On Tuesday, November 30, 2021, all roads led to the main campus of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism, NIJ, Ogba, Lagos as the foremost Journalism Institution in Nigeria awarded honours to deserving graduands on the occasion of its 6th convocation ceremony.
The event, which also doubled as the Institution’s 50th anniversary had in attendance seasoned professionals, captains of industries and high profile names across the length and breadth of Lagos State.
High profile individuals present at the historic occasion include the Lagos State Commissioner for Police, Mr Olusegun Hakeem Odumosu, Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, Mr Adeleye Ajayi, a former Member of the Federal House of Representatives, Hon Lanre Odubote, a former special adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Relations, Mr Adesanya Awosan, the provost, chairman of the governing council, members of the governing council as well as esteemed academicians of the institution.
Over 908 graduands received certificates in different areas of study. According to the breakdown of graduands, 384 students received certificates for National Diploma (ND) while 295 students received their Higher National Diploma certificates (HND). 167 Post Graduate Diploma students (PGD) were also awarded certificates.
Other Certificate courses; Proficiency Certificate in Photojournalism (PCPJ) = 19, Effective Writing and Communication (EWC) were also issued to 43 graduands.
Addressing the gathering in his opening remarks, the provost/chairman of the convocation ceremony, Mr Gbenga Adefaye hailed the progenitors of the institution who laboured to lay the foundation that has served as the launchpad for the Institution’s success story over the last 50 years.
“We at the NIJ produce professional pearls that skillfully fill the critical media space in the age of ICT disruptions. We aim to produce the complete media content producers who will also think entrepreneurship,” Mr Adefaye said.
“NIJ stays ahead of the pack. At least, the feedback from the industry is a fitting testimonial.”
“What we see today as NIJ was an idea conceived by the International Press Institute (IPI), Vienna, Austria, a global organisation dedicated to the promotion, and protection of Press freedom as well as the improvement of Journalism training and practice, with the establishment of three Journalism institutions in Africa – Kenya Institute of Journalism, Ghana Institute of Journalism and Nigerian Institute of Journalism in 1963.”
“However, the Nigerian Civil war interrupted the institutions life until 1971, when the Newspapers Proprietor’s Association of Nigeria, NPAN, led then by the first civilian Governor of Lagos State – Alhaji Lateef Jakande of blessed memory, reinstated the NIJ dream.”
“Today, we gather to celebrate the fulfilment of the NIJ dream – 50 Golden years on.”
Speaking in an interview with Eko Hot Blog, Hakeem Odumosu, the Lagos State Commissioner who is also an alumnus of the institution said the convocation ceremony stoked emotions of elation and excitement, looking at how far the institution has come over the years. He also advised the graduands to knuckle down and put their training to optimal use.
“I feel elated, I feel recognized, I feel happy that I’m being honoured, I’m being invited as a guest. Having been a former student of this institution. As I was growing up in the career. I had an opportunity to talk to the pressmen and they kept on telling me that the pen is mightier than the gun, and I decided to know why and how, and that made me inquisitive to come into Journalism, and I thank God I have no regrets.”
“The graduating students, as youths growing up, they should emulate those that have worked hard to become somebody in life. The should emulate those that have suffered and paid their dues to be where they are, not those who follow the crooked way. But whichever way, we will get you if you go through the crooked way. So, you should persevere an emulate those who have suffered to achieve what they have achieved in life.”
Also speaking, Maureen Poopola, a member of the Institution’s governing council said the convocation echoed as the deeply gratifying moment a mother springs forth life. She also prayed for the students in training to scale through their training and hone their skills to the increasingly competitive world of work.
“You’ll be very happy when you see your children doing very well. So I’m very happy that we’ve been able to graduate another set of students. So like I said, its like a mother giving birth. I’m very very happy, and I can only wish for the younger ones a successful graduation.”
NUJ Chairman, Adeleye Ajayi, hailed the premium the institution has placed on churning out quality products, noting that any product of the NIJ has acquired the necessary skill set to challenge any of his contemporaries from any tertiary institution in the country.
“NIJ is a known citadel of communication studies because it embraces all areas of communication – print, advert, broadcast, public relations, marketing and so forth, and I’m happy because products of NIJ distinguish themselves wherever they go.”
“For instance, if someone does a diploma programme here, that person can effectively compete with a Bachelors Degree holder in Mass Communication, and that is a pointer to the fact that, this is an institution where excellence is being accorded to Journalism, and then you can see the array of lecturers, the members of the governing council, these are people of high repute in Journalism.”
“You can see that the convocation ceremony is very colourful. We are proud of NIJ, and I would advise more people to come to NIJ. You know there are so many people in Journalism who read either History and International Studies or Economics or Geography, or English. They need to come down to NIJ to make themselves sophisticated in Journalism, to do higher diploma or postgraduate diploma in Journalism so they can fit into the system.”
Dr Olusanya Awosan – National President of the Alumni, and also a former Special Assistant to President Jonathan on Public Relations, regretted the austere social and economic environment the students were graduating into but expressed optimism that with innovation and creative enterprise, the graduands would make firm inroads into the world of work.
“First and foremost, I give thanks to the Almighty for today. The students who are graduating, they are graduating at a particularly challenging time, but what I want to assure them is that as journalists, public relations practitioners and advertisers. All they need to do is to be creative and innovative. It may be a challenging time but with doggedness in this field I believe that they will make their own way.”
“Democracy cannot survive without communication. We can’t survive. Another name for democracy is Free Press, the at must be free and for you to have the respect, the honour, integrity as a practitioner, you must learn to upgrade your knowledge. You must read very wide, you must read every day. There is no rest.”
Honorary plaques were also awarded to outstanding graduands in different specialties within the programme curriculum.
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