Chief Tola Adeniyi, former Managing Director of Daily Times, has challenged online publishers in Nigeria to help Nigerians rediscover their voices in view of the ineffectiveness of labour unions among others who used to champion the cause of the masses.
In his remarks at the 2nd Guild of Corporate Online Publishers’ (GOCOP) annual conference in Lagos on Friday, the accomplished journalist and great columnist said GOCOP has come of age and it should do more because Nigeria has lost its voice.
He acknowledged that the online publishers were enjoying a rise in importance and relevance, and they are now in the right position to help educate the people on the way forward.
According to him, the online publishers now have more reach than all the 114 newspapers in Nigeria put together, and they should naturally take up the role of teachers.
Unlike the good old days of the traditional media when Sunday Times was selling 1.1 million copies a day, he said no newspaper sells 40,000 copies now in the country, while the online media are read all over the world.
He said it is a good thing that GOCOP is coming during the time of the social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram among others, and therefore challenged members to train themselves and even engage in regular editorial writing.
He made reference to a lecture ‘Politics of Language’ which he gave in Canada in 2011 as it exposed the ignorance and danger of lack of knowledge even in societies that were expected to be enlightened.
For instance, he said nations with population of over 50 million people in Nigeria are erroneously called tribes like the Yoruba and Ibo.
In fact, he said there is no tribe in Nigeria.
“It’s important to have education. We can’t free ourselves if we don’t have knowledge.”
Specifically, he said journalists must acquire more knowledge than the people they write for.