By Yinka Fabowale
I have no doubt that we can proffer brilliant and practical ideas towards solving the highlighted problems, but, I daresay, without meaning to assume the toga of omniscience, which indisputably belongs to the Almighty alone, that none of the prescriptions can work without due spiritual recognition and commitment to our life purpose and the privilege of being in this noble profession, as the basis in moving forward. You can recommend improvement in professional training, teaching of media ethics, ask people not to take bribe or gratification all you want, but it will all be useless and ineffective, because we cannot deny being aware of all this, they are all part of what we were taught and are supposed to operate with?
The problem is that we have lost the compass, the knowledge that we are accountable, not just before the law and society, but the Almighty for our creations and writings.
We need to realize that whatever talent, gifts or abilities we have, whatever position or profession we find ourselves, we have been endowed and entrusted with by our Sovereign Maker to serve Him by contributing to the welfare of our fellow men and advancement of peace, harmony and development of our environment, which are all His creations.
This requires, that as His tools or agents, we not only aspire, but also hone our skills and abilities to be the best in our fields of competence and deploy them to benefit our fellow men and society. The quality and greatness of our works and achievements will thus reflect His own magnificence and benevolence. It is thus that we glorify and honour our Creator before the world.
As Christians and Muslims we may go to church and mosques to reverence Him solemnly and make humble supplications, but If we need to be retold, this is the only true way to worship the Almighty, in fact, how He commanded He be worshipped through Christ Jesus, Prophet Mohammed, Moses and His other Messengers – that is, through the deeds! In other words we are to spiritualise the work of our hands, making the performance of every task a reverential worship of God, in gratitude that He has given us the chance to accomplish something extraordinary among all the creatures in this vast world.
It is no coincidence that we have found ourselves in Nigeria and not in Afghanistan or Europe or even America. God has created and placed all of us here to experience and together harness our diverse nature, capabilities and endowments to build this space into an earthly Paradise, a haven of peace, beauty, bliss and harmony and progress, for the benefit of ourselves and others.
It is thus a training ground for us to develop and mature spiritually to qualify as an agent of God able to help further and ennoble His Creation and for admission into His heavenly Kingdom Paradise. Only by fashioning conditions as obtained in Paradise on earth do we get the passport and visa to the luminous realm of eternal bliss. (Remember the Lord’s Prayer?)
To achieve this, it behoves on us as media practitioners to ensure that our contributions are worthy and conform to the will of God and His divine attributes which are – Perfection, Purity, Love and Justice.
The Creator manifests these attributes to all His creatures without any partiality. He commands us to do so to our fellow men too, with the warning that we shall reap the reward or consequences in multiple, depending on the nature of our actions – good or evil. Thus, the statement: “Whatever you sow, you will reap.”
This, the automatic effect of a natural law, the Law of Reciprocal Action, ensures inexorably and without bias. Another law, the Law of Homogeneity or what we call “Birds of the same feather flock together” groups people of similar nature or who are bound by threads of fate to have same experience, so that none escapes the justice of the Almighty.
While the third law, the Law of Spiritual Gravity either uplifts those who are free of guilt to a state of Paradise and presses down disobedient ones into conditions, worse than the nether region or what we call ‘hell.’
If you look carefully at what Nigeria has become today, then you have the answer to the question what we have been forming for ourselves.
Therefore, we must begin to see ourselves not as Hausa-Fulani, Ibos, Ijaw, Yoruba, Tiv, Kanuri, but as brothers and sisters from the same spiritual origin. As media practitioners, we must shift our focus, goals and allegiance from mundane and fleeting pursuits of personal selfish motives or parochial and sectional interests solely and unconditionally to the invincible and omnipotent Almighty Creator, our Maker, who alone can protect, care and bless us.
Ladies and gentlemen, we honour today, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, a man whose ideology, while he served as governor of the State of Osun, exemplified the novelty and the revolutionary. To him we owe the renaissance of the adoption and use of the ‘Omoluwabi’ ethos, the pristine virtue that epitomizes the character, traditions and everything that makes the Yoruba race one of the great, progressive and noble civilizations in the world.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that South West, the Yoruba heartland, is a pace-setter, leader and herald of every good thing that has come to Nigeria, including media practice. Neither, I believe is what we are gathered here to do.
May we be able to revive and apply this noble heritage as we reflect on their significance and that of today’s event.
I like to thank you all for being an attentive and wonderful audience throughout this punishingly lengthy rigmarole!
Thank you indeed.
•Fabowale, a media practitioner, writes from Ibadan.