Nigeria’s Independence Day seems to have also become Convention Day for Nsukka Journalists Foundation. The group established by veteran and working journalists of Nsukka descent held its first convention on October 1, last year; it’s holding its second convention this Tuesday, October 1, in Nsukka, Enugu State.
NJF’s pioneer chairman Professor Nick Idoko [pictured above] has issued a statement to herald the great day on which all the journalists of Nsukka extraction worldwide would converge on the university town.
The foundation, he said, will deliberate on a potpourri of issues regarding the development index of Nsukka cultural zone (made up of Nsukka, Igbo-Eze South, Igbo-Eze North, Udenu, Igbo-Etiti, Uzo-Uwani and Isi-Uzo LGAs) and how to get governments at different levels to partner stakeholders to ensure equitable distribution of social amenities among the communities.
As the host community of the premier University of Nigeria, the question of a special status for Nsukka will feature in the deliberations of the conclave, Idoko said, adding that the convention would be taking more than a passing interest in the welfare of NJF members.
He stated: “As journalists, we report events and mould opinions that shape our society. We ask questions about the use of our common wealth by those in positions of authority. As professionals scattered all over the world, giving voice to the societies where we live and practise, we should also ask ourselves: have we also given voice to our people? As we do all those in our respective beats and postings, we have the duty to also ask questions about our home, Nsukka cultural zone. We owe it a duty to also ask about government activities and how these activities could be applied to promote quality standard of living for our families in our respective communities. Above all, we owe it a duty to come together to review how we are faring in our different locations.
“We have more than 100 registered members. Who says we cannot establish an in-house journal that could cater to our information needs? We are meeting for the second time and we hope to settle a lot issues at the end of the convention.”
The convener of the group, which first started as “Nsukka Journalists’ Forum” before it was registered as a foundation, is Mr Harrison Ogara, publisher of The Starlite, a community newspaper. Ogara said the formation of the foundation was the best thing that has happened to journalists of Nsukka origin.
The chairman of Nsukka local government, Mr Patrick Omeje, is expected to formally declare the convention open, while Enugu State governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi is expected to be the special guest of honour.
At the end of its maiden summit, last year, NJF decried the underdevelopment of the zone even after many Nsukka sons and daughters had occupied important positions in the country. At a meeting with Governor Ugwuanyi at Government House, Enugu, on November 17, the group handed him its “charter of needs”.
A review of the governor’s response to the charter is likely to feature prominently during this year’s convention.