Nigerians have been challenged to tell stories of the country’s resurgence as the Boko Haram insurgency grinds to a gradual end.
Deputy Editor of the Opinions section of The Washington Post, Karen Attiah made the call Tuesday while speaking at the Distinguished Journalists Lecture Series at the Library Auditorium of American University of Nigeria.
Speaking on the topic ‘Nigeria after Boko Haram’, Attiah stressed that in the absence of strong Nigerian voices, the foreign media will continue to tell the country’s past stories of corruption, insurgency and underdevelopment even after the country’s nascent democratic gains.
“If you do not tell your story, others will tell it for you. So you have to start telling your stories through words, pictures, and the social media,” she said.
Attiah said Nigeria’s success is pivotal to the stability of Africa and noted that combating Boko Haram goes beyond military success. She emphasised that Nigeria cannot be said to have conquered Boko Haram until the country goes through a social reengineering anchored on mutual trust between Christians and Muslims.
The event which was attended by large numbers of AUN students, faculty and staff as well as local and international journalists, also featured a tribute to veteran journalist Bilkisu Yusuf who passed away recently at the Hajj in Saudi Arabia.
In her interaction with a section of the media after the lecture, Attiah noted that the Nigerian media has the responsibility of holding government to account and providing credible information and analysis to Nigerians both at home and in the diaspora.
Attiah, a Ghanaian-American, has previously reported for Associated Press and contributed to Freedom House as an Africa analyst for their annual Freedom of the Press reports. The former Fulbright scholar holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies from Northwestern University in Illinois and a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, SIPA, with a concentration in Human Rights and a specialization in International Media, Advocacy and Communications.
During her visit to AUN, Attiah also delivered a guest lecture on Principles of Journalism in the Communications and Multimedia Design Program.
The Washington Post, founded in 1877 is one of the most authoritative broadsheets in the US, and has won 47 Pulitzer prizes. The newspaper’s journalists have received 18 Nieman Fellowships and 368 White House News Photographers Association Awards. The newspaper is globally renowned for the quality of its investigative journalism. It would be recalled that reporters at The Washington Postinvestigated and uncovered the infamous Watergate scandal, leading to the resignation of US President Richard Nixon.
By Zamiyat Abubakar, Ikechukwu Ilomuanya, Wadi Ishaku, Fawaz Garba, Maryam Sadiq, and Grace John