Journalism not for lazy people – Adebisi
Alhaji Moshood Adebisi’s name might not ring a bell among many journalists in the country. But the former Chief Press Secretary to Chief Oluremi Tinubu, wife of the former governor of Lagos State has, without a doubt, paid his dues in the media profession.
The graduate of the Ghana Institute of Journalism, in this interview, speaks about himself and his years in active journalism. In his words, journalism is not a calling for lazy folks.
Me and journalism
I am from Osogbo in Osun State but I attended the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra, Ghana. Few years after my study in the Ghana Institute of journalism, I joined the civil service. Then, about 15 of us were employed as information officers to the first Executive Governor of Lagos State, Alhaji Lateef Kayode Jakande. We worked directly with the governor before the Ministry of Information was created to handle information activities of the government.
In the course of my service years too, I was among the pioneer information officers who were redeployed to start a state government newspaper titled Lagos Horizon. The newspaper was later changed to Eko Today. Before the paper was rested, I went back to the civil service to continue my career.
I also went for my degree course in History and International Relations. By the grace of God, I have a Diploma in Film and Television production, a post graduate in marketing and public relations and I also had my MPIA from the University of Lagos. So, I have prepared myself for the job. Also, since 1983, I have gone round all the ministries as information officer, as far as Lagos State Civil Service is concerned.
In the year 2002, I was appointed as the Chief Press Secretary to Chief Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, the former first lady. I served her for about four years before I was redeployed to the Lands Bureau where I am today as the press and public relations officer. I am 55 and God has blessed my marriage.
Well, there have been challenges as far as my career as an information officer is concerned. Sometimes, as a civil servant, there are limits to what we report. This is a great challenge because the people out there will like to know about the activities of the government, and you as an information officer, you must be conscious of your responsibility to both the government and the people. My career in the civil service is full of challenges.
Before I joined the civil service, I worked briefly with the defunct Daily Sketch in 1979 as a reporter. I joined the civil service as a young man who had a deep interest in the activities of government then. I decided to join the civil service in order to report government’s activities. People want to know how government policies have affected them and government also want feedback from the people. So, as an information officer, the challenges include how to report the day-to-day activities of government.
Life as CPS
My experience then was beautiful. I worked with the first lady who was a hard working woman. All through my years as Chief Press Secretary, we were working round the clock. Mrs. Tinubu was into charity, various pet projects and other human development activities. During my years as Chief Press Secretary, we were able to tell the world what the first lady then was doing. There was a time we travelled to Liberia for charity. That was after the war. We gave succour to the victims of the Liberia war.
That was when we were redeployed to start the state government newspaper, the Lagos Horizon which was later changed to Eko Today. My colleagues and I faced the challenges in good faith. We wanted to tell our colleagues in the media that those of us that came from the civil service were equal to the task, that we were professionals. I was the sports editor. But, it was unfortunate that I had a brief stint at the Horizon because I later left the newspaper to go back to the civil service because of my future prospects.
Having had the opportunity of travelling round the world, I would say the Nigerian media is vibrant. We have committed people who work in the Nigerian media, people who want positive change and who are patriotic with their jobs.
Delay of the FOI Bill
It is sad that the Nigerian factor takes precedence in the issue of the Freedom of Information Bill. To tell the truth, the delay in the passage of the bill is the greatest disservice to our democratic institution. The FOI bill is all about getting access to information about government activities without any hindrance.
As an information officer, I believe our leaders have failed to realize that the beauty of democracy lies in the ability to have unhindered access to information. And that is sad.
Years in Ghana
My years at the Ghana Institute of Journalism, Accra was unique. The Ghana Institute of Journalism was established by the late Kwame Nkruma, and his intention then was to admit Africans into the school so that the young and aspiring journalists who are Africans could, at the end of their studies at school, report Africa. So that Africans could change the impression the white people had about us at the time. At least, about two students were picked from the whole of Africa including Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Congo, Cote d’Ivore. So, I gained the admission then. And we were trained so that we can report Africa properly.
Advice for young journalists
They should be committed and patriotic with the job. The love of money should not be the priority. Journalism is not for lazy people. It requires hard work and dedication.
Life as PRO
I’m happy with myself on the job. I know I was well trained for the job and as a former Chief Press Secretary, I know how to get results for whatever I do.
When Osun State was created in 1991, I floated a newspaper then. But as a young officer, I could not cope with the challenges. The title of the newspaper was Osun news. I did about four editions before it was rested. But God willing, I hope to revitalize the newspaper in the future. That is my plan towards the development of journalism in Nigeria.
Credit: Kehinde Aderemi
Source: Sun News