Katsina 2014: President’s welcome address
Published On 29 Aug, 2014 At 03:07 PM | With 0 Comments

Welcome speech by NGE President, Femi Adesina at the 1oth All Nigerian Editors Conference (ANEC) in Katsina

It is my singular pleasure once again to welcome you all to Katsina, the capital of Katsina State, for the 10th edition of the All Nigerian Editors Conference (ANEC).
How time flies!  Was it not only yesterday that Nigerian editors had gathered in Ada, a serene town in Osun State, for their first annual conference?  Now, it is 10 years after.  After Ada, we had been to Abuja, Bayelsa, Bauchi, Kaduna, Rivers, Edo, Akwa Ibom, and Delta.  We thank the past and present chief executives of those states and cities, who hosted us.
As we rounded off the 9th edition of ANEC in Asaba last year, words got to us that Governor Ibrahim Shehu Shema of Katsina was willing to host the next edition.  We opened discussions with him.  The fact that we are here today is once again ‘Promised made, and promise kept.’  We thank or Chief Host most sincerely.
Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen.  Our theme for this 10th conference is Credible Elections and Good Governance:  Role of the Editor.  I daresay it is a theme for the hour, as Nigeria prepares for General Elections next year.  Our democracy is in its 15th year, and one thing that has been the talking point is the quality of our elections.  We have gone through the good, the bad, and the ugly.  In 2015, we want nothing less than free, fair and credible polls.  We want elections that are not only free, but also seen to be free.  Elections that are not only fair but also applauded as fair.  And elections that are not only credible, but which even the blind would see to have been credible.
Corollary to this kind of election is good governance.  When our public officers get their mandates freely and fairly, they also struggle to justify it.  They do all within their powers to sustain the confidence the people have reposed in them.  But when they wangle their ways to power through artifices and sleight of hand, they develop an indifferent attitude, in which they feel they owe the electorate nothing.  We need a radical departure from such in our country.
If elections will be credible, and our country will experience sustained good governance at all levels, the media, and particularly the editors, have a big role to play.  That is why we have chosen our theme for this conference, even as the country stands at the threshold of general elections, in a year that people believe will make or mar Nigeria.
Why must elections tear a country into pieces?  Elections are rather meant to enhance cohesion, grow democracy, and pave the way for national development.  But in Nigeria, it is the other way round.  Elections are bitter, acrimonious, and downright divisive.  But how can we get out of such bind?  That is what we will address at this conference.
At this opening ceremony, we will listen to a Keynote Address, which is expected to set the tone for the entire conference.  We will also hear our Special Guest of Honour, the Special Guests and other invited guests, speak on this all-important theme.
During the conference, we will have different sessions and facilitators.  We will hear from the leadership of the electoral umpire, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the challenges and acceptability of free and fair polls, we will consider good governance as panacea for sustainable democracy, while one of our own, a leader of our profession, will take us through the imperatives of fair reporting, particularly in an election season.
Tomorrow evening, we will be opportune to know the perspectives of our state governors on the theme of the conference. At what we call the Executive Session, they will join the host governor to discuss possibilities of credible elections, and good governance in Nigeria.  They wear the shoes, so they know where it pinches.
On Saturday morning, we will take care of the physical man.  The Editors’ Clinic will hold, with the topic, Managing Silent Killers, under focus.  We don’t want our members dying untimely, so adequate information is the name of the game.
Other sessions will include a SWOT analysis of the New Media on our profession, how to prepare for life after editorship, and also a presentation on how to hold leaders accountable in the country.
After a project tour on Saturday afternoon, a Gala Night follows, where we admit new members into the NGE, and also confer Fellowship on some distinguished others.  All work and no play, it is said, make editors age early.  And because we came along with our dancing shoes, I am sure we would not be breaking any rules if we decide to dance all night long.
Please join me to thank the committee that has put this conference together, headed by my friend and brother, Garba Deen Mohammed.  They worked their fingers almost to the bones, spending many sleepless nights, and shuttling between, Lagos, Abuja and Katsina.  Other members are Chooks Oko, Ogbang Akwaji, Suleiman Uba Gaya, Steve Ayorinde, Alli Hakeem, Aishatu Sule, and Sabastine Abu, the indefatigable secretary.
We also thank our host: Katsina State government, and other sponsors. On behalf of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, I say thank you very much.
Once again, welcome to Katsina State. Enjoy the city. Enjoy the conference.  Enjoy the Home of Hospitality.

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