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Centre, others push for accurate, relevant data as Soyinka turns 86


As part of efforts towards national development, stakeholders, at a virtual forum, organised by the Wole Soyinka Centre Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) to mark the 86th birthday of the Nobel Laureate, yesterday, implored Nigeria to establish an accurate and relevant data gathering system.

The experts highlighted the place of statistics ineffective policy-making, meaningful resource allocation and efficient public service delivery during the event, titled, 12th Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series.

The speakers and panellists, who discussed the broad theme, “Data media and national development”, included Senior Lecturer in the Statistics Department of the University of Ibadan, Oluwayemisi Alaba; Statistician-General of the Federation/Chief Executive Officer of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Yemi Kale; former Editor-in-Chief of Daily Trust Newspaper, Mannir Dan-Ali; and co-founder/Director of BudgIT Foundation, Oluseun Onigbinde.


Founder of TechHer, Chioma Agwuegbo, moderated the session.

Kale said both the public and government are now aware that Nigeria’s problems could not be solved in the absence of credible data.

He discouraged the misuse and abuse of statistics in solving short-term political goals.

In her piece, Alaba stressed the need for an effective National Statistical System (NSS) to undertake the growing demand for data globally.

She listed the characteristics of the would-be NSS to consist of strategic direction, data quality, effective leadership and management as well as a shared vision.


To Dan-Ali, the media has a big problem with accessing reliable, accurate and relevant data, as a lot of needed information are not available.

According to him, accurate data should be provided with a system for checks and balances.

Onigbinde harped on connecting all the dots on a policy level by embedding data systems in newsrooms, through partnership building and broad coalitions with sources of power.

The Executive Director of WSCIJ, Motunrayo Alaka, represented by Adeolu Adekola, Senior Programme Officer, noted that the theme was carefully chosen to highlight the connection between data, media and development.

In his remark, Director of the Africa Office of the MacArthur Foundation, Kole Shettima, who has supported the lecture since 2017, said they were passionate about the theme of the lecture.

e called attention to how media houses could become sources of data collection and made revenue from such.


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