For the Record
By Armstrong Matiu Adejo:
Things are beginning to happen remarkably in Nigeria. The younger generation is taking the drive to innovation and creation of knowledge economy very seriously with the attendant result of breakthroughs. When people often complain of lack of funds or paucity of resources, I begin to wonder if they ever gave a thought on the countervailing question of lack of ideas as the driver. It is difficult to sign into God’s wisdom and prosperity in the barren land of ideas. Interestingly, that is beginning to alter and the changes are also increasingly manifesting in the type of projects and the nature of the driving spirit behind them.
The emergence of the Daily Asset is one of those fructifying ideas that I am joyously referring to. In the milieu of media complexities, the appearance of the Daily Asset must have been conceived with courage and gusto. Even the title Asset is an asset itself. It exudes the quality of a treasure; something synonymous with riches, values to be cherished, to be held dear, to radiate esteem and to be prized. An asset is something very special, important enough for safe places and safe keeping.
In the world of today a great number of us have torches lit before us but some decided to keep theirs under the table rather than on top of the table! Under the table, that light has a limited capacity to reduce the azimuth of darkness but on top of the table the stretch and territory of darkness is invaded and drastically reduced. I imagine the conceptualization of the Daily Asset by the drivers behind it. Their concern is that their candle light cannot be reduced by allowing others lit from it. The multiplication of that single light by several candles allows for a brighter community and an illuminated public space.
I think it is that spirit of brightness that informed the mission and vision of the Daily Asset as a Newspaper within the federation and the global setting. Daily Asset boldly asserts, among others, its vision, to strategically contribute its quota in the nation’s match towards effective and progressive nationhood; to contribute to the transformation of the potentials of the nation’s economy into real benefit for the people and to be a national newspaper, providing quality information to the people in the time-honoured tradition of truth, responsibility, objectivity, fairness and decorum.
And the mission statement can be interpreted to mean patriotism as a guide to promoting, defending and supporting the unity and indivisibility of Nigeria through constructive engagement of government and public institutions to confront corruption, greed, deceit, misappropriation, nepotism with the fear of God.
The paper is thus arriving at an ‘auspicious time in the nation’s history’ when fairness and justice are required as concrete signposts for progress. It is also coming on the heels of very critical debate on the structure of the nation, on spirituality and spiritualism and atmosphere of occasional patches of darkness regarding mistrust, selfishness, ungratefulness, thanklessness and half-truths that are being dressed as truths. This is why I earlier noted that the courage which informed the idea of the Daily Asset and its ultimate transformation to the physical must be celebrated. From left to right, north to south, east to west a barrage of statements are not only being raised about the corporate basis of the Nigerian nation/existence but even about the bounden duty of mediators/intercessors between men and God. A great many people would like to refer to the age of reformation, the re-awakenings in Europe and America and the ultimate ‘theses’ which set those re-awakenings afoot. Many even wonder aloud now whether we are not just a generation that has carried the Bible and Koran more than others but unfortunately less prone to “opening it”. This is because, the opening is not about literary turning the pages but about the conviction we receive from the contents of those pages. Many also wonder aloud that ‘no generation is (as) materially driven like ours and we expect the land to obey us’; that Nigeria, spiritually is likened to a country where so many shoe factories are existing in every street corner but very, very few wear those shoes.
This is the atmosphere in which the Daily Asset is propping its head but we are confident that it will stay afloat because the drivers vowed to pursue the enterprise within the time-honoured tradition of truth, responsibility, fairness and decorum. That definitely will not be easy but with determination all forms of temptations on the road will be assailed. My confidence in the credible sustenance of this venture is also buoyed on the quality of character of the person behind the Daily Asset. That is Dr. Cletus Terhemba Akwaya who is a November person. Remember that November is a very significant month in history because of monumental changes associated with that month since 1918.
Born on November 24,1967 in Vandeikya in Benue State, Cletus Akwaya steadily grew in statute and integrity. At very tender age when his peers were busy chasing rats or picking wild fruits his parents opened up his future with educational development. Between 1974 and 2010 he had accumulated a ray of certificates which fortified his drive to be reasonably successful. The courses he read along the way were also causes that consistently remember the roots of progress and decay.
He read History, the mother of all courses and the sanctifier of those that respect it. I know that over the last few decades something went wrong with our country in the design of subjects and disciplines that our children should read. Many parents would say ‘why bother with history and its subject matter of the past’, what has history to offer in progressive world? Why commit resources to a subject and its practitioners who are irrelevant in the era of technocratic rationality? Everyone seem to know what history is all about but it is obviously clear from the same comments that there is a great deal of misunderstanding of what history is all about. That level of ignorance and neglect of history has forced history to take its revenge on our country and rendered our development path strewn with decay, disarticulation and inconsistence. While the knowledge of History cannot confer on the historian the power to predict or foretell the future, it can however provide the most potent, useful and helpful insight because it is about ‘the way of life of societies of men, of the changes which those societies have gone through, of the ideals which have helped or hindered their development’ (A. L. Rowse, The Use of History, 1947). Remember, as it is said ‘the future is an abstraction, the present but a fleeting movement, all else is history’.
That is the wisdom Dr. Akwaya rightfully acquired early in his progressions. His is about human self-knowledge because the clue to what man can do is in what men had done. When we learn about the frustrations and triumphs of our ancestors, their own successes and failures become more understandable as we begin to comprehend our own lives in historically meaningful journey of life. The historian is less moved by momentary challenges because he sees life as a long chain of events and reactions.
That is the wisdom Dr. Akwaya clothed himself and further enriched this platform with journalism and political science. He thus equipped himself with the ticket to effectively find satisfaction in identity even in a very confused environment. In history and the related courses of journalism and political science he finds pleasure and he has the ability to see men in their various forms, from cruelty to benevolence, from decay to growth, from poverty to prosperity and from illiteracy to light – all rapped in the unfolding chain of historical developments.
If not so, how would one have explained the drive and consistency in Dr. Akwaya’s journey. He has seen power: being once a Councillor at the local government level, an Honourable Commissioner, a Special Adviser and Chairman/Member of several cabinet and ad hoc committees of the Benue State Government from 2005 to 2015. Typical peers of his would have been seen gallivanting between government offices seeking crumbs in forms of government patronage and wearing the badge of a sycophant because once in government you must remain in it as a bona fide ‘government pickin’. But Dr. Akwaya has shown difference and proved different. His research mind has the model of engagement and commitment that is exemplary. It is this fertility of mind tuned by history and the drive to continue to reduce the territory of darkness that produced the Daily Asset.
He now must remember that this project is monumental because if you invite the world you must be prepared to host it credibly. The Daily Asset has to foster the spirit of team work and show us the light and direction. When teams work together, great things happen because an organized team is a successful team. Daily Asset must encourage more innovative approaches to community peace through effective communication as a potent instrument for co-existence and secondly, collaboration which provides parties to work together constructively must be the loadstar.
On that note, I wish the Daily Asset what it wishes for itself and I know that wish is God’s divine grace, prosperity and centuries of progress.
• A Speech by Professor Armstrong Matiu Adejo, Guest Speaker on the occasion of the Public Presentation of The DAILY ASSET Newspaper in Abuja, November 24, 2017