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HISTORY AND NEWSPAPER (JOURNALIST) REPORT

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As a graduate of history who happens to have worked in media firm, this has given me the opportunity to compare history and journalist reports. This is what this piece tries to shed light into.
The Journalist do look at the immediate past as possible while historian does not believe in rushing to write about the immediate past. The way in which journalists often go about their work is fundamentally different adopting different methods in going about their work and this in-turn has influenced the end product of journalists.
Journalists are time bound in the sense that he/she has to produce his work within a limited time and in order to ensure this, he is given a time limit in which he must conclude his work (report) meaning that the collection of data, writing of report, and submission of report all has to be done within a given time. This does not give the journalist the time to carefully examine what he has written to cross check his work.
The main motive of newspapers is to make money (commercial venture) even though journalists will assert that they are saddled with the responsibility of disseminating information but this information is not for free (we have to pay for it). Because we have to pay for it, every journalist is competing with other journalists to write about an event to be the first to write hence he who reports first will determine the paper that would be bought and vice versa. This is often a factor influencing what the journalist write meaning that if a journalist failed to write his report on an event on time and some other journalist wrote on such event before him will mean that some paper will sell better than other papers.
The first thing to note is that we have different types of ownership and often the ownership of a newspaper determine the content of the paper. In other words, one should not expect a newspaper owned by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart to carry a favorable report on APC or any other political party even though they know that such report is correct. Even when the journalist is not making up a story and reporting a story, such report will still reflect the ownership of the newspaper. For instance, if we were opportuned to watch a football match and asked to write about the match. Each account pertaining to the match will contain some specific detail which of course might be correct but which might be included or not included by other people because of the interest of each reporter. May be the way a player dribbled to score a goal. Even though what is being reported might be correct, the way it is reported and the emphasis that were introduced into the story will depend on individual interest with the fact that those who are interested in some aspect will lay emphasis on that aspect whereas those who are not interested in such aspect will not write about them at all saying they are not important.
Some newspapers are owned by state governments like Herald in Kwara state while some others were owned by individuals like the Pilot owned by Senator Bukola Saraki.
Another thing to note is the attitude of historian to current events as historians don’t usually write about an event immediately because if an individual is to write about an event in which he/she is part of, there is always a tendency for such person to take sides on such event hence to write about an event there is no way in which you can detach yourself from this event when you are writing because you will always take sides and see the event from your own perspective. The desire of a historian is to detach himself as much as possible from the event (a historian should be able to write as objective as possible about an event). Already people should be reading from an objective perspective and not from your own perspective. Historians believed that one can’t be objective when the event you are writing about affects you directly or indirectly hence historians usually do not rush to write.
The second reason why a historian don’t normally rush to write about an event boils down to the fact that historians believed that an event which has just taken place can be difficult to get objective material pertaining to such event because the event are still unfolding hence all information needed about this event might not be readily available therefore historians often wait until such a time when information about the event become available and when they are available, they can’t be tampered with.
There are certain information that are referred to as Classified information which are information that is yet to be released to the public especially very sensitive information that may cause some damage if released immediately. In fact, in Europe and America, no classified government documents are allowed to be released until after 30 years. That is why every New Year in Britain and America, you will see new documents released and made available to the public and such sensitive materials have a way of influencing what we thought we knew before. Information provided by classified document do not come out immediately to the extent that when Journalists rush to write, historians believed that there are a lot of information that is not available in drawing conclusion from journalistic perspective.
Asides this, people that Journalists rush to interview have interest on the matter/event such that they are likely to give all information. This is why historians are always critical about newspaper reports and information.
Conclusively, historians believe that as doubtful as information from Journalists are, they are still useful because they contain truth. In other words, historians don’t dismiss Newspaper reports especially when it tends to look at events from wider perspective vis a vis community, state to national perspective.

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PROVERBS AND AFRICA PRE-LITERATE TRADITIONAL SOCIETY

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Proverbs are always short statements or impression which has to be decoded in order to ascertain its meaning which are of societal values. Every society has its own standards, values and these values distinguishes one society from the other. That is why in some community certain things are allowed while such thing might not be allowed in another clime. There are certain things which an individual can do in a certain community and get away with it but such thing can’t be done in another community without punishment.
There is often a continuous relationship between the dead and the living in traditional society in such a way that even though the ancestors had gone, they still continue to influence the activities of the living. Among traditional religion, there is often ancestral worship in which there is that constant reference to the dead.
In African Traditional society, an individual can’t do things the way he likes but follow the policy of the society. Another thing to note about African Traditional Society is the fact that there is togetherness among the people making them relate in unity which is a very significant difference between African and Western society.
It was the duty of any adult to correct the young ones in African traditional society when they tend to behave in a bad manner/ways but presently, Western influence had bastardised the behaviours of contemporary youths as elders (adults) finds it difficult to correct them when they misbehave.
Advancement in technology, globalization, civilization as well as internet cum broadband penetration has transformed value system in contemporary African society. These has brought credibility of individuals into question as moral decadence, crime, insurgency, kidnapping and rape incidence are the order of the day in our present society. Herein lies the need to inculcate African Traditional societal values into our civilised ways of life to make Africa a great continent.

CHRONICLERS AS AGENT OF AFRICAN ORAL TRADITION

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Chroniclers are historians saddled with the responsibility of recording achievements of kings. During important occasions, these chroniclers were given the opportunity to narrate those important events that had taken place during the reign of a king. They also say some things about the achievements of fore-runners especially people from the same line.
It is the duty of the chroniclers to have in their memory the achievements of the past and incumbent king. This has helped us to know more about kinship. For example in the Oyo empire, they have the Bere Festival which was an annual event commemorating the achievements of the reigning king and during such an occasion, the chronicler was given the opportunity to narrate the major highlights of the achievements of the king.
These chroniclers are so perfect that they have retentive memory of the achievements of various that had reigned. Even though they did not have writing, pre-literate society had devised this means whereby it is possible to know what had taken place during the reign of kings.
Information given by the chroniclers was accurate to the extent that it was almost an abomination for a chronicler to forget any achievement of a past or present king. Even though what the chroniclers recited was seen as an entertainment, they dared not forget to mention any of the kings that had reigned in the community and they report them one by one.
In fact, Chroniclers were often rewarded for this as the king and the people will come out and give him money. The chroniclers are not expected to mention the failures of a king and even when this failure is mentioned, he have to paint it as if they were achievements but not possibly saying anything negative about the king. The information we gather from chroniclers are one sided at times, often giving the reflection of a glorified past but such information are often reliable serving the purpose of reciting (recapturing) the achievements of a king.
Conclusively, whether primitive society or not, Africa has a way of storing information about the past events in their environment meaning that Africa had been historically conscious even before the advent of the European colonialists.

British Contact with the North

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Oyedijioluwaseunbabatunde's Blog

Earlier it was noticed that the initial trading operations were endeavours by competing private companies. It was also noticed that the British Government held aloof and frankly demonstrated its intention of taking no part in the affairs of the West African region. The trading companies naturally confined their activities to the rivers and the land easily accessible from them. They were not concerned with what happened in the interior.
As happened earlier in the South, French expansionism forced the British administration to take steps. French colonial expeditions were soon forcing their ways into the interior and the little state of Borgu which lay on the west bank of the Niger River was the first object of attention. In 1890, the British Government agreed to recognise as French territory an area to the south of the river. In order to retain its hold on the northern part, the Government found it…

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From The Archive: Speech by the Governor General of Nigeria, Sir Federick Lugard (Amalgamation Proclamation of 1914), January 1, 1914

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You are all aware that His Majesty’s Government, after long and mature consideration, arrived some time ago at the conclusion that it would be to the great advantage of the countries known as Southern and Northern Nigeria that they should be amalgamated into one Government, conforming to one policy and mutually co-operating for the moral and material advancement of Nigeria as a whole.
This policy had been strongly advocated by Sir William Macgregor as Governor of Lagos, by Sir Ralph Moore as High Commissioner of Southern Nigeria, and by myself as High Commisioner of Northern Nigeria about 10 years ago. It has continued to be advocated by Sir Walter Egerton and my successors in Northern Nigeria.
The construction of rival railways in Northern and Southern Nigeria accentuated the necessity having a single railway policy, with a single administration, and over a year ago the Secretary of State decided that the time had come to give effect to the scheme of constituting a single Government for Nigeria.
Mr. Harcourt was pleased to select me and to carry out this difficult task, he appointed me in the first instance as Governor separately of the two distinct Governments of Northern and Southern Nigeria, with a view of informing myself of Local conditions and submitting to him my proposals for Amalgamation.
I had the homour to submit those proposals for his consideration on May 9th last year (1913). They were accepted in all essentials, and today they are to take effect. I desire therefore as briefly as possible to describe to you, and through you to the official and unofficial community of Nigeria the basis on which this Amalgamation is to be carried out, and the principal changes which will result.
The Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria will be placed under the control of a single officer upon which the control of a single officer upon whom His Majesty has been pleased to confer the title of Governor-General, thus indicating the importance of this country among the Crown Colonies and Protectorates of the Empire. That portion which has hitherto been Northern Nigeria will be known in future as the Northern Provinces, while the Protectorate of Southern Nigeria will be known as the Southern Provinces of Nigeria; each will be under the immediate control of a Lieutenant-General responsible to the Governor-General. The colony in view of its of its separate status and traditions will preserve a separate identity, under an Administrator of its own, dealing directly with the Governor-General. For the present, the Central Headquarters will remain at Lagos, and the Governor-General will divide his time between the Headquarter Stations of the Northern and Southern Provinces.
His majesty, through the Secretary of State, has been pleased to confer on me the High honour of appointment as Governor-General, and I humbly hope that I may be enabled to discharge the functions of this office, the great responsibilities of which I deeply appreciate, in such a manner as to deserve His Majesty’s approval, and to the satisfaction and contentment of His Majesty’s loyal subjects and of all the people of Nigeria. To succeed in such a task would be impossible unless I have the goodwill and co-operation of all classes, Official and Unofficial, irrespective of race or creed, and I take this opportunity to earnestly ask for that co-operation and loyal assistance, assuring you at the same time that, so far as in me lies, I shall not spare myself nor find any work too hard or arduous, if i can therby advance the true interests of this country and of each individual person in it, whatever his race or creed, or however humble his rank.
For the high and responsible posts of Lieutenant-Governors of the Southern and Northern Provinces His Majesty has selected Mr. A.G. Boyle, C.M.G. an Mr. C.L. Temple, C.M.G. officers in whose loyalty and ability he has the highest confidence, and in whose hand the welfare of the Protectorate is assure. As Administrator of the Colony the Secretary of State has selected Mr. F.S. James, whose long experience in the South marks him out as the most fitting officer for the post. I may be permitted to offer to these officers my congratulations, and to express my deep satisfaction that I am privileged to work with them as my colleagues.

To Be Continued

Culled from Guardian Newspaper, Nigeria