Why I Dedicate Media Excellence Award To Sen. Al-makura

BY RAYYANU BALA

Precisely, seventy Seven days today when Nasarawa state government

marked its first annual media dinner award in which many media

practitioners and media influencers were awarded with various

certificates of excellence in recognition of their contributions in

the media towards publicizing government policies and programmes. The

event ( 1st Annual Media Dinner Award) which was organized by the

Directorate of Strategic Communication and Press Affairs Office of

the Executive Governor headed by the Director General Malam Yakubu

Lamai was held amid magnificent ceremonial display at Ta’al

Conference Hotel. The ceremony was attended by crème-de- la crème

within and outside the state.

Indeed, yours sincerely was among those that were recognized and

awarded with prestigious award for “outstanding performance and

lasting contribution to news reporting in Nasarawa state”. But before

I go into detail of this write up which I aptly captured in the title,

Let me first begin by expressing my sincere appreciation to Governor

of Nasarawa state, Engr Abdullahi Alhaji Sule for finding me worthy of

being recognized and awarded with the media excellence award which I

personally received along with other awardees at an elaborate ceremony

which attracted virtually all those who matters in Nasarawa state.

Let me also quickly highlight that this annual media dinner award has

with it potentials for cementing existing relationship between the

media and the government. It needs no stressing that Both the

government and the media are constitutionally supposed to be partners,

just as the Emir of Lafia, Justice Sidi Muhammad Bage (retired) has

stressed at this very media dinner award.

The media and the government both exists to serve the people,

therefore they must compliment each other. The media and government

were not meant to be antagonistic to each other rather they were meant

to assist each other. The framers of our 1999 constitution did not

envisage any form of disagreement between the media and the

government. The media and the government are inextricably linked

together so much that they becomes indispensable between those who

govern and those are governed. It is against this back ground that

this annual media dinner must therefore be seen as part of the

complimentary efforts of Engr Abdullahi Sule administration towards

carrying media practitioners along.

I must also not forget to give kudos to Strategic Communication and

Press Affairs office for initiating this Annual Media Dinner Award.

Above all, I must also extend same gratitude to the Deputy Governor,

Dr Emmanuel Akabe, Speaker of the Nasarawa state House of Assembly

ably represented by the Deputy Speaker Emmanuel Dandaura, Members of

the Nasarawa state Executive Councils, The Secretary to the state

government, Members of the State House of Assembly, Chairman Nasarawa

state Councils of Chiefs, Justice Sidi Muhammad Bage and other

dignitaries present at the occasion for accepting to be part of this

great event which is the first of its kind in the state.

Having said this, I wish to dedicate the award bestowed on me for my

“outstanding performance and lasting contribution to news reporting in

Nasarawa state” to our former Governor Umaru Tanko Al-makura.

There are indeed, many reasons which informed my decision to dedicate

this award to our amiable Senator Umaru Tanko Al-mkura. But for

reasons of time and space, I will highlight few here. First and

foremost, former governor Al-makura, being the architect of modern

Nasarawa state, deserves all the awards and the recognition thus far

bestowed on him and for me to dedicate my award to him was a mark of

such recognition which behooves on me to do. Being a good citizen of

Nasarawa state, I was left with no option than to dedicate this award

that comes my way to no other person than former governor Umaru Tanko

Al-makura, now Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Take it or leave it, former governor Al-makura did a lot in uplifting

the standard of living of ordinary people of Nasarawa state,

irrespective of tribe and religion. It was only through eight years

of former governor Al-makura that virtually all parts of Nasarawa

state came to know about the existence of government on this surface

of the earth, as there was no any part of the state that was left

unattended to, especially on matters that have to do with dividend of

democracy, and I stand to be corrected on this.

Lafia my town and capital city of Nasarawa state was transformed,

literarily from glorified local government to capital city. Today

Lafia can confidently compete with any capital city around the world

in terms of social amenities like roads network. All these were to the

credit of former governor Al-makura. It was against this backdrop that

I find it gripping to dedicate my media award to former governor

Al-makura.

My secondly reason for this dedication, was because, Senator

Al-makura happens to be the first person who exposed me more to media

world by given me an opportunity to serve in his government as Senior

Special Assistant (SSA Media). Senator Al-makura did not stop there;

he went further to appoint me as member of Media Rapid Response

Standing Committee set up by the Northern Governor’s Forum. I

represent Nasarawa state at this most important media committee; one

member each from 19 states of the North.

I most confess that this Media Rapid Response Committee not only

exposes me to full rigorous of media monitoring and press

intelligence; it also open up to me, all techniques involved in

proactive and rapid response writing skills on misrepresentations of

government actions in the media. The committee also makes me to meet

some big names in the media world, particularly from the north.

There are people like now late, Muhammod Baba Ahmed, late Bashir Bello

Akko, Dr Cletus Akwaya, Lawal Yusuf Saulawa, Adamu Aliyu Kiyawa

formerly with BBC , Sanusi Muhammed Bauchi, Ishaq Galadima Yola among

other big personalities who contributed immensely to the development

of print and electronic media in Nigeria. Working with these high

caliber personalities is a rewarding one for me. My media horizon was

expanded tremendously as a result of working with these people.

Now let me turn to my assignment as Senior Special Assistant Media, by

the time I assumed office fully as SSA media, some time in 2011

tension has already started building up in the state regarding the way

and manner, the state is being governed by the executive headed by

Umaru Tanko Al-makura. There was tension then between the executive,

on one hand and the legislators on the other, owing to difference in

political parties.

To our then legislators headed by Musa Ahmed Muhammed, the executive

which belonged to the CPC/APC headed by Al-makura must not succeed.

Serious rivalry then ensued with every action taken by the executive

was seen by the legislators as against their party (PDP) and favour of

the CPC/APC. The then PDP dominated House did all what it could do to

undermine the executive all in the guise of discharging their

responsibilities, the onus of defending the executive therefore fell

on us in the media department. The challenges we faced then assumed a

very dangerous dimension such that you can only write and defend the

executive at the expense of your job. At the height of this scenario,

I can recall, Al-makura himself has do drew my attention and cautioned

me not to henceforth, append my name in my write ups in his support.

And he did that just to safeguard my job as his media aide.

I must confess, we did our best with the support and deftness of

Al-makura and above all with the help of Almighty Allah, we were able

to surmount all the onslaughts of PDP dominated House which came in

different shade and colours (spanning four years) and culminated in

attempted impeachment saga which crash-landed with a bang, leaving all

that were then in support of impeachment in trepidation.

So on the whole, Senator Al-makura really deserves this dedication.

There is nothing I can offer far more than this. I genuinely

appreciate the role played by former governor Al-makura by way of

assisting in moulding me become big shot in my own right, in the

media world.

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