He was returned as the commissioner for information in Kano state, the reason for which the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) decided to honour him and others. BASHIR MOHAMMED reports.
The conference room of the popular Tahir Guests Palace in Kano was on Thursday 21, 2019 filled to the brim by notable gurus in the media industry who converged to honour the Kano state commissioner for information, Comrade Muhammad Garba, and four other prominent members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) for their stunning accomplishments.
The reception was organised by the leadership of the union in the state council led by its Chairman, Comrade Abbas Ibrahim, who out of the council’s flair to reward excellence, conceived the idea to honour the esteemed members of the union being appointed into key positions in the administrative machinery of the state government.
It was the union’s belief that Comrade Garba has retained his position as a result of commitment, dedication and doggedness in the art of media management, being appointed on the premise of trust to steer the ship of the Information organs of the state government
He has without doubt proved his prowess, versatility and professional acumen in packaging the giant strides of his boss at the time opposition elements were using every available means to pull down the governor, a feat that made him to stand out.
The leadership of the union also noted with great satisfaction the methodology adopted by Garba whose disposition is that of peaceful diplomacy, when it comes to dealing with reporters and working journalist deployed to cover Kano by their respective media establishments.
We are proud of Garba and others- NUJ chairman
Setting the ball rolling at the colourful reception was the chairman, Comrade Ibrahim who took his time to eulogise the five celebrants for standing out as true models of excellence who have proved their mettle in their chosen profession.
He said the union has mooted the idea of honouring the celebrants in order to ginger their resolve to work hard and excel more for the time ahead and at the same time bolster the confidence of those willing to tread their footsteps.
According to him, the chapter union was proud of them for bringing honour to the chapter by making it to stand tall among other councils in the country considering the fact that many people are watching unfolding events in the country, as far as Kano is concerned.
Comrade Ibrahim was circumspect in choosing the right words to describe the honoured celebrants without employing hot platitudes to thrill the enthusiastic audience.
Isigunzo took a swipe at death penalty bill
The reception was however used as a platform for the NUJ national president, Comrade Chris Isigunzo, to take a swipe at the death penalty bill being deliberated in the National Assembly which in his view is a well-orchestrated ploy to gag public opinion in a democratic setting.
The NUJ president had almost held members of the pen-pushing profession spell-bound considering the fact that he was talking at the time that it was absolutely necessary, taking into cognisance the issue at stake as it affects the citizens’ right to freedom of expression in a democratic rule.
Comrade Isozugu used the occasion to describe the proposed death penalty bill as draconian in a democratic age where the right to freedom of expression by the entire citizens must be guaranteed as enshrined in the constitution.
According to him, in an ideal democratic setting, the excesses of those in the corridors of power could only be checked with the issue of freedom of speech gaining credence as well as respect by the powers that-be, adding that the death penalty would only add insult to injury.
He pointed out that no nation can develop and attain greatness by putting a log-jam in the way citizens express their individual opinions and views in order to bring erring political office holders to their knees. He said that allowing such an obnoxious bill to pass the reading stages would be the worst case scenario.
He said,”We are not totally opposed to any move aimed at putting a stop to persistent spate of hate speech. What we are saying is that the proposed bill is too punitive and utterly draconian at this material point in time. We are only objecting to the bill for the sanctity of freedom of speech to be maintained.
“Circumventing such a provision as encapsulated in the constitution is not the best. Our law makers at the National Assembly were not supposed to be carried away by primordial permutations as to conceive such a capital punishment. We are not under a totalitarian regime,” he stressed.
The state gov’t is media friendly- Garba
In his remarks, Comrade Garba said the reception organised for them is a clear testimony of the spectacular role members of the union play in supporting the administration of Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje to forge ahead in good governance and purposeful leadership.
According to him, the Ganduje administration is media-friendly as no single journalist was either intimidated or harassed in the course of executing their professional job. He stressed that as the chief image maker of the state government, he was fully conversant with the nitty gritty of media management in a democratic set up.
It was an indisputable fact that the reception elicited comments from those who were carefully selected to deliver goodwill messages about the feat achieved by the celebrants.
On his part, Malam Lawal Sabo Ibrahim, the managing director, Triumph Publishing Company went down memory lane to inform the audience that Comrade Garba was instrumental to the feat achieved by the publishing company at the time it was saved from extinction in the print media space.
He said the reception in honour of the celebrants did not come to him as a surprise, considering the fact that the leadership of the union has been up and doing in uplifting the image of its members who had exhibited professionalism in the media industry.
Taking his turn to deliver his goodwill message at the epoch-making reception was the veteran journalist, Alhaji Bello Sani Galadanci who extolled the virtues of the celebrants with emphasis on Comrade Garba, describing him as one of the leading pillars of journalism industry whose meteoric rise to stardom is of immense pride to the entire people of the state.
Malam Adamu Ladan, the general manager, Vision FM Kano was the lead paper presenter who spoke at length on the concept of peace-building and conflict resolution in the media space. He said there is a need to take a cursory look at what constitutes responsible journalism under a promising democratic dispensation in the country.
According to him, some media practitioners in the country have carelessly and recklessly threw caution to the wind by flouting professional ethics for primordial considerations in order to suit the interest of some parochial elements within and outside the corridors of power at the expense of national interest.
He wondered why journalists should allow themselves to be used as cannon-fodders in actualising the selfish interest of some self-centered individuals in the country, affirming that upholding professional ethics is what gives a journalist credibility, honour, decorum and absolute fame.
However, the National Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) Kano chapter under the leadership of Hajiya Bilkisu Ado Zango was not left behind in joining the chorus of those who delivered their goodwill messages knowing that besides celebrating the return of the commissioner, NAWOJ has a cause to felicitate with the permanent secretary in the ministry, Hajiya Hafsat Iliyasu in her capacity as a woman appointed as permanent secretary.
She described the reception as a remarkable watershed in the history of the celebrants, which had attracted those that mattered in the pen-pushing profession. She also lends credence to the fact that no nation can develop when journalists are pushed to the rung of the ladder in all spheres of administrative interests.
It was, however, the contention of the over 200 journalists who graciously attended the reception that the leadership of the union has by all intents and purposes achieved 100% success in organising such an event that had witnessed a large audience of such magnitude which included who and who in the media industry.