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Wole Soyinka @88

By Gregory Austin Nwakunor
13 July 2022   |   4:03 am
The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism’s (WSCIJ) lecture series will hold as a webinar today, by 2:00pm with the theme – ‘Can democracy work without a strong sub-national media?’

• Farotimi, Jonathan, others lead conversation on citizenship, nation building
• Wole Soyinka Centre holds media lecture series

The Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism’s (WSCIJ) lecture series will hold as a webinar today, by 2:00pm with the theme – ‘Can democracy work without a strong sub-national media?’

The event will also serve as the public launch of the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability (CMEDIA) project of the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ).

The keynote speakers, Chiedo Nwankwor, (Vice Dean for Education and Academic Affairs, John Hopkins University, School of Advanced and International Students, SAIS) and Kole Shettima, Director, (MacArthur Foundation Africa office), the five-person panel of Ibiba Don Pedro, Managing Director, National Point, Haruna Mohammed, co-publisher, WikkiTimes, Fisayo Soyombo, founder/editor-in-chief Foundation for Investigative Journalism, Adaora Onyechere, executive director, Gender Strategy Advancement International, Mansur Liman, Director-General, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), and the moderator, Uduak Amimo, a broadcaster, will explore the possibility of a vibrant democracy without an independent media as watchdog at the subnational levels of states and local government.

The CMEDIA Project, a multi-level intervention for media independence and government accountability by the WSCIJ with support from the MacArthur Foundation, is working through 26 partner organisations to improve transparency, accountability and good governance and amplify marginalised voices especially at state and local government levels and the private sector.

The series was first held in 2008 to put topical issues on the front burner through conversations about the perceived performance of the media on the health of the country, Nigeria, and its democracy.

MEANWHILE, organisers of the yearly Wole Soyinka International Cultural Exchange (WSICE) holding virtually today have unveiled speakers in the advocacy session of the 2022 edition.

Treating the theme: Citizenship and Nation Building… The case for Rights, Freedom and Justice, speakers will discuss the essential ingredients towards effective mobilisation of the citizens for nation building.

The theme, explained Dr Teju Kareem, Executive Producer of the WSICE project, is to capture the main issues of preoccupation in the socio-political situation of Nigeria in the global space.

The advocacy session will be prefaced by Prof. Segun Ojewuyi, the Dean of College of Arts & Media, Southern Illinois University, SIU, Carbondale, Illinois USA, and co-Executive Producer of WSICE.

The lead speaker is the famous lawyer-political and human rights activist, Dele Farotimi, who is renowned for his consistent critique of the prevalent political system in Nigeria, as well as the activities of the political elites via his writings and diverse broadcast mediums.

Easily remembered for his pro-bono legal service and material support for the victims of the #EndSARS shooting at the Lekki Tollgate, Dele Farotimi is also a regular columnist and writer via his well-subscribed website, www.delefarotimi.com, as well as his plethora of commentary on national affairs on major television and radio stations and social media platforms. He is the author of two best-selling political treatise: Do Not Die in their War (2016) and Imperative of the Nigerian Revolution (2019). Other speakers are: the actor-social activist, Bimbo Manuel; the social worker and woman rights activist, Ier Jonathan; the broadcaster-rights activist, Ireti Bakare.

To emphasise the involvement of the youths, which is one of the cardinal objectives of the project, two youth activists have been included in the line-up; and these are: Adamu Garko, a writer-teenage activist, who won the annual WSICE essay competition in 2014.

• Okere Chukwuma Christian, a 2015 participant of Wole Soyinka International essay competition. Goodwill messages are expected to be delivered by: Razinat Muhammed, a professor of English Literature at the University of Abuja; Lilly Cheng, professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, and; Director of the Chinese Studies Institute at San Diego State University, USA. Yemi Ogunbiyi (PhD), the managing director of Tanus Communications, and; close associate of Prof. Wole Soyinka. Darren Kew, associate professor and chair of the department of Conflict Resolution, HumanSsecurity, and Global Governance, and Executive Director of the Center for Peace, Democracy, and Development at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

The session will be moderated by Victory Ashaka, a performance poet and youth activist, who is currently a student of Lagos State University, LASU. Ashaka is a past host of the Youth Advocacy session of the programme.

The WSICE is organised on the platform of the OpenDoor Series Project WS, an international cultural exchange programme designed for the purpose of using the platforms of Arts (literary & performing) and Culture to affirm and uphold the dignity of man. Focusing on the youths as the future of humanity, the ICE seeks to foster unity among mankind regardless of race, age, gender and faith. The project uses the instrumentality of the Arts to evaluate developments in the society and proffer solutions to challenges confronting the unity and sanity of our common humanity, and development of our world. Though the base is Nigeria, the world in general is the WSICE’s turf of engagement.