on. The government has not done anything. He does not stay in the state to protect the common man, to see how he can mobilise the resources and people to generate income within the state. The state is burdened by debts from the previous governor and the one he too is accumulating at a speed faster than light. And when money is collected, the first thing you hear is they have bought 200 cars, nothing pertaining to the welfare and wellbeing of the people of the state If he wants to do projects, he will be busy renovating public buildings spending huge amounts of money.
IDPs will get Resettlement Cities in 4 States, says refugee commission
IDPs will get Resettlement Cities in 4 States, says refugee commission
In this interview with the honorable Federal Commissioner overseeing the National Commission For Refugees Migrant and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI) commission senator Bashir Garba Mohammed, he spoke on varied issues including getting resettlement for IDPs in four States.
COVID-19 was a difficult period for Persons of Concerns, what was done to ameliorate their suffering?
As the agency mandated by the government of Nigeria for the care and maintenance of Persons of Concerns PoCs, the Refugee Commission ensured that national food drives held around the country to ease the burden of accessing food during the lockdown, PoCs in Abuja, Benue, Kwara, Borno,
Zamfara, Katsina and Cross River States benefited from food palliatives. Other assistance provided to PoCs during thelockdown also included medicines, hygiene items and surgical face masks all within the framework of best practices of migration management in Nigeria. In the mid to long term plans post Covid Era, we have recently come up with a plan towards the restoration of livelihoods of all Displaced Persons in Nigeria, in collaboration with the Central Bank Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who has tremendously done well in reducing poverty through development finance in Nigeria, we designed a project – PROJECT RELIANCE – the project is meant to ensure that POCs go beyond living on aids but also learning how to fend for themselves.
The Commission also decided to take the bull by the horns and embark on the project of resettling the millions of internally displaced persons through the NCFRMI Resettlement City Reintegration and Rehabilitation Programme.
We have designed these resettlement cities with the help of the Federal Ministry of Works and Housing, where we intend to have 600 housing units of two-bedrooms in each city in over 6 states, which include Borno, Katsina, Zamfara, Edo to mention a few as well as primary health care and education centres,
security outposts, worship houses, skill acquisition centres, markets and adjoining farmlands for use by indigenes. All these we believe will go a long way in reducing the suffering ofdisplaced persons.
What is the implication of this year’s theme of the National Migration Dialogue to PoCs in Nigeria?
The theme for 2020 was coined against the backdrop of the Global Pandemic that has affected the entire world, it is aptly captured as Providing protection and assistance to migrants during and post pandemic: strategies and actions. As you are aware COVID-19 has affected the entire world, it has impacted on global health of citizens across the world, impacted on the economy and on social interactions occasioned by the lockdown . The most impacted people have been our Persons of Concerns of which Migrants make up a huge number, so it is only appropriate that going forward we discuss and come up with strategies on how to address issues concerning migrants in Nigeria.
Has the Commission been able to repatriate returnees in the face of the Covid-19 Pandemic?
The answer is yes. Earlier in the year in July to be precise, amid movement restrictions in the country at that time and through the support of the Covid-19 Presidential Task Force in conjunction with the IoM and other partners we were able tobring back 109 returnees through the establishment of
humanitarian corridor which is essential for our Persons of Concern to cross international borders in a timely and dignified manner, with their rights respected and public health issuesaddressed.
We also further collaborated with IOM on a mandatory 14-day quarantine protocol for the returnees after which we provided them with food, clothing, shelter, psycho-social and health services, in order not to put strain on the livelihoods of their communities. I personally went to welcome them at their
holding center to welcome them back and brief them about the government’s plans for them.
What are some of the Challenges facing Migration Management in a time of COVID-19?
In 2015, governments around the World didn’t envisage a global pandemic could arise and affect the way migration was managed, as such only the individual health management of PoCs was captured in the National Migration Policy, I am happy to inform you that it is due for review. One of the first tasks before us next year is reviewing the Policy under the Technical Working Group on migration and development in Nigeria, so that in the future there will be a clearly mapped out plan of handling migrants in a pandemic situation.
Does the Commission receive support in the management of Migrants?
In the area of repatriation, we receive full support from IoM, they have been very helpful with the flight repatriation and subsequent reintegration, capacity building for returnees, developing business plans and skills, and identifying areas of interest. We have also received support from the Swiss Government through the Swiss Embassy in Nigeria.
Girl-child education key to nation building – Kikelomo Akande
Girl-child education key to nation building – Kikelomo Akande
Kikelomo Akande is a woman of many parts. Besides being a hardworking woman of substance, she is a businesswoman and philanthropist. Armed with a degree in Anatomy, today her focus is on girl-child education, bridging the gender gap as regards access to educational opportunities in the state. In this interview with Aisha Audu, she gives more insight into her NGO, challenges and her campaign on girl child education to
enable them contribute their quota to nation building.
By Aisha Audu
Can we meet you ma?
I am Kikelomo Akande, a graduate of University of Ilorin; with a BSC in Anatomy and an MBA, both from the University of Ilorin. I am married to Dr. Femi Akande and we are blessed with 3 children. I am the General Manager of Treasures Bakery and confectionaries in Lokoja, Kogi State.
What inspired you to venture into charity work?
I got the inspiration when I looked around me and identified several needs that I can proffer solution to. I got motivated to make a difference when I see children that can be great having no vision and direction. I get inspired when I see intelligent women with great talents wasting away.
The feeling of every action you take making a difference to another person’s life is truly incredible. There is no other feeling like it. The memories and feelings resulting from working for charity last a life time. When you come to the realization that a little here and a little there can make a great change then you become resolute in making positive impacts in people’s life.
You can choose between paying school fees of 2,000 for a child in public school rather than spending the money on something worthless. Like Barack Obama said change will not come if we wait for some other person or if we wait for some other time. We are the ones we have been waiting for. We are the change we seek. It is wonderful to know that, nobody needs to wait for a single moment before starting to improve the world.
What informed the idea of your NGO and what is it all about?
Our NGO is named ‘’SEND A CHILD TO SCHOOL’’ with great emphasis on GIRL CHILD- our vision at ‘’SACTSO’’ is to see children enroll at school and to finish, that is not to drop out of school due to lack of finance. With the help of God we have been able to make a significant difference in this area.
The NGO came about when I discovered that children drop out of school because of an amount as low as N1, 500. The school fee in most of our public school is between N 1, 000 to N2, 000 for most school and you discover that some parents can still not afford to pay, thereby making the children to drop out of school. This is what we should not allow to be happening. This is why I always say N1, 000 can change and mould a destiny.
We not only pay school fees, we are also concerned about the emotional welfare of the child, and we also encourage children to start reading as from their young age. This we did by buying books which includes educational, motivational and fictions for schools so as to create a mini library. We donated books to Bishop Delisle College, Muslim Community Secondary School, UBE Lokongoma. We hope to be able to do more and extend to other schools. We gave talks on drug abuse, sexual behavior and how to choose a career.
What is the core vision of the NGO?
Our core vision is promoting educational opportunities for less privileged children in our community because with education we believe you can become anything you want to be. An investment in knowledge pays the best dividends the profound words of Benjamin Franklin.
We at ‘’ SEND A CHILD TO SCHOOL’’ organization strongly believe and embrace this astute ideology and we are committed to do our very best in promoting the right of every Nigerian Child to quality education, disbursing our limited resources to support the less privileged, ensuring they are not totally marginalized.
We are aware of the enormous challenges inherited in our immediate environment, but we believe in moving forward and resources as sacrificial investment into the education of the less privileged children.
Education opens up the mind to new doors and doing new things, it makes the mind becomes curious and curiosity leads us down new paths, New solutions that will drive the nation of our dreams. Ensuring our world becomes a better place by liberating the minds through access to quality education, this is our mission at ‘’SACTSO’’ and we are staunchly committed to its achievements’’.
Can you shed light on some major activities you have carried out since it was founded?
We have provided uniforms, socks, school bags, books etc, because we believe in the dignity of every child, we go public schools at the beginning of every school session to pay school fees for the complete year. Over 250 pupils are beneficiaries till date.
We provide 2 sewing machines at Bishop Delishe to enhance the idea of the students getting involved in one vocational Skills or the other. We organized summer school (lesson) for students from JSS 1 to JSS3. This was started in the years 2017 till date. We were unable to do for the years because of the covid-19. It will interest you to know that 5 of our students were given scholarship by effective group of schools due to our activities that was seen by the proprietor of the school on our face book handle. Our face book address is ‘’send a child to school organization’’. You can check some of our activities on the page.
Bishop Delishe is our Pilot project for the Skill acquisition. We hope to be able to extend ton other schools with time and make it an ‘’ after school program’’. In summary this is what we do school tour (a motivational talk series), operation say no to DRUG ABUSE, provision of uniforms, text books and school material support, school fees and examination fee payment support, free holiday coaching classes, mobile library, vocational training with emphasis on fashion designs for schools. SACTSO is not for words alone, we believe in doing the needful. We believe in taking ‘’STEPS’’.
How are you coping with the challenge of funding?
Funding is a lifetime of any programme. For now a larger percentage of what we do is funded by my husband, Dr. Femi Akande Treasures Bakery and my humble self. We get support from a few individuals as well.
How would you describe the condition of the Girl Child in Nigeria?
The condition of the Girl Child is pathetic. So much is expected from a girl child and it could be overwhelming sometimes. A girl is exposed to so many abuses more than a boy child, but I think it is getting better by the day due to so many organizations creating awareness about the plight of a girl and various steps being taken to bring about change.
How would you want issues of rape tackled?
Issues of rape can be tackled when we as parents are deliberate about having honest conversation with our children both male and female, educating them about the consequences of their actions. Government should also prosecute rapists; this will go along to send warning to other rapists out there.
Also an idle hand is the devils workshop; our children must be kept busy positively at all times. We must engage them mentally, spiritually and physically and to teach them on how to work hard and be smart.
How do you spend your leisure time ma?
I read a lot. I can not over emphasise the importance of reading. I travel when there is an opportunity for me. There is really no time to relax, I am always doing one thing or the other but in the midst of it all, I try to put my legs up once in a while and pamper myself with good food.
Any last words for mothers and parents in general?
Engage your children positively. Let them learn a thing or two. It does not mean that is what they will become e.g taking bribe etc but the knowledge acquired can be useful in their chosen field later in the future. Ben Curson learnt how to play a musical instrument while in school which helped him in the mastering PRECISION which was later useful for him in neuro surgery.
Expose your children to books. It enlarges their vision. The popular saying that ‘’Readers are leaders is very true.
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