Elder Dada Olanipekun, publisher of foremost community newspaper in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Prestige Newspaper, has attributed the sustainability of the newspaper for the past 32 years on passion, ideas, commitment and strict adherence to the ethics of the profession.
Olanipekun made the disclosure on Sunday at the anniversary of the newspaper held at NUJ Hall, Iwe-Iroyin, Oke-Ilewo, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
Delivering his speech at the occasion, he called on journalists to shun “brown envelope” syndrome and rely on ideas because “ideas rule the world”.
His words: “The journey has been tough and it has turned me to somebody who has passion for this journalism business, who believes in it and who has been able to identify with it. If you are a professionally trained person, you will want to practise and you won’t deviate from the ethical aspect of your profession. Honestly, I feel proud and I feel good that God has been wonderful to me in terms of sustainability of the newspaper. Newspapers and magazines are dying and many things are wrong by either the publishers or reporters.”
The publisher further expatiated: “If you are a principled person and you want to achieve anything, you will achieve it. If the ethical aspect of media is properly done, you will survive too. The issue of “brown envelope” is so stinking and so annoying because if you go to a PRO now, if he/she gets $10,000, he/she will give you $1,000. Same thing with those in government. There is nothing wrong with government supporting the media or to support journalists. They don’t need to support you with stipends. They have to look at what our problems are and how to solve the problems so that we will be okay because this job is not easy. It is so tasking, labour intensive and capital intensive.”
Mr. Olanipekun also spoke about the social responsibilities of the profession, advised that enough attention should be devoted to changing the lives of the people for the better.
According to him, that could be achieved by focusing on the people, otherwise referred to as the masses, in much of reports in the newspapers.
“It is our social responsibility to root for the citizens. They have nobody because they go up and down. The media must look at the pains people are going through and be able to identify the pains of the masses, because the media too is within the masses. We are human beings too and we must make sure that the interest of the masses is our priority. You are practising and you are not bothering about human beings or communities, but only bothering about government. I’m afraid because those in government will leave and become ordinary citizens too and they will be running after you,” he reasoned.
Guests took turns to congratulate the management of the newspaper, applauding the doggedness of the publisher, Mr. Dada Olanipekun.
Speaking at the occasion, a former Head of Service in Ogun State, Princess Iyabo Odulate, described the media organisation as a reputable newspaper with balanced and unbiased reportage without any record of crime in its reportage.
She stressed that Prestige Newspaper was worthy of emulation.
“As it is very important for a media house to make profit, it also needs to consider who are in need of it services,” she added.
In his lecture titled “The Role of Community Media in Nation Building”, a former Director of National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, Sir Eddy Aina, called on stakeholders in the media to stand firm, describing them as solution providers and contributors to nation building.
While addressing the issue regarding lack of fund for media organisations, he said some media houses were capable of running their organisations without the support of government while some needed to be supported.
The Publicity Secretary of All Progressive Congress, APC, in Ogun State, Ambassador Tunde Oladunjoye, was also at the occasion.
He charged media houses to be committed to their duties and see their job as a tool for the promotion of the unity of the nation.
Said he: “What the media houses need to do is to continue their basic obligations – education, information, entertainment and enlightenment. We will continue to talk about what brings us together than what put us apart. Our colleagues should know that the media is very powerful. What you are writing, especially in this age of technology, in the corner of your room will have so many implications.”
Highlights of the event included the recognition of some individuals with meritorious awards and unveiling of the new edition of Prestige Newspaper.
Five journalists; the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun; Engr. Dipo Oyewole; Hon. Sikirulai Ogundele; Mrs. Boye Seun; NIPR chairman in Ogun State, Hon. Abiodun Olusanjo’ local government councilor, Salau Dauda; Executive Secretary, Ogun Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board; civil servants, ministries, unions and associations among others were celebrated at the occasion.