Govt Should Patronize Local Newspapers - Oba Alara
° Alara Wants Govt To Support Local Newspapers
Alara of Aramoko, His Royal Majesty, Oba Adegoko Olu-Adeyemi is a first class Oba from Aramoko, Ekiti West in Ekiti State. He is a retired Permanent Secretary and the incumbent Chancellor of the Ekiti State University. Our Editorial crew was led by Deputy Editor, Femi Oguntayo to his palace in Aramako Ekiti where he spoke on a number of issues concerning the development of Ekiti State and how a community newspaper can flourish in the grassroot.
How did you receive the news of your appointment as the chancellor of EKSU?
Well, like a surprise. I had no premonition what so ever of any appointment at that level or in the university. So, I felt elated, I felt gratified and very happy
When you visited the institution, in what areas did you feel there is need for improvements?
Well, I am generally critical about operations in the University. I have never been an administrator in a university what so ever but I have my own opinion. The university has a good tone. The tone of the university is judged by the products coming out of the institution, the environment, the general impression of the public, students like, behavior of the students altogether and virtually everything that makes up a university including the courses that are offered. So I have a good impression of the university and I have a feeling that I will add my own contribution in my way of further uplifting the prestige of the university.
How would you rate the relationship between Ekiti State government and the traditional rulers in the current administration?
There is a healthy relationship between the traditional rulers in the state and the government. The governor treats us with high regard. He does a lot of things to make sure that we are fine and happy and we debate and share views on issues on the challenges of the state. We are always working hand-in-hand in cooperation to uplift the state to higher level. What is gratifying for example is the outcome of the released results of NECO recently. We were told that Ekiti State has the best result across the nation, it was so gratifying and I am so glad.
In what way is your community benefitting from the infrastructural facilities of the government compared with what is happening in the State Capital?
Ado-Ekiti on its own does not exist in isolation; it is the capital of Ekiti state. So attention must be focused on it more than any town or local government headquarters across the state and of course, one step and then the other. I believe that our time is coming. Only recently, the governor approved 5km road or a little more than that and dualisation of roads in 6 Capital Cities of Ekiti State and that is being done in an accelerated step and I believe after that they will embark on another set of six.
Is your town among the first six?
Yes, in a way. It is going on in Erio-Ekiti within Ekiti West Local Government, the next six maybe will go round the other local government headquarters, I believe that will go on and every local government will have its own done
How far about your royal tussle with one of the Princes that took you to court?
Aramoko has no problem whatsoever. He was not appointed but you know, indeed he was not nominated by his family. That is why it is what it is, he was not nominated by his own family, talk less of the town accepting him. I see him as an aspirant and not a candidate, having not been nominated by his own family or accepted by the generality of the people. He showed interest and he had the intention but the intention was turned down by his own family.
So how did he have the mandate to go to court?
Nobody mandates a man to go to court. As long as what your want has not been done for you, you can protest. He has the right to do so.
Has the matter been done with?
Not completely. One thing I know, it was taken to the high court. Under the law, before you could take a matter to the high court on chieftaincy matter in Nigeria, you have to clear all the local remedies. Things you have to do before you move a chieftaincy matter to the high court, you make some payments here and there, he didn’t do any of these things, he went straight to the high court and he was told there, the court has no jurisdiction because you have not met conditions to table a matter to the high court. He didn’t even stop at that, he went on appeal but the preliminary thing is there. In law, you don’t put something on nothing. That is the golden rule. He went to the appeal court and the court threw it away. You don’t put something on nothing or else it drops. He is now at the Supreme Court and he will fail again. I think he is enjoying it.
What is your view about the dearth of local newspapers in Ekiti State?
I think we have not sufficiently charged the awareness of our people on issues of publicity on issues of education, on issues of information. Information is a very strong element, if you are not thoroughly informed then you cannot answer questions, if you ask me questions I cannot talk about what I don’t know. The point I’m making is, you travelled across the world, you are in a train in London and you see the rate at which everybody, old men and women, boys and girls, the general citizen stayed glue to the newspapers they are reading because they know how to tap information, and they know the essence. In our environment here, we are yet to be sufficiently aligned to the importance of information, they don’t know. Then the level of education of our readers, in today’s world virtually everybody is expected to be able to read newspapers and assimilate, no! The level is still very low. What should come first is to charge the awareness of the people. They start knowing that this is completely good for us, when it gets to the level of being able to read and understand, you promote his interest in reading but what we are having now is that many people don’t even read newspapers even educated persons.
So, what do you suggest Kabiyesi?
At your inter-personal level you must be ready to face the challenges. In establishing a community newspaper, first and foremost you must have a focus, what are you out to archive? Would it be a channel of education, then of course the quality of the paper itself, the competence of the people analyzing issues under the editorial review, how competent are you to look for information, do you spend on it? Do allow people to know the essence of what you are doing, once you can do this the awareness will be charged and people will be informed. If the newspapers are on the street and the people are not buying that’s not good enough but when they start to acknowledge your major contribution by way of education, by way of information then of course they know that it is a welcomed development. People now see the need to look for information and digest such information.
Then what of government and public patronages?
Government should spend sufficiently on establishment of newspapers or patronizing it, if they don’t, then they are not helping the community to grow and they are not penetrating in whatever policy they intend to pursue because they are not encouraging them. The Radio, the Newspapers and the media individuals who are talking to people, every contributor has a role to play. So government should show more interest in funding a community newspaper,
As the royal father at the Fountain Newsbreaker’s annual lecture, what arouses your interest?
I have a background of information, I was schooled all over the place, I was never a local person, I did my primary education around my environment, the next station was Ife and the next was Lagos. So I know the essence of information. That is what I was talking about; when you are not informed you cannot advice on what you don’t know. So, my interest is that I want to see that the interest of those who are investing on this is newspaper being established is achieved. I want to even make contribution in the Fountain Newspaper, I can write editorial stuffs, so I don’t want to be a distance observer, I want to see the industry grow, and I pray the almighty God will see you through.