Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Imo Agog as 500 Bloggers, Online Media Giants Storm Owerri

| 29 March 2018 | Correspondent 

In this commentary OGBONNAYA IKOKWU a Journalist and Social Observer x-rays the importance of the 2018 convention of the "ONLINE MEDIA PRACTITIONERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA" in Owerri the Imo State Capital. 

On the 30th – 31st of March, 2018, Over 500 Bloggers and Online Media practitioners across Nigeria will converge in Owerri, the Imo State Capital for the first National convention of the "Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria" (OMPAN).   

The convention christened OMPAN-Owerri 2018 will serve as the first gathering of young Nigerians who through a dint of hard work are determined to make a living using instruments as small as the cell phone to share news across the cyber space.

It is worthy of note that the Government and private sectors can nolonger provide employment for the teeming young graduates being churned out from various public and private Universities in the Country.

The media had been awash with stories of Nigerian graduates who were arrested for various criminal activities, ranging from armed robbery, drug abuse, child trafficking, kidnapping to cyber crimes.

More often than not in their confessional statements many of these young Nigerians had revealed that they took up arms in order to survive, in the absence of white collar jobs after leaving the Ivory tower.

It must equally be stated that Nigerian youths are not all criminally minded. Our News space is also inundated with stories of many young men and women who had dropped their secret crowns (certificates) in order to make a living through useful ventures, including such ventures regarded as menial for the educated ones to engage in. 

The recent call for entrepreneur education in the Country at all level of learning goes a long way to show that formal education is no longer a passport to a well paid office job, thus our youths must take advantage of their environment to create jobs for themselves. 

The media via Journalism in recent times has become one of sectors of our economy that is giving a large number of employments to Nigerian youths both in the traditional print and electronic medium and social/new media.

With the advent of online news media giants such as the Yahoo, Gmail, Facebook, whatsapp and the  Google machine, many dynamic young Nigerians have taken the bull by its horn through creating and running their various online News and social media sites.  

The social media is fast gaining acceptance among Nigerians, together with its attendant social challenges as its target audience "the youths" had at one occasion or the other fallen victim of information received via social media.

Our National Assembly is also feeling the headache generated through the Social media. As a result the law makers are battling to make laws to censor social media posts.  

There are many on-going cases in many Courts in Nigeria today filled by citizens who felt that their rights were breached by one or two online news publishers.

Therefore it is pertinent that the online news writers and publishers cannot be left unguided, if the culture of mutual respect and cultural tolerance must be sustained in Nigeria.

It is based on the above premise that some concerned Bloggers and online Media practitioners came together to form the ''Online Media Practitioners Association of Nigeria" (OMPAN).

OMPAN as a body is legally registered with Government. Their responsibilities includes but not limited to providing a platform for Bloggers to meet and chat a course on how to move Nigeria forward through their choosing career. 

OMPAN also intends to provide guide lines that will govern those passing information across the Cyber space in Nigeria in order to encourage professional adherence in line with established Journalism ethics.

 OMPAN-Owerri 2018 will serve as a first meeting point for many Bloggers who are determined to build the future of Nigeria, rather than destroy it because of personal gains.

The National leadership of OMPAN led by Mr. James Anyalekwa Emeh  is therefore making a clarion call to all Blogger and Online Media Practitioners to come and " lets reason together and if anyone sin is as black as scarlet, it will become as white as snow".

  The convention which takes place at the main hall of the Imo Youth Centre, Owerri, will be hosted by no less a person than the Imo State Governor Anayo Rochas Okorocha  (Owelle Ndi Igbo).

Mr. Laurata Onochie Senior Assistant to President Mohammadu Buhari will deliver a Keynote Address from the Presidency. Other Key Note Speakers at the event are Chief ACB Agbazuere, PhD, former commissioner for Information in Abia State and Prince Oduneze O. Odunze Special Assistant to Governor Rochas Okoroocha.      

Participants in the Convention will also be taken on training sessions by seasoned online media Practitioners in the Country including Mr. Peter Jones Ailuorio, the publisher News Sentinel Online Lagos, Rt. Hon. Shuaibu Sani Coordinator, Nasarawa Pilot Online.   

 The gains of OMPAN-Owerri 2018 cannot be over emphasized.

It is a fact that news sent across the cyber space do not go through the gate keeping process of the traditional media.

As a result the blogger should be properly educated on the need to abide by ethical conducts in news writing if he/she must succeed in the business.

Again ignorance is said not to be an excuse in the Law. Therefore online media practitioners must arm themselves with the knowledge of the rules that guides decency, balance and factual reporting.

As the saying goes "United we stand and divided we fall'' suffice it to say that individual Bloggers cannot afford to stand alone if they must make progress, it will be beneficial that Bloggers should come together to understand the
 mission and vision of OMPAN in order to form a common front for their progress in Nigeria.