Journalists in Rivers State were trained on a strategy to actively participate in and benefit from the economic development they report on. This strategy was unveiled during the Correspondents Week Dinner/Award Night held on December 15, 2023, in the presence of dignitaries including Governor Sim Fubara, represented by Commissioner of Information and Communications, Joe Johnson.
The innovative approach, highlighted by My-ACE China, CEO of Construction & Housing Mayor Limited and popularly known as the “Mayor of Housing,” focuses on leveraging information transfer to create wealth and value in the property sector. “Unlocking the ideas that unlock money,” he explained, “is about becoming more than observers in the economic narrative. It’s about being participants, stakeholders.”
The Mayor of Housing emphasized the unique position of journalists in Rivers State, stating, “Nobody knows Rivers State better than you do. It’s high time you moved from observers to participants, and become stakeholders in projects and programs that turn around the economy of your area.”
Citing the transformation of Lagos and the role of information in such massive developments, China encouraged the journalists to apply their knowledge strategically. “Even a well-researched documentary on Rivers State’s economic potentials can attract global investors,” he added, illustrating the power of media in economic development.
The event also heard from Emi Membere-Otaji, the 2nd deputy national president of the Nigerian Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture (NACCIMA), who called for stronger public-private sector partnerships to boost Rivers State’s economy. Membere-Otaji emphasized the need for strategic development and support for SMEs, similar to successful models in Lagos and Ogun States.
Bariname B. Fakae, former vice chancellor of the Rivers State University and chairman of the Correspondents Week activities, praised the journalists for their commitment to ethical reporting and urged them to continue being a force for positive change.
The week-long event, organized by the Correspondents Chapel of the Rivers State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), included various activities aimed at fostering a better understanding of the state’s economic potential and the role of media in highlighting and shaping it.
This new strategy, as outlined by the Mayor of Housing, marks a significant shift in the role of journalists in Rivers State, from mere reporters of events to active participants and beneficiaries in the economic growth and development of their region.