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Each One, Teach One

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By Denrele Animasaun

“The pursuit of peace and progress cannot end in a few years in either victory or defeat. The pursuit of peace and progress, with its trials and its errors, its successes and its setbacks, can never be relaxed and never abandoned”— Dag Hammarskjöld

The 3rd of May marked the World Press Freedom Day. This year’s theme is: “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies”. A tall order, you might say but, in all sense of the word, it is so apt, and sadly it is the sign of the times, don’t you think? It does read like a wish list but these are critical times and it calls for critical thinkers.

This is a clarion call for people of conscience. This is the time to question anything and everything that insults one’s intelligence. We have become too reactive and not proactive; we read and listen to respond but not to understand. Malcolm X said: “the media’s the most powerful entity on earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and the guilty innocent, and that’s power”. Because they control the masses. Such responsibility should never be taken lightly. Sometimes, the pen is mightier than the sword and the press have got to hold itself accountable to maintain its dignity and integrity. Those who have sold out have to deal with their conscience and the people. For better governance, a watchdog for the people, and development, it is key to have a free press.

So it is crucial that the freedom of the press continues to ensure that government are made accountable to its electorates at all times. The freedom of the press cannot operate under censorship or in the hands of private owners. It is not possible and a partial free press is not free. It is either free or not. In the last couple of years, many journalists have paid a hefty cost in order to tell the world the truth. The press, the world over is taking a battering, especially in the present climate of leaks, Trump, Party politics, bribery, corruption, fake news, alternative facts. Crucially, the free press is vying for relevance in a digital age, where news is at everyone’s fingertips and with such a thruway society stories changes according to what is trending and the level of popularity.

Little wonder, people are unsure what to believe. Fact is jostling for position with fake news dressed up as facts. Mark Twain once said a lie travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes. We have entered the age of gas lighting, alternative facts and phoney news. Majority of news outlets are owned by billionaires with ulterior agenda and we know that whoever pays the piper, dictates the tune. So no surprise there then when the news is bent to towards the whims of the organ grinder.

So it is fitting that World Press Freedom Day raises the importance of free press and reminds the world of the significance of the principles of press freedom as well as defending independence of the media and to honour journalists who have paid a high price with their lives to ensure a free press, worthy of engaging and informing the people.

Sack the lot of them!

Education is a human right with immense power to transform. On its foundation rest the cornerstones of freedom, democracy and sustainable human development”-Kofi Annan

The Tanzanian President, John Magufuli fired 9,932 civil servants over forged educational qualifications. This was a public act as he went on state television detailing how an investigation found that 9,932 government workers presented fake qualifications when they were employed. He ordered that the salaries of the affected workers for the month of April be withheld. This president is not messing up, he has sent a message; you present false certificate, be prepared to be hounded out and face the consequences. These fraudulent workers are not going scot free, no, he wants the dismissed civil servants to have their day in court and explained why they have been working with falsified documents. He has also placed another 3,000 civil servants on suspension until their certificates can be authenticated.

The president means business and he warned that civil servants with falsified certificates should expect a jail term of up to seven years. The cost to the Tanzanian government of these phantom and rouge workers is costly and has lost the government around Sh19.84 billion monthly or Sh238.1 billion every year. There is a systematic dishonesty going on and for such a long time it had remained unchecked. He should be applauded for fishing out the fake workers who are not qualified for the work they are doing or competent to hold their respective office. Perhaps this will allow those holding genuine certificates get jobs that they are suitably qualified for and may reflect on productivity in the workplace.

I wonder if the Nigerian government can follow suit and begin with the legislative arm of government and then the ministries. Heads definitely will roll, imagine how many people would have been on the gravy train and for so long. Time to clean out the machinery of employment and industries .It is time to cut phantom and rouge workers loose. The challenge for the Nigerian government is to flush out the fraudsters, send them packing. Let’s get Nigeria working again.

New Champion

“To live is to choose. But to choose well, you must know who you are and what you stand for, where you want to go and why you want to get there”-Kofi Annan

Last week the World heavyweight boxing champion Anthony Olufemi Joshua put on a brave show .It was a great fight between the 27- year old British-Nigerian and the 41 -year old Klitschko. Joshua is so proud of his Nigerian heritage that he had Africa tattooed on his impressive biceps, with an outline of Nigeria on show for all to see. This was the same Joshua that was rejected by the Nigerian boxing IOC. When one door closes, another one opens. Britain has gained a heavyweight champion and one that does not forget his root and he does not let anyone forget where he comes from but then, who would argue with champ? His mother happens to be a friend of mine and I cannot believe the very same little boy who was such a delightful young boy has grown up to achieve such incredible feat. Pound for pound, he is an incredible winner of the 11th round bout.

Mike Tyson said of the match:” had Klitschko to win as I thought this was just some jumped-up young guy from England. But man, he fought well. Klitschko is 41 and no-one has done that to him before”.

Tyson said he sees much of his old scary self in Joshua and that Importantly, Joshua showed heart. He went down from a big punch by Klitschko but he didn’t give up, he got back up. That was real intestinal fortitude. There’s no quit in him”. After his win, Joshua bought his former couch a brand new top of the range car as a thank you. Now that is a mark of decent man. His mother must be proud and we are proud of Joshua.






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