By Omeiza Ajayi
Specificity is the soul of news writing (narrative) according to John Hodgman.
One “house style” that seems prevalent in most newsrooms is to use the first and second names of people in news reportage. Some media houses also frown at the use of chieftaincy and some other titles.
However, in the light of recent confusion regarding the March 5 traditional wedding of a Kogi state born politician and the Osasafe of Okpameri Kingdom in Edo state, Barr. Natasha Akpoti to her heartthrob, High Chief Emmanuel Oritsejolomi Uduaghan, there could be an excuse for the usage of titles.
As a journalist from Kogi state and precisely from the same village, Ihima, as Chief Natasha, I have been inundated with calls from people seeking clarifications as to whether the former Social Democratic Party SDP Senatorial and Governorship candidate in Kogi state is getting married to a former Governor of Delta state, Dr Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan.
For starters, both Uduaghans are first cousins as their fathers are siblings. Their aunt is the mother of a former Governor of Delta state, Chief James Ibori. So, the trio are first cousins.
While Ibori’s successor goes by the middle name Ewetan, Natasha’s fiance goes by the middle name Oritsejolomi.
The former governor is also a medical doctor and a 68-year old married man, while the 62-year old Oritsejolomi is an engineer cum lawyer and a divorcee.
Journalism is not supposed to cause unnecessary controversy or distress to people, hence the need to be specific when putting out narratives.
The former governor, Dr Uduaghan had defected to the All Progressives Congress on 29th August 2018 and consequently contested for the Delta North Senatorial seat.
As APC chieftain, it was gathered that some governors on the APC platform consistently called to query why he was sponsoring Chief Natasha, then SDP Governorship candidate against the Kogi state Governor, Yahaya Bello in the November 16, 2019 Governorship Election in the state.
When Natasha’s invitation card came out last week, not a few persons were said to have called Dr. Uduaghan to either congratulate him or sought to know when he divorced his wife, Roli. The former governor must indeed be tired of having to politely explain himself to people.
Then begs the question. What is in a name? Indeed, there is a lot in a name as it defines one’s identity.
Aside their middle names, perhaps the use of such titles as doctor, engineer or high chief could help in distinguishing between both cousins.
In an era of fake news, appropriate attributions in news writing can help stem the tide of misinformation and disinformation.