President Muhammadu Buhari, Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, and state governors are among those confirmed to attend the 2018 congress of the International Press Institute (IPI) scheduled for June.
The 2018 IPI congress will hold in June at the International Conference Centre, Abuja.
About 350 journalists from across the world are expected at the congress, which is being hosted in Nigeria for the first time.
Revealing the confirmation of attendance of high profile individuals, at a meeting of the 2018 IPI congress LOC, yesterday, the chairman, Mallam Kabiru Yusuf, said President Buhari would declare the congress open, while Prof Soyinka will deliver a keynote address.
Malam Yusuf, who is chairman of Daily Trust Media Limited, also revealed that efforts were being made to have international dignitaries, including some African leaders, in attendance at the world congress.
Outlining the programme of activities for the congress, Yusuf said there will be a welcome dinner on the first day of the congress, June 21 and a gala night on June 22, 2018.
He said discussants at the congress would talk on topics relating to the challenges journalists are facing and proffering solutions to them.
He urged Nigerian journalists to be part of the programme, which would go a long way in exposing the country positively to the world.
Reiterating the gains of the congress, Spokesman of the 2018 IPI congress, Mr. Eric Osagie, who is the Managing Director/Editor-in Chief of The Sun Publishing Limited, said the congress was a rare opportunity for Nigeria to showcase its best.
“It is also an opportunity to re-brand the country, by proving to the world that Nigeria is not as bad as it is painted. It is one of the biggest tools to draw attention to not just the potentials and greatness of Africa’s most populous nation, but to also demonstrate that Nigeria remains the leader in Africa,” he said.
The publicity sub-committee of the 2018 IPI congress also pledged to continue the sensitisation of journalists and Nigerians, in general, on the forthcoming congress.
Briefing the meeting, its chairman, Dr. Tonnie Iredia, said members of the committee had travelled to Kwara and Rivers states to meet with stakeholders.
He revealed that the committee was making efforts to get the buy-in of governors, so that they would sponsor journalists in their ministries and information to attend the congress.
Iredia, who was Director General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), said the committee, in the coming weeks, will step up visitation to media houses to sensitise journalists.
He also revealed that the committee would come up with programmes and jingles to mobilise Nigerians for the coming world congress.
Present at the meeting were members of the IPI and media executives, including Secretary of the IPI, Mr. Raheem Adedoyin; Executive Secretary of the Newspaper Proprietors Association of Nigeria (NPAN), Mr. Feyi Smith; Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria, Mr. Bayo Onanuga and publisher of Blueprint Newspapers.
Others are General Manager/Editor-in-Chief of Vanguard Newspapers, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye; Chairman of Channels Television, Mr. John Momoh, who was represented by Manager, News, Mr. Ambrose Okoh and editors from The Sun, New Telegraph and Tribune, among others.
The IPI director, Barbara Trionfi, visited Nigeria in February to know how the LOC was preparing for the coming congress.
Trionfi, during the visit attended a meeting with IPI members/media stakeholders, in Abuja, following which she and Mallam Yusuf addressed a press conference.
The IPI director also paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed and the Nigeria Television Authority (NTA). She also visited Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
During the visit to Saraki, the Senate president called for a closer collaboration between the press and the parliament in the overall interest of democracy and better dividends for the people.
Saraki said he was excited that Nigeria is hosting this year’s edition of the world congress of the IPI and described the upcoming event as a great opportunity not only for the global press to have a better understanding of the country “but to give us an opportunity to be able to interact more in the interest not only of understanding issues here in Nigeria, Africa and the global world because to some of us we really believe that the growth and stability of the world today depends on what happens in Africa and in Nigeria.”He said when the world starts “getting accurate information about what happens in Nigeria, I think the world will be a better place for it.”