The Vice Chancellor of Nigeria’s premier technical university, First Technical University, Ibadan, Prof. Ayobami Salami, has challenged the Nigerian media to be more vibrant and focused on setting the right agenda for development in the country.
Salami spoke as the Special Guest at the 2018 Press Week of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ) Correspondents’ Chapel, Oyo State Chapter.
The theme of the event was “Promoting Professionalism and Good Governance”.
Salami said: “You would agree with me that, with the deluge of developmental challenges confronting the nation, the media, as the Fourth Estate of the Realm, occupies a strategic position in helping the nation negotiate a better deal. Like never before, it is certain that the media needs to be more vibrant and focused on setting the right agenda for development.”
He stated further, “Of course, we are not oblivious of the existential challenges bedeviling media practice in our country today. The realities show that the media industry is seriously hemorrhaging; from the burdening cost of news production, to the embarrassing magnitude of salary indebtedness, to increasing commercialization of news items and ethical crisis. When you consider other issues of declining readership, revolutionary incursion of the online media, increasing threats to the lives of journalists, proliferation of fake news, among others, journalism in Nigeria, as it is the world over, is at a crossroad. All of these have certainly impacted negatively on media today. Therefore, there is no better time to reflect on the state of the media than now.”
“However, what is certain is that, like it did in the era of the military dictatorship, the Nigerian media will overcome. This is because the Nigerian media is gifted with some of the brightest and most courageous journalists on the continent. Therefore, I expect that the media would re-enact its heroic wand-not only to rescue the nation at such a time like this, but to also reinvent its practice and nudge it on the pathway of journalism,” he added.
Speaking on TECH-U, which he described as the nation’s first self-sustaining public university, Salami stated that the university was conceived to provide functional, skill-oriented education to bridge the widening gap between graduates from tertiary institution and the needs of the society, particularly the employing organisations.
“Nigeria is currently faced with myriad challenges, chief among which is youth unemployment,” he said. “The problem of youth unemployment is multi-faceted. While the combined admission capacity of the Nigerian university system, public and private, is barely up to 40 percent of qualified and eligible candidates, the few that are able to gain admission and pass out from the system have been found unemployable for lack of entrepreneurial attitudes as well as employability-related hard and soft skills. Tech-U was therefore established to expand access to university education and more importantly to address the employability gaps through entrepreneurial orientation of the average Nigeria youth”.
Salami said that as Nigeria’s premier technical university, Tech-U is committed to raising socially-relevant and technically-competent graduates equipped with requisites skills to provide solutions to industry problems and to chart the course for revolutionary ideas that can develop the society. “With emphasis on science, engineering, technology, research and innovation for societal transformation, the university is unwavering in its steadfast pursuit to combat the unrelenting scourge of youth unemployment in Nigeria by producing outstanding graduates who are self-reliant and innovative”, he added.
The scholar also stated that the institution is in partnership with foreign universities so as to provide international exposure and opportunities to their students stressing that scholarship opportunity is also provided for indigent students.