Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Tell Them We Are Still Rising!

The December 23, 2002 publication in a Nigerian weekly magazine The Insider captioned 'Vengeance like the Wind' has once more proved that Oko Mass Communications and Journalism is still a force to be reckoned with in the media industry and training in Nigeria today.

The two-page publication which eulogised the effort of the twenty-six year old Greg Ugbaje whose maiden play was performed at the French Cultural Centre, Ikoyi Lagos is yet another sign that Oko Masscom is still maintaining its standard in the area of training capable and efficient communicators; a sign that it is still rising!
Ugbaje, a graduate of Okopoly Mass Communications and Journalism whose play’s  maiden performance drew many notable critiques in Nigeria like Professor Bode Osoyin of the University of Lagos, Chuka Nnabuife of the Guardian, Niji Akanni a veteran theatre director, Layiwola Adeniji of ThisDay, Ademola Olaiwola of the University of Lagos and host of others, opined that his maiden work is a result of his long and quality training at the Mass Communications and Journalism department of the Federal Polytechnic Oko, Nigeria.
For many who knew Okopoly as the seat of Mass Communications and Journalism in Nigeria and West Africa, this is not a surprise as it was not the first time the department has been praised or one of her products honoured for an outstanding achievement in the field of journalism. In 1989, the 21 year old department was adjudged by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) as having the best studio complex in the West African sub-region. The studio complex commissioned by former Nigeria Head of State, General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida is standing today as a beacon of academic excellence and professional prowess.
As part of a programme to immortalise the name of the late Rt. Hon. Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first Nigerian President and Owelle of Onitsha, the department is in collaboration with the Howard University, Zik's alma mater, carrying out a process of establishing a Zik's Institute of Communication Studies which on completion will become a resource/research centre for communication for the entire black Africa.
It is also a fact that there was a time Okopoly Masscom was the only HND (Higher National Diploma) awarding department in Nigeria. In 1998, one of its graduate, Chinwe Ogbuka, a journalist with the Punch Newspaper in Abuja won a UCIP (International Catholic Union of the Press) award for an article on women plight titled 'The Plights of Women Journalists in Nigeria'. She received the award in Paris, France. Same UCIP award also went to Gasper John Emenyeonu in 2001. Emenyeonu, a graduate of the department was rewarded in Fribourg, Switzerland for an article in the same category of women plight titled, 'Africa Women, Victims of Culture and Convention'. Emenyeonu is with the Champion Newspaper. Also in 2002, Annette Edo formerly with the Newswatch Magazine and presently with the Tell Magazine clinched 2002 DAME (Diamond Award for Media Excellence) Award in Health Category for an article she wrote titled, 'The Death Peddlers'.
In the area of politics, Ben Nwankwo a graduate of the department was at various times Commissioner for Works, Environment etc. and at present Federal House of Representative aspirant in Anambra State, Nigeria. Donald Duke also an alumnus is on his way to becoming a governor for the second term in Cross River State, Nigeria. This is also the case with Tony Muonagor alias 'Tony One Week' who is a household name in home videos and gyration music.
It is also a fact that a good number of Police and Armed Forces officers were trained in the department. A recent research also proved that Oko Masscom graduates are competing favourably with their counterparts in the labour market. It is against this backdrop that the Polywall Weekly is giving kudos to the department and the chain of its qualified and seasoned lecturers. Their toils are never in vain for the students are untiring in upholding the honour and glory of this famous department.
The students and staff should therefore not relent in their efforts or be tired in their laudable achievements. We must ever be ready to tell them that we are still rising!

I wrote this piece as an editorial for a demonstration newspaper called 'The Polywall Weekly'. It was a partial requirement for the award of my Higher National Diploma in Mass Communications and Journalism by the Department of Mass Communications and Journalism, School of Information Technology, The Federal Polytechnic Oko, Nigeria. Note that it was written and submitted in 2002 and therefore the accuracy of most of the information is not guaranteed. Though I did a little editing on the piece, however I tried as much as possible not to alter the piece in such a way that it will become a shadow of its original. The inaccuracies in  the original piece was due to constraint posed by lack of internet and research facilities in the polytechnic during the period as well as time constraint.