Alhaji Mohammed Idris - Hon. Minister of Information and National Orientation
Alhaji Mohammed Idris - Hon. Minister of Information and National Orientation


Distinguished Guests,

Let me specially welcome you all to this event to mark the launch of the book, ‘Writing for Media and Monetizing It’, written by Azu Ishiekwene, writer, editor, administrator, publisher, a mentor and role model to many, and the current Senior Vice Chairman and Editor-In-Chief of the very respected LEADERSHIP Media Group.

It is my pleasure to be here today as Chairman of this occasion, and I would like to thank Azu and his publishers, Premium Times Books, for the honour. I will start by highlighting two significant things Azu has accomplished, with regards to this book.

First is the very act of writing the book; of taking the time to pen something that is destined to become an industry classic. A very valuable book that, as I have previously noted, seeks to close the critical gap between practice and entrepreneurship in the media industry. Also, a book that will benefit a very wide range of readers, young and old, freelance or fulltime.

The second significant thing Azu has done is in assembling, for the launch of the book, this very stellar gathering of Nigerian Media’s Who-is-Who: veterans, publishers, media entrepreneurs, editors, academics, as well as the next generation.

Azu has earned himself a reputation as a man of many parts in our industry. He has led large media organisations, has been active in industry bodies, at home and abroad, has been a founder, judged prestigious media competitions, and taught and trained generations of young practitioners.
Amidst all of these, one fact cannot be missed: that at his very core, Azu sees himself as a writer; a man whose primary calling and first love is putting pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, and shaping public discourse in the most insightful and illuminating of ways.

One gets the sense of a veteran who is happiest when faced with a blank page, waiting to be filled with words. He has done this for more than three decades, and we know he’s not retiring from the art and business of penmanship anytime soon.

He has now done us the huge favour of distilling his great skill, talents and experience into 280 pages of valuable, monetizable advice. I am very glad about the enthusiastic reception that ‘Writing for Media and Monetizing It’ is getting, from a wide range of quarters. Stellar reviews and comments, from some of our most respected media practitioners.

Equally impressive is the marketing for this book. Azu is walking the talk by rolling out a very compelling marketing campaign that is taking full advantage of digital and social media, and leveraging e-commerce in very interesting ways. I am aware that Azu has recently launched a new website – Azu dot media – dedicated to the book.

This website is different from his personal website – Azu Ishiekwene dot com – where you can find his columns and lectures, watch videos, and learn more about his professional life. Here is a veteran showing us how things are done in the 21st century.

Indeed, the way Azu has creatively deployed the Internet for this new book is a testament to how well he has kept up with changing times and technologies, as well as solid proof of why anyone interested in the commercial side of writing should be paying serious attention to him.
This is of course not his first book, and I’m sure there are still more to come. As we take part in this launch event, I enjoin all present here to very generously pick up copies for personal use, and as gifts to all the people we know who are interested in making a living from writing.
Let us eagerly share the rich and deep wisdom of this very accomplished and respected colleague of ours, by making sure the book gets into as many hands as possible. Nigeria’s media industry truly needs many more practitioners who are able to marry technical excellence with commercial success – and here is Azu, eager and ready to show the way!

Through your words, you have not only informed the public but have also inspired generations of journalists to uphold the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. Your work has been instrumental in fostering transparency, holding those in power accountable, and championing the rights and freedoms that are the bedrock of our democracy.

In an era where information is both a powerful tool and a potent weapon, your dedication to truth and objectivity has set an exemplary standard for the media. You have shown that journalism is not merely about reporting events but about shaping narratives that reflect the values of our society – values of justice, fairness, and equality. We are constantly reminded by your footprints that a free press is the cornerstone of a vibrant democracy.

Indeed, documenting one’s ideas on how young, up-and-coming journalists can master the craft of writing skilfully, objectively and truthfully to derive financial benefits, is novel and highly commendable. It provides another avenue of financial empowerment for the media and career enthusiasts.

This initiative represents a meaningful way for the author to give back to the media industry by offering valuable guidance and support to the next generation of journalists.

I share in the expectations ahead, that, this effort will open up broader opportunities to complement government’s current effort to invigorate and economically empower our creative and talented young citizens.

As we celebrate this milestone, it is also important to reaffirm the commitment of the Tinubu administration to a free and responsible journalism. We understand that a society can only flourish when its media organs are free to report the truth without fear of retribution and to equally hold those in authority accountable.

The President Tinubu administration is therefore, dedicated to creating an environment where journalists can work freely, without intimidation, and with the assurance that their rights will be acknowledged and protected.

However, freedom comes with responsibility. As we champion the cause of a free press, it is incumbent on the media to exercise this freedom with a sense of duty, ethics and patriotism. It is crucial that the information disseminated to the public is accurate, balanced, and devoid of sensationalism.

The role of the media in shaping public opinion and promoting national unity cannot be overstated. We must all strive to ensure that this role is played with the utmost responsibility while we work closely to advance the course of good governance in our country. Nevertheless, while Azu, the impeccable gentleman that he is, has helped us with a compass to materialise our creativity, it is also instructive that as media practitioners, we put ethics in the front row of our practice. We must be wary of fake news, misinformation and disinformation, indeed, new cankerworms that destroy individual and corporate reputation, and above all, destabilise the society.

I want to buttress my point by saying that early on in my mandate as the nation’s Minister of Information and National Orientation, I had to first enunciate a set of five guiding principles that I and my team must abide in communicating government policies, which, on top of the pyramid, is to restore public trust in publication communication. I am ever glad I did that, because, ultimately, the crux of trust is unarguably the ability to sustain the truth at all times.

In conclusion, I once again congratulate our distinguished author on this outstanding achievement and may your words continue to inspire, educate, and illuminate the path towards a better and a more prosperous society.

Thank you, and congratulations.

Mohammed Idris,
Minister of Information and National Orientation.