The Nigeria Union of Journalists is set to honour the Nigeria High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Amb. Sarafa Tunji Isola for his outstanding performance in coordinating, promoting and protecting the interest of the nation and its people in the UK.
This was disclosed by the National President of NUJ, Chris Isiguzo, who led a delegation of other national officers of the union, during a courtesy visit to the office of the Nigeria’s UK envoy.
Isiguzo commended Isola for transforming activities and operations at the High Commission, saying that his efforts had not only contributed immensely to the enhancement of Nigeria’s security, socio-economic prosperity and healthy international relations, but had also resolved the hitherto passport and immigration challenges Nigerians used to contend with.
The NUJ President, who briefed the High Commissioner on the programme that brought him and his team to the UK, revealed that Nigerians in the European country were appreciative of Isola’s style of leadership and achievements so far.
He said the honour that would be conferred on Ishola was necessary to celebrate and acknowledge achievements of the Commission and to also motivate other envoys.
Addressing Isola, the number one journalist in Nigeria said, “There is no way we can come here without paying our courtesies. In my part of Nigeria, there is a saying that when you enter a town, you present yourself to the king and when you are also leaving, you inform the king and in keeping to that agelong practice, we decided to pay a courtesy visit to you.
“When you arrive a community and you have a king that is not good, a bad king; sometimes, you have to break the tradition by not going to present yourself to that bad king. We have had so many wonderful things about you (Isola); how you have contributed immensely in transforming activities in the Nigeria House. Some of our people who live here that had always had immigration issues, passport challenges; from information available, such things now exist in the past.
“They are now so seamless and a number of Nigerians that are here, and that we have had the opportunity of interacting with, have also extended their appreciation to you for all you have done and continue to do.”
Describing the media as the oxygen of democracy, Isiguzo explained how the NUJ had been deepening democracy in Nigeria, saying the NUJ had been working with others to tackle the menace of fake news which had become worse with the new media.
“Since we came on board, we have tried to expose journalists to international best practices; how these things are done without pulling down the structure of governance. We did that by introducing what we call Development Journalism. It is clear that the advent of new media, social media appears to have immensely contributed to the dissemination of fake news, disinformation, misinformation, malinformation and all manners of negative propaganda. These put together are not helping us but we are also determined to ensure that we reduce it to the barest minimum,” he stated.
In his response, Isola commended Isiguzo for offering worthy leadership and charged his team to continue to support his efforts at revamping the media.
He said, “You know one of the challenges we have in our country is leadership and the way you (Isiguzo) are leading your union, I see that you have earned much respect among your colleagues. That shows that your leadership is well accepted.
“I also appreciate the fact that you have taken interest in self-development. Learning is a lifelong process. President Obasanjo got his PhD in his 80s and many of us are still interested in going back to school. And that you have decided to come to UK for your Master’s programme, it is commendable and it should be sustained because we live in a dynamic world where things change.
“Journalism of yesterday and that of today is quite different and getting knowledge around the world will assist you in coping with challenges of the moment. So, you should not rest on your oars in taking learning as a factor for self development.”
He further called for the cooperation and support of other members of the delegation, saying, “I enjoin you to put into practice whatever you are learning here so that it would not be knowledge acquired but not used. I also urge you to sustain your loyalty to the union and to the leadership of the union as represented by the President, knowing full well that it is God that puts people in position and when God puts people in position, we all have the duty to support them to succeed because if he succeeds, we will all be part of the success story.”