Speaker Series: How We Help Build a Nation, By Maureen Chigbo


Welcome speech by Maureen Chigbo, Editor / Writer, Realnews Magazine and Publications Limited, at the magazine’s ninth anniversary conference, held on Thursday,
November 18, 2021, Sheraton Hotel, Lagos

•Maureen Chigbo reading her welcome speech

Excellencies, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, and members of my constituency, the media, allow me to stick to existing protocol to express my joy in welcoming you all to the Realnews Magazine Online ninth anniversary conference. We appreciate your sacrifice and support, especially in this precarious time as the world is recovering from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are delighted that our guest speaker, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Content Oversight and Development Council is here with us. He doesn’t need a lot of introduction, as his reputation and exemplary speech precede him. We are grateful to the Executive Secretary for taking the time, despite his very busy schedule, to honor our invitation.

We are also delighted that Mr. Oti Ikomi, Founder and CEO of Proton Energy Ltd and President of today’s event, and other distinguished guests are here. We are very grateful, our president.

Our basket of thanks also goes to Elder Urum Kalu Eke and my big brother Mr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor for supporting our efforts to get Mr. Ikomi to get here.

We welcome Her Excellency, Ms. Samata Gifty Bukari, Consul General, Consulate General of Ghana, Lagos, and Ms. Eyono Fatayi-Williams, Director General, External Relations and Sustainable Development, Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas, NLNG.

My special thanks go to His Excellency, Mr. James K. Nyasembi, former Consul General of the High Commission of Ghana in Lagos, and now Ambassador of Ghana in Prague, for his efforts to ensure that Ms. Bukari is here today to this conference, and Ms. Sophia Horsfall, Head of Media Relations, Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas also for drawing my attention to Ms. Fatayi-Williams as one of our speakers at today’s conference at the Nigeria Oil and Gas Conference in July in Abuja, when we discussed the speakers for the conference. We are very grateful. Our warm welcome also goes to the managers of Proton Energy Ltd; the Nigerian Content and Development Oversight Council, NLNG and Ghana Lagos Mission, who accompanied our chairman, guest speaker, our speakers at this conference.

The Anniversary Lecture Series is a way for Realnews to contribute to nation building and development by providing a forum for policy change focused discussions by professionals, academics, technocrats and policymakers on the way forward. for our great nation and Africa in general. In 2014, we focused on the elections; in 2015, the theme was on the economy, in 2016 the discussion focused on security; 2017 was on the challenges of Leadership in Africa; in 2018, we focused on Africa’s political and economic transitions; In 2019, the focus was on West Africa’s economic narrative beyond politics with the sub-theme: The End of Oil: Where is the Nigerian Economy Going. Last year we focused on “Managing the Global COVID-19 Pandemic in Africa: The Nigerian Experience”.

Our choice of the 2021 topic: “Nigeria in the unfolding of African market integration: the oil and gas perspective” is informed by the need to intensify and broaden the conversation on the Free Trade Agreement. African Continental (AfCFTA) and the economic challenges facing our with Nigeria as a regional economic power. It arose out of the realization that Nigeria’s economy today is heavily dependent on oil. As we think about weaning the country off this dependence and focus on gas (especially with the declaration of the Nigerian Gas Decade by the federal government), we believe that the conference speakers can provide a guide for achieve this goal, especially as more and more oil and gas are being discovered in African countries at a time when the integration of the African market through the African Continental Free Trade Agreement ( AfCFTA) has started and the focus is on sustainable renewable energy resources.

The conference is also an opportunity to discuss Africa’s economic development, particularly in the context of the ongoing debate on the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCFTA, the implementation of which began in January 2021, amid the controversy over the adoption of a regional currency by the Economic Community. West African states, ECOWAS, and how this will affect the exploitation of oil and gas resources in Nigeria and the continent in general.

We have a carefully selected panel of participants with relevant expertise, knowledge and experience to shed light on the subject.
I would like to call on my fellow journalists to ensure that the message by today is heard in Africa and beyond. Of course, at Realnews we will make sure to do our part by giving the widest possible publicity to this important conference and the discussions. Realnews has a team of seasoned journalists who firmly believe in the principles and ethics of the profession. We are convinced that journalism as the kingdom’s fourth estate can help build a free, just and equitable society where basic human rights are respected and where citizens enjoy the freedom to pursue their interests without hindrance or hindrance. . Our motto at Realnews is: “For God and Humanity”.

Over the past nine years, we have remained true to our vision and mission statements. We have investigated and published exclusive stories that cover all areas of our focus including Politics, Oil & Gas, Business & Economy, Women, Youth & Environment, and more. We can proudly say that we have done and continue to do our job with the highest sense of responsibility.
However, the modest success we have seen at Realnews has come with its fair share of challenges, especially in creating creative ways to support our publication in a tough economic environment with declining advertising prospects.

Therefore, we would like to invite everyone here, especially those who are not already on our mailing list, to visit our website and subscribe to our email newsletter to take advantage of investigative reports on issues of topical development rendered with a professional style.
Realnews Magazine is free but without your support, whether from the public or private sector, and from civil society, it will not survive! Support may take the form of an advertisement, a special supplement and special articles about your business / organization for publication on our website. We also welcome donations and capacity building programs from our staff to better serve our clients.

Realnews also specializes in media consulting; writing books and biographies, and corporate image surveys. Over the years, the books we have published include Federal Commission for Road Safety in the eyes of the media Volume 1 – 4; Pathways of political and economic development in Africa, and Paragon of Journalism Volumes 1 and 2. We are working on several manuscripts and need sponsors for their publication. These are some of the ways we are fundraising for our free online publication, with investigative journalism as our first love.
In addition, we also welcome whistleblowers to the world of Realnews magazine. Rest assured that all information provided will be treated with the utmost sense of responsibility and confidentiality.

Realnews Magazine is all about investigative, robust and excellent journalism. We are your development partners, and together we will build a strong and virile society where everyone will be free and happy to live and invest.

Before concluding, allow me to appreciate and welcome the members of the Realnews Hall of Fame here present, Dr Ngozi Anyaegbunam, President, Media World, Ms Comfort Coleman, CEO, NEGECO Resources Limited and Sir Elvis Emecheta, CEO, Selsa / Elvis Group, and Mr. Paul Ejime, international communications consultant. The Realnews Hall of Fame is our modest way of honoring the speakers and speakers at our anniversary conferences for their contributions to knowledge and national development. We also honor Realnews ambassadors.

May I also ask for your indulgence in thanking the Realnews team members chaperoned by Mr. Goddy Ikeh for their commitment, hard work and sacrifice; Mr. Paul Ejime for his editorial advice, and Mr. Adama Gaye, CEO of NewForce Africa, Senegal, Ms. Comfort Coleman, CEO, Nekego Resources and Sir Eze Emecheta, CEO, Elvis Group, for their encouragement and advice.

I cannot end this speech without thanking the government institutions and businesses who made this year’s Realnews anniversary conference possible with their support and publicity. These are the Office of the Secretary of the Federation Government, OSGF, Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, Nigeria Communications Commission, NCC, Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria, SPDC, Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, ECOBANK and Bolton White. Hotels, Abuja. We are very grateful to you.
I also welcome those who participate in this conference via zoom and those who follow the debates on the live broadcast of the event on Facebook and YouTube from different countries. We all appreciate you.
Thank you for your attention and welcome everyone!
God bless Realnews! God bless Nigeria, God bless Africa.


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