President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday urged journalists to join the fight against corruption.
He said they should work towards strengthening the media because of its critical role in democracy.
The President spoke at the presentation of the book: 50 World Editors: Conversations with Journalism Masters on Trends and Best Practices, by Mike Awoyinfa and the late Dimgba Igwe.
Buhari, who was represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Mrs. Oluseyi Abiodun, described the authors as “global models in journalism.”
He praised the authors on the book, adding that Igwe’s tragic death was a huge loss.
The authors started writing the book before Igwe was killed by a hit-and-run driver on September 6, 2014, near his Okota, Lagos, home.
The President urged journalists to live by what the late Igwe stood for.
“Igwe belonged to everybody, but belonged to nobody, because of his ability to call a spade a spade.
“It is sad that he is no longer with us. He died as a true hero and a powerful columnist, who could not condone corruption, injustice and unrighteousness,”, he said.
The President said the book launch was a fitting way to remember the late Igwe.
“Today ought to have been a good one, where a renowned writer would have seen his dream come true, but all we have now are memories, the memories of a man that was cut short trying to keep fit and live long,” he said.
He recalled the circumstances that led to Igwe’s death, saying: ”It is so sad that for over three hours, he was being moved from one hospital to the other until he bled to death. This is not acceptable in the new Nigeria.”
He praised the authors’ effort and patience in making the book a reality, saying: “It is indeed a labour of love for journalism.”
Buhari said the book, which took 10 years to produce, would be useful not only to journalists, but to politicians, administrators, among others, as it teaches practical journalism from experienced editors of famous media outfits across the globe.
The President said he was pleased that five Nigerian editors were featured in the book.
He described the book as a “story of a Nigerian dream’’, adding that the duo had mentored editors, publishers and managers in the media industry.
According to him, the book was an epic writing that teaches journalism from the practical experiences of editors.
He praised the authors for travelling globally to get notable journalists with wide experiences and knowledge, “which showed the book as a labour of love for journalism’’.
The President said Igwe’s wife should be consoled that her husband died as a true hero and columnist, who could not suffer any act of corruption and injustice.
“Igwe’s death is a parable for Nigeria, a country where security and impunity have become the norm such that somebody will commit a crime and believe that he will not be caught.
“Tell the criminals that the long arm of the law will catchup with them soon. Even if you escape the judgement of man, you will not escape the judgement of God.’’
He congratulated the authors for creating their own school of journalism, urging Nigerians to emulate how they related, in spite of coming from different ethnic groups.
Buhari also advised other journalists to write books that would inspire people and add value to the growth of the nation.
Former Ogun State Governor Aremu Olusegun Osoba, who chaired the event, urged kidnappers of the wife of The Sun Deputy Managing Director Steve Nwosu, to free her.
In an emotion-laden speech, he expressed concern about the kidnap of Mrs Toyin Nwosu, saying her abuductors should free her unharmed.
Osoba also spoke about a programme aired on Aljazera that Nigerian journalists were beggars.
He said: “It is unfortunate that publishers find it difficult to pay their young employees.”
The former governor called on a collective effort to redeem the image of the media at the international level.
Awoyinfa recounted their experience at The Concord, saying they were “masters in the act of casting headlines” and that their stories were as if they were “straight from the bible.”
Awoyinfa read a long letter to his late friend, Igwe, saying not even time could heal the wound received as a result of his death.
He said that the book was written because of the hunger, passion and love for the profession, expressing the hope that people could use it to gain knowledge.
Awoyinfa said he would continue to launch a book every year in memory of Igwe.
Scholar and essayist Prof. Adebayo Williams said the book should be a tribute to journalists, who were killed.
The book’s reviewer, Mr. Eric Osagie, said the book shows that “journalism cannot simply be defined as history in a hurry.”
He said the 682-page book talks about the passion and travails of international and local journalists.