By Kabir Musa Ringim
I took my pen to write on this topic with mixed reactions: on the one hand, it is indeed a welcome development to have the number of media houses increasing at a fast rate in Northern Nigeria, but on the other hand, it is worrying to listen to or watch most of the new breed of journalists on several FM radio and TV stations, majority of which are newly established.
I refer to myself as an accidental journalist because I am a Computer Engineer, and I hold MSc in Information Technology and work as a polytechnic lecturer. But all my life, I have been a lover of media. I was an ardent listener of radio since childhood. I can still remember with nostalgia how I used to ask my mother to wake me up when it was time for BBC Hausa’s morning and late evening program at 8.30 pm, followed by VOA Hausa’s 9 pm program. I just couldn’t afford to miss listening to the likes of the late Hindu Rufa’i Waziri and Elhadji Diori Coulibaly.
My love for radio influenced my passion for journalism and the media profession. I started going to media house after I finished my Diploma in Computer Data Processing and IT in 2005. Furthermore, I wrote my project on the impact of radio with a case study of Freedom Radio, Kano. Thereafter, after graduating from BUK in 2011, I joined Freedom Radio Dutse as a voluntary staff working in the newsroom. I later opened my blog (ringimkabir.wordpress.com) in 2015, where I share news articles after translating them from English to Hausa. Now, I’m a freelance editor with Sawaba FM, Hadejia and SkyDaily online newspaper.
I narrated my brief sojourn in the media profession to pave the way for my moral stand and justification in talking about the dearth of intellectual, intelligent and hardworking personalities in the majority of our media houses in Arewa. A vast number of our media personalities are those that find themselves studying mass communications or languages by accident, lazy and unserious individuals with no passion for media, no love for radio but masquerading themselves as journalists to earn a living through meagre salaries or brown envelope journalism that has become the order of the day.
It is really frustrating to listen to most radio stations, especially in big cities where there are many, like Kano and Kaduna. The grammatical blunder, the mispronunciation of names of VIPs, national figures and important towns, and the incorrect voicing of arithmetic figures, dates and even times are unforgivable. The newsroom culture is dead; no intellectual discussions and arguments concerning news reports, and there is little or no investigative journalism being practised. Just copy and paste, edit, translate and cast on air or publish.
Media plays a vital role in educating, entertaining, enlightening and informing the people. It is the voice of the voiceless, a pathway to freedom for the masses and, above all, the fourth estate of the realm. Media houses, most especially radio stations, have been second to none when it comes to news dissemination in Arewa since the pre-independence period. The power of radio in Northern Nigeria is enormous.
In my view, the problem that caused the scarcity of intellectuals in the media profession originated right from universities and other higher institutions. Our institutions have been churning out thousands of half-baked graduates year in, year out. I really wonder how someone can graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communications but cannot speak or cast news in English. The majority of journalists in newsrooms cannot translate news from English, the language of instructions, to Hausa, the mother tongue.
Finally, despite the sad situation I elaborate on, I still believe we can get it right. The human brain never stops learning, provided deliberate efforts are being made to learn new things. With hard work, courage and determination, we can be like our predecessors in the media profession.
I have no intention of remaining in the media profession for long, but I will forever love radio. As such, I found it an obligation for me to speak up and energize my fellow journalists to stand up to the challenge and make a bold statement about becoming better every day. I still hold the belief that if someone can do something, I can do it too, and you can do it as well.
Kabir Musa is a lecturer at Binyaminu Usman Polytechnic Hadejia and writes from Ringim, Jigawa State.
Masha Allah, thank you for the encouragement. We can do better, with efforts and determination.
I am really happy and proud of this writer as this is what always worries and perpelexed me when I compare the past journalism of the FRCN Kaduna, VOA Hausa of Kabiru Fagge, Jummai Ali, Halima Djimrao, Ahmed Yarima and Jamila Tangaza etc or BBCs of Isah Abba Adamu, Ibrahim Isah and of recent Mamman Skipper.
To me the Problem arises from the following sources:
1) As the writer pointed out, churning of halfbaked graduates from low standard colleges and polytechnics with Unqualified and Randy lecturers.
2) Too much relying on the certificates when recruiting media personel, The employers should rather call for any field and interested individuals for test and interviews than mass comm only.
3) Lack of on-the- job Trainning, Mentorship, and monitoring in the media houses. Others include, lack of standard regulation from the relevant states and federal Authorities.
The solution is not far- fetched the problems listed above. The new generation media houses should compete in professionalism rather than materialism.
Thank you so Sir for the educating and enlighten us.
I’m a student at ABU Zaria 300l studying Glass and Silicate Technology/Engineering, I’m someone like you who have passion and love in leasten to radio and watching TV station most especially like the one we have in kaduna Liberty radio and TV, freedom radio, vision FM and BBC Hausa. But what is paining me is that to hear or see somebody who is graduate from University or practicing journalism can not read or make a good broadcasting, sometimes it makes me to turned off my radio or television.
And again is a good development to have many radio and TV stations in the North due to what is happening around the world if you don’t have a Media station you leave behind no one will hear or know your cultures and also spreading good news about your region. It may be government or individual trying to stop you for the freedom of expression, freedom of speech and freedom of movement and many more but with the aid of radio and TV stations you can see your mind.
May almighty Allah continues blessing and protecting you Sir.
God bless Nigeria.
God bless Arewa.
God bless our our capacitated journalists.
This has really been an educative write-up. I’m also proud of the person that wrote it. I hope we’re going to take the corrective measures.
Well commended efforts, the issues of grammatical blunder is common in most of popular media houses, the mispronunciation of names of VIPs, national figures and important towns, and incorrect of figures, dates and times are very rare to be find with the help of Google you search via internet unless for the lazy journalists.
Back to newsroom, the culture of making special reports, investigative journalism and developmental journalism is not dead at all, those cordinal principles of news media are requires financial supports before an effort being made it, but due to nature of media financial status made it harder.
While copy and paste, edit, translate is become normal many in Arewa media industry and the worst part of it, is broadcasting or publishing unverified information.
Recommendations Malam Kabir You have to take a look the other side of it, the media ownership because it’s plays a vital role on such nagging, we can’t compare the welfare of BBC, VOA with the local media, international media are sending their workers to training, workshops and seminars to develop their capacities frequently.
Please during the time you spent with Freedom Radio how many times have you opportune to undergone the training, seminars or workshops?
Please you can help those who are willing to give their best to profession by creating a platform that can carter our needs.
May Allah reward you for your foresight and love to profession, Arewa in general and never make your ink dry.
Aminu Usman Abubakar.