At the tenth Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series held in Lagos on Friday 13 July, in commemoration of the 84th birthday of Wole Soyinka, Africa’s first Nobel Laureate in Literature, Ibrahim Gambari, former Minister for External Affairs and erstwhile United Nations Under-Secretary General charged the Nigerian media to embark on ruthless investigative reporting in order to expose clinical facts about the various conflicts the country is experiencing.
The professor of Political Science and diplomat expressed grave concern over the use of the media to fan the flames of distrust, hate, violence and ultimately war through hate speech, fake news, and alternative facts. He urged the media to confront the divisive forces through investigative reporting.
Arguing that there is nothing wrong with diversity, whether ethnic, religious or political, Gambari said: “We are not the most diverse nation in the world. Singapore, small country has three major ethnic groups—the Malays, the Chinese and the Indians. Yet, they have managed to have this unity in their diversity based on one thing, excellence and non-discrimination.”
“You get ahead in Singapore because they put excellence as the bar and therefore they pay you, reward you for excellence and then if you are corrupt, they sack you because there is no justification. So, it is not in diversity but the misuse and exploitation of our diversity by those who are parochial and those who take interest” he added.
Gambari therefore called for strong men and strong institutions, particularly institutions such as the media that promote justice and fairness, for prevention of conflict and to end existing conflicts in the country.