Seek knowledge, Seminitari urges Journalists

Ibim Seminitari

By Dayo Emmanuel

Former River State Commissioner for Information and the immediate past Acting Director General of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Mrs. Ibim Seminitari has urged journalists to take mentoring opportunities seriously.

She made the plea at the March fellowship of Journalists For Christ (JFC) in Lagos last weekend while delivering a talk on the theme, “Be bold for change,” designed to mark the global day for women.

Seminitari, a pioneer member of JFC commended leadership of the 19-year-old organisation for holding the forte.

She said, “One of the things I am pleased about is that JFC has lasted this long. People always wonder if there are Christians in the media. It started like a dream. It is a product of a vision to give alternative godly voice to issues. It is heartening that the vision has been sustained.”

She noted that there “is need for journalists to be bold to make the needed change possible in the larger society.”

Seminitari, the first Nigerian female winner of the prestigious CNN/Multichoice African Journalist of the year award, said “When some of us started in the media, we found that journalists were cigar smoking, beer drinking lots. People felt that was how to be a strong editor. You stay on the brandy, the cigar so you belong, that was the then mentality.”

She however noted that there are more essential things than what you eat or drink. “It starts from having the right value, knowing that righteousness is doing the right thing, when you don’t drink beer but you plagiarize stories you are a thief,” she said adding, “When you refuse to do your work, when you are lazy and slothful in business, even when you don’t smoke, you are useless. Your faith should be revealed by our work.”

Charging participants further, the award winning journalist and publisher of Business Eye magazine said, “As an editor I didn’t really care if you are born again spirit filled tongue talking, if you didn’t deliver my story I get crossed with you. But if on the other hand you are born again spirit filled, and you meet your deadline and did good reporting I am happy because I know greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world.

“Show me a man that is diligent in his business he will stand before kings he will not stand before mean men. When you are not diligent in your business as a reporter and you are slothful, you are a bad news to the kingdom of God and worse news for your editor,” she stated.

Advising journalists to be sure of what God wants them to do, Seminitari recalled how she started out. “When I was a reporter I was so clear in my mind what I wanted to do. I had a choice to work as a public relations person but I knew that was not what God was calling me to do. If you are in this profession and God didn’t call you into it there is no point staying because you’ll get frustrated. I knew what God wanted me to do. Being bold for change is knowing what you want to do because if you don’t know what you want to do you will not be bold to do it.”

She said further that “the foundation of being bold for change is having a clear understanding of purpose, and taking prayer seriously.

“It is important that we pray through because there would be obstacles on the way. If you are not sure that is what God wants you to do you are going to fall by the way side, so I was very certain I was going to be a journalist and it was clear to me I have to do it right.”

According to her, “being bold rules out short cuts. It also entails making oneself available for mentoring. Being bold means you should not take short cuts to where you want to go. It means that you make yourself available for mentoring. I see that a lot of our younger colleagues don’t want to make themselves available for mentoring they believe they know everything.

“There is the need for mentoring because your boldness comes from knowledge. You can’t be bold if you don’t have knowledge.”

She also stressed the importance of documentation. “Many people have clear vision of what they want to do but these things must be written down. The Bible says write the vision, make it clear so that he who reads it would run with it. You need clarity of thought and purpose because you can’t be bold if your vision is not clear,” she concluded.