Being a published Speech Delivered at a farewell dinner for the Final Year Students of Mass Communication Department, Bayero University, Kano.
Let me first affirm how honoured I am to be invited to this farewell dinner for the outgoing students of the Mass Communication Department and to be in the midst of my highly educated and responsible lecturers of this citadel of knowledge.
As some of you may have known my experience and progress so far, which is the will of Almighty God, all these are due to the tremendous theoretical and practical training I received from the ever accommodating and learned lecturers of this department. Our frank but very friendly atmosphere with the lecturers has been in the great tradition of this enviable department. To our lecturers, you’re most gracious and very understanding - I do thank you for imparting in us this rare knowledge.
I would like to also commend the effort of the executive members of Mass Communication Students’ Association (MACOSA), organisers of this dinner, whom I have envied in recent times for their many programmes and activities which compelled some of us, with pride, to make some humble contributions, to the development of the Department in the small ways that we could. The outgoing executive, under the leadership of Malam Abubakar Alhassan, served the Association with compassion, vision and honour. They have performed wonderfully with driven force to succeed.
Since my speech is to share my experiences with you during my undergraduate days and the NYSC scheme, it is imperative to recall the contributions of MACOSA during my tenure as PRO in 1991. Due to inadequate funds, we limited activities around the campus where we made progress in organising MACOSA Week, produced and directed a programme for Kano State Radio Broadcasting Service, made mandatory contributions of at least seven feature articles to major newspapers on monthly basis and the indirect participation of mass communication students in the production of Campus Voice, the magazine of which I was the Editor-in-Chief. We also had an excursion to some selected media houses not beyond Kaduna and witnessed the installation of a satellite dish, the first in any Nigerian university, mounted in the department. With all the aforementioned, I have to admit that there is a lot of improvement in MACOSA activities in recent times - I hope the incoming executive will improve the tempo.
In an effort to improve my future carrier as a journalist, I wrote feature articles, short stories, and poems for the print media and joined Bayero Literary Society where members contribute and critically analyse literary works submitted to the workshop and published in a literary magazine called “The Parakeet.” My participation in all these extra curricular activities was to demonstrate and practise what I learnt in the classroom which I believe today, with God’s will, assisted me greatly to the present position I find myself.
Since tonight’s dinner is in honour of outgoing students of this department, I find it necessary to inform you that your knowledge of Public Relations - a segment of Mass Communication, will be a great asset to you in your daily activities. As you are aware, PR is associated with exchange of goodwill. First and foremost, you must appreciate the value of communication as you have learnt its sciences, its technical contractions and how to direct it. And you have acquired the knowledge about human beings, what they like, dislike, cultural background, hopes and aspirations, the various endeavours people engage in for a living or for recreation, philosophical bends, language peculiarities, the level of socioeconomic developments which influence political tendencies and preference. With this background knowledge, you are well equipped to relate easily with anybody in mutual and beneficial relationship of goodwill. With demonstration of higher sense of humility and due respect to others, you are more acceptable in the society.
The Public Relations techniques I learnt in school did assist me when I found myself in the NYSC camp in Asaba, Delta State. Due to the way I related with everybody, I was in fact nominated by the NYSC state director to be the Director of Orientation Broadcasting Services OBS with other corps members as members. I used the (OBS) to run interview programmes, sport commentaries, a request programme, drama, news items and many others. At the end of the one-month orientation exercise, the Corpers were well-informed and peace did reign in the camp. Some OBS members were rewarded with lucrative postings.
But for some reasons, I was posted to the ministry of information, Asaba where I wrote a feature article on the plight of corps members and on the political and societal problems of the young state. Those articles drew the attention of the state government and solutions were proffered. My technique was to criticise today and praise tomorrow (call it balanced journalism) but it paid off at the end. One of the problems of the newly created state was lack of information machinery for adequate information dissemination. There was no state owned newspaper. They relied on neighboring states’ media to reach the citizenry and the Delta Broadcasting Service (DBS) was limited to Warri, where the station is situated, leaving the capital and other councils in the dark. It was in view of these problems that I undertook research work round the Local Government Areas in the State titled “Alternative Media Information for Delta State Government” where I proposed how the state could effectively have its own newspaper and expand a booster station to improve the reception of DBS to all nook and crannies of the state. The research was officially received and commended by the state government
Still on information dissemination. In my singular effort to make sure that corps members in the state were well informed, I proposed to the state NYSC Secretariat the need for a newsletter - a cheaper medium of communication, in information and entertainment of corps members, wherever they may be, on the happenings around them and the scheme’s activities in the state. Approval was given and I became the Editor-in-Chief and successfully published it monthly.
The above were just some of the programmes a mass communication graduate can embark upon or participate in during the NYSC exercise.
If you intend to be a successful corps member, as you are about to go for your service, kindly note my little recommendations:
1. Don’t influence your redeployment to another state, unless where necessary, for example, marriage and health problems.2. Don’t reject your place of primary assignment, unless where necessary.3. Think about embarking or participating in the under listed programmes.
a. serving in major committees in the camp, for example, sports, food, theatre groups, information committees and many others.
b. participate regularly in the sanitation exercise and you may initiate new areas for concentration.
c. organise a rag-day or any form of an appeal fund to raise money for the less privileged in the society, fire victims, patients, prisoners, motherless homes, psychiatric hospitals or organise party for them during Xmas/Sallah days.
d. organise evening classes for students about to sit for exams or adult literacy programmes.
e. organise/participate in seminars, workshops, conferences to enlighten the public or campaigns, like tree planting, WAI campaign, anti smoking, AIDS, Road safety campaigns etc.
f. embark on landscaping, beautification of places of your primary assignment or any other place like the palace, state secretariat and hospital.
g. to minimise road accidents, you can create police stands, make zebra crossing, sign post too can be very good.
The above are some of the award winning projects corps members could undertake. But all these can be attained with fervent prayer to God and striving hard with all sense of commitment and the will to act at the right time.
In conclusion, I wish to state that the way we analyse projects and implement what we learn today should reflect the future circumstances and status. The best years for us as mass communicators are yet to come. This will happen only if we as mass communicators hold fast to professionalism by developing and applying appropriate communication knowledge and skills that will make us dynamic leaders of tomorrow.
Once again, thank you very much for your invitation and attention and God bless.*Beacon is the official newspaper of the Department of Mass-Communications, Bayero University Kano. This paper was a speech delivered by the author at a Dinner Party for graduating students of the department in August 1998.