Excitement In Kwara As Journalism Institute Bounces Back
The joy of practicing journalists in Kwara State and media industrialists knew no bound about a fortnight ago when the Ilorin Centre of the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ) came alive again. The Ilorin center of IIJ which commenced its training programmes in 2001 abruptly came to a halt some years ago due to some challenges.
Right now, the challenges seem to have been overcome by the administration of Comrade Abiodun AbdulKareem-led state executive council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ). The NUJ leadership in the state achieved the resuscitation in collaboration with the management of IIJ, Abuja and the Mass Communication Department of the University of Ilorin.
The matriculation of a new set of students at IIJ, Iloprin centre a fortnight a go was a colourful sight to be hold. Journalists, media managers, academia and other stakeholders in the media industry turned out in large number and colourful attires to witness the all important matriculation ceremony.
Speaking at the event, the registrar, International Institute of Journalism, Mr Afolabi Olusola, said the institute was birthed to train and retrain journalists, adding that the school was committed in words and action to train and produce world class journalists. He said that the institute has provided conducive environment for learning and urged students to attend lectures and do their assignments promptly.
The registrar, however warned that the management of the institute would continue to maintain zero tolerance for social vices that have the potential to distract the students from their primary aim of being in the institute.
Olusola also urged the lecturers to mentor the students and avoid truancy, harassment and involvement in students' projects beyond the official acceptable levels. He warned the lecturers against extortion of students under the guise of procurement of handouts.
The coordinator of Ilorin IIJ Centre, Dr Lukman Azeez of the Mass Communication Department, University of Ilorin said the IIJ programme was expected to provide a bridge for the practicing journalists and other media professionals who were hitherto not armed with the basic background in Mass Communication. He stated that the institute was being resuscitated and rebranded as a good platform for training and retraining of media professionals in the state.
The don enjoined media professionals and those interested in building up their professional or academic capacity to make use of the opportunity offered by IIJ programmes. Describing the matriculation as more symbolic in the life of the students of the institute, the erstwhile head of Department of Mass Communication, University of Ilorin, assured that the students would not be disappointed.
"It gives me a great pleasure to welcome you all to this special occasion. Matriculation of students is a special academic tradition that usually marks a glorious beginning of an academic pursuit. It is a symbolic tradition because it establishes a strong meaning about the mission or vision of both the matriculating students and the institution that is matriculating them.
"This programme is just being resuscitated after it has been rested for a while for many reasons. To tell the public about its resuscitation and rebranding as well as our commitment to sustain it, this occasion today becomes an imperative, apart from its academic symbolism.
"So far, I am happy to inform you that our mission is clear and untainted. Although this programme is housed by the NUJ, we do not want and we will not allow any compromise of its academic integrity and standard by the NUJ administrative peculiarities. And this is the main reason why all the academic personnel that have joined the programme have wholeheartedly committed themselves to its sustenance and to attaining an enviable excellence for the programme.
"Of course, their main goal of joining the programme is not for any pecuniary motivations, it is rather for grabbing an opportunity of serving their community, which is one of the main tripartite mandates of their career", the coordinator said.
Also speaking, senior special assistant to the Kwara State governor on Media and Communications, Dr Muhideen Akorede, applauded the initiative of the state's council of the NUJ in resuscitating the glory of the Institute. He told the gathering that he saw purposefulness and commitment of the state's council of the union to journalism profession in the state.
The governor's aide also urged journalists in the country to engage in wide reading to expand the scope of their knowledge.
In his remarks, the general manager, Kwara State Printing and Publishing Corporation, publishers of The Herald titles, Alhaji AbdulRazaq Adebayo, also praised the state NUJ for making the institute a pride among its contemporaries. He also commended the state NUJ chairman for his efforts to distinguish the state council of the union.
In his brief remark, the state NUJ chairman,Comrade Abiodun Abdulkareem, said the training received from the institute had immensely benefited those who passed through the school. AbdulKareem, who is also an alumnus of the institute, described journalism as a social responsibility, where practitioners are expected to make welfare of the society a top priority.
He urged journalists to entrench democratic principles in the country through good journalism. The NUJ chairman, who described the matriculants as pride of the state council, said their sojourn in the institute was just the beginning to the career in journalism.
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