Mr. Femi Adeoya is the Chief Executive Officer of Skytrend Consulting Ltd, a business development and accounting solutions firm which recently added another feather to its cap, Skytrend News, an online news publication. In this chat with Financial Vanguard, Adeoya, an accountant by profession, speaks on Skytrend’s newest initiative and how it is impacting society for good. Excerpts:
By EBELE ORAKPO
Why we started Skytrend News:
According to Adeoya, Skytrend News is another initiative from the stables of Skytrend Consulting.
“With my knowledge of the emerging market in the online world, I thought of getting Nigerians acquainted with relevant information to help them make informed decisions. I have been a social crusader passionate about good leadership in Nigeria for quite some time now and also being a member of a few civil society organisations, I felt the need to set up a medium to share socio-political and economic information with Nigerians.
It was this passion that brought about the idea of Skytrend News which is not your regular online news web site. It is unique in the context of being a web-based news site established primarily to herald the news of Nigeria to Nigerians and to be an active stakeholder in the socio-economic development of the country in particular and the world at large.
Skytrend News is not a business-focused venture, it was formed mainly to render a national service – to provide factual information to Nigerians that will help them make informed decisions as citizens in every area of our national life and as it affects the enthronement of good leadership which will in turn help the nation’s socio-economic development.
“In Skytrend News, our vision is to champion a knowledge-based growth and be the leading voice in the establishment of good leadership, expose corruption and social ills in the society, establish sound corporate culture, promote the right of every citizen, and the political/socio-economic development of our country. We hope to achieve these by educating, re-orientating and informing with a view to building an egalitarian and equitable society,” Adeoya said.
Recounting some of the strides made by the outfit between August 2013 when it started and now, Adeoya said: “We have been able to make some meaningful development. Prof. Wole Soyinka once said: ‘The man dies in him who keeps quiet in the face of injustice.’ Nigeria started her 4th Republic on May 29, 1999 and since then, we have had a lot of ups and downs in our political life.
“Our nascent democracy is still developing and we feel that there is need for a platform that would be able to provide information that will help the citizens and the country not only develop faster but get to her desired haven,” he said.
Adeoya noted that Skytrend News follows every story to its logical end. “In Skytrend News, we don’t just break the news but we act on the story with our readers and stakeholders, and that forms our unique selling point. We will never stop at just reporting, our aim is always to dig deeper, get to the bottom, right the wrongs, dot the ‘i’s and cross the ‘t’s.”
Explaining further, Adeoya said: “What most of the regular web sites do is to break news, inform people and then stop at that but we are different. We don’t just want to break the news and inform or just educate, we want to act on the story, and we want to develop the story like CNN does. When CNN breaks a story, they will say ‘developing story.’
That is their unique selling point so they don’t just stop at bringing the story, they report every area as it develops and they analyze it. Once we get a piece of information, we try to get to the root of it and when we are acting on it, we don’t just act unilaterally, we do so in partnership with our numerous followers and stakeholders.
“An example is the recent closure of Iponri market in Lagos. For us, it was not just enough to report that story, we followed it up, we interviewed the Surulere Local Govt Chairman, we spoke with the traders and we were able to discover that the reason why it was locked up was not acceptable and the process ill-thought out. It is our considered opinion that such unilateral closure should not happen in a democracy and that processes should be well spelt out and defined to guide market activities.
This was not the case in this particular situation. So when we have a ‘market leader’ locking up a particular market for pecuniary gains or such untoward motive and asking traders to bring certain documents before re-opening, we want to investigate the reason(s) for that. So we act on the story and in doing this, we involve concerned Nigerians in such trending issues and we come out with a collective position.”
Health sector problems:
“There have been problems in Nigeria’s health sector – between the doctors and other health professionals. The medical doctors try to prove that they are the most senior having had the most extended years of learning and therefore the ones who should be the administrators in hospitals.
We published an article on the need for relevant stakeholders to quickly address this issue. Thanks to modern online communication technology, we were able to assemble stakeholders to have an indepth discussion on our web-based discussion platform where we engaged them thoroughly, having identified the core problems in the sector.
“Many of the health professionals wrote us and made practical and pragmatic contributions for a solution that would be acceptable to all, and we in turn published them for our readers to digest. Whenever we have strikes in this sector, patients bear the brunt. That sector has been bedeviled by a lot of problems and the patients are the ones always at the receiving end. Today, you have medical doctors going on strike and once they resolve with government and the strike is called off, the other health professionals also call out their staff on strike. This is not acceptable.
“So in cases like this, we want to partner with stakeholders in the health sector, not just reporting the health problems, but along with them to look for a solution and see how we can resolve the problems. That article in question attracted a lot of readership and we postulated some areas we feel the government and National Assembly should look into to resolve the problems.
“We also encouraged our government to deploy international best practices in the health sector. Hopefully this can resolve the lingering problems in that sector.
So this is one of the ways we try to help society. Basically therefore, it is not just about news reportage, it is about giving back to the society, being a sort of watchdog to the government, it’s about providing alternative solutions and making policy suggestions to the government and more importantly, it’s about being the conscience of the nation.”