By Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism
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The third edition of the Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series held on Wednesday, 13 July 2011, at the NECA Building, Agidingbi, Ikeja, Lagos. Professor Bayo Olukoshi, Director of the UN African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (IDEP), Dakar, Senegal was guest speaker. In his speech titled 'Re-evaluating local governance in Nigeria: what responsibilities for the media', he charged the Nigerian state to live up to its promise as a democratic state, sighting with nostalgia and regret, examples from the Nigeria where institutions that provide basic amenities worked. He also highlighted the importance of the media, stressing the necessity for the media to give visibility and voice to local communities through the reporting of their concerns and, where viable, the opening up of opportunities for community journalism.

Discussants at the lecture also buttressed these points. Mr. Muyiwa Adekeye, former Editor, The News Magazine and Ms. Kadaria Ahmed, renowned broadcaster and multimedia journalist, stressed the need for a better informed and responsible media as important to the local government discourse while Professor Abubakar Momoh, political analyst cum public intellectual-activist argued the need to review the necessity and gains of the present system of government Nigeria practices. Mr. Afeez Ipesa-Balogun, chairman of the Oshodi-Isolo Local Government, represented Hon. Felix Akhagbue, Chairman of the Association of Local Governments of Nigeria (ALGON). Ipesa-Balogun responded from the perspective of a local government officer.

Also present at the event were Mr. Chido Onumah, Coordinator of Youth, Media and Communications Initiative, Hafsat Abiola-Costello, founder of the Kudirat Abiola Initiative for Democracy, Mrs Keziah Awosika, Chief Executive of WLDCN, among other distinguished members of the civil society, media professionals, and former students of Professor Wole Soyinka.

Later, in the evening, a high level media symposium held at the Protea Hotel, Ikeja. Dr. Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti State, and Mr. Femi Falana were lead discussants on the topic, “Making Local Governance work for the Poor”. The discussion was moderated by Prof Olukoshi who also encouraged the injection of corrective measures at both the macro and micro levels of governance in Nigeria to make governance work for all.

Discussions at the event highlighted the failings of the present Constitution to meet up with the current realities of local governance in Nigeria as well as the criticality of community-based media, especially radio, to salvaging the state of service delivery and ensuring truly responsive and responsible governance in Nigeria.

The events were organised by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) in collaboration with the Orderly Society Trust (OST), in commemoration of Professor Wole Soyinka's 77th birthday.

Visit www.wscij.orgfor the lecture note.

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Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) is a non-governmental organisation with a vision to stimulate the emergence of a social justice community defined by the ethics of inclusion, transparency and accountability through support to journalists. The Centre is named after Professor Wole Soyinka in recognition of his life-long work in support of the freedom of expression, freedom to hold opinion and freedom to impart them without fear or favour and without hindrance or interference.

The Orderly Society Trust (OST) was established to nurture and support institutions, ideas, values, practices and conventions which support 'order' in society. OST seeks to assist in overcoming the challenges of creating an orderly society by promoting initiatives which support the rule of law, transparency and accountability and the dissemination of ethics of integrity, patriotism, respect for civic obligation and etiquette.