I rejected Aso Rock’s meal because of Chibok girls – Kafilat Ogbara

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Delectable Mrs. Kafilat Ogbara is one personality, who is many things to many people. To some, she is a socialite in her own right, while to others she’s a politician; yet to many others, she’s a media egg head endowed with the ability to manage and turn things around.

Ogbara, who is a former managing director of the National Mirror newspaper, has joined the league of publishers by floating a newspaper, Today’s Prime News.

Talking about her journalism career, which she describes as very challenging, Ogbara says, “I was the Managing Director, National Mirror and also the publisher of Today’s Prime News. I was at Nigerian Television Authority, too.

“When I was atthe NTA, it used to be fun. I like broadcasting more than the print media, I like the electronic more than the print media because of the visual news. Unlike the print, where you wait till the next day for the news to come out, for the electronic, if something breaks now, in the next two to three hours it will be reported earlier.

“And you know the way we work in the electronic media. In the house, you are more like a family, whereas in the print media, everybody is on the road, depending on your jurisdiction or your designation.”

She says that it’s been tough setting up and running Today’s Prime News as the newspaper has been confronted with the problem of dwindling revenue, which has forced the company to stop printing hard copy and focus on publishing on its online platform.

“The online platform is just there, we just report whatever we’re able to get. Although I am not actively involved, I have people running it for me. We are not making sales, there are no adverts and that is peculiar to almost all media houses, even the electronic media. We all know the challenge,” she notes.

Lamenting over the practice of journalism in Nigeria, Ogbara observes, “The government is not allowing the effective use of the Freedom of Information Bill and they are not allowing the media people to get the right information that they need and, of course, on the part of the media practitioners, most of them are not going all out to get the right information that the people need to know or hear or that news that needs to break, or the exclusive.”

According to her, in other climes, journalists go out of their way, risking their lives to get firsthand information and do so many things unlike in Nigeria, where she says there is even no insurance cover for such professionals.

“And in case, if anything happens to them, they are just on their own. Many of them have suffered abuse or attacks several times and the government is doing nothing to address this situation.They break their cameras and so many things that are really affecting the job of the media in general,” she states.

For Ogbara, however, the Nigerian media sector has not lived up to expectations in the discharge of its constitutional role as the fourth estate of the realm as it’s not doing enough regarding probing into many issues of national importance. Citing the example of the 82 Chibok girls recently released by the Boko Haram sect, she says, ”The government has refused people to have access to the Chibok girls to speak to them. I don’t get it and the sad part is that the media is quiet about it and they keep saying the media is living up to expectations.”

Expressing sadness over the ordeal of the Chibok school girls at the hands of the violent fanatical sect, she says, “I can remember in 2014 at the dinner of MDs of media houses hosted by former president Goodluck Jonathan, where I was quiet all through the event. After the programme, we were invited to eat but I declined and I told Mr. President then that many secondary school girls were held in captivity by Boko Haram members and the government had yet to do anything about the situation.

In 2014, at the dinner of MDs of media houses hosted by former president Goodluck Jonathan, we were invited to eat but I declined and I told him that many secondary school girls were held in captivity by Boko Haram members and the government had yet to do anything about the situation

“And now that they have been released, nobody has got an interview with the Chibok girls. Some people are even doubting if the so called released girls are the real Chibok girls that were kidnapped. It is very sad for this country. It is very abnormal; the media and the government must explain to Nigerians, because if they are giving the excuse of privacy for shielding the girls, it is of no use because all the pictures and their videos are on the internet via the social media.”

Ogbara, who came into politics many years back in a very big way, contested in the 2007 general election for a seat in the House of Representatives for Kosofe Federal Constituency under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party but lost to the then Action Congress of Nigeria candidate, Dayo Yacoob Alebiosu.

At another time, she signified interest in becoming governor of the Ogun state, but didn’t sail through. However, Ogbara is more noted for her activities in politics than the media, though at a time she was head of media for the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency, when Senator AdeseyeOgunlewe was theMinister of Works.

As regardspolitics,Ogbara reveals that she has left the Peoples Democratic Party, saying, “My body and soul has leftPDPbecause ofthe crisis in that party, but I have not officially announced where I am at the moment. I was part of the last committee inaugurated that was supposed to rebrand the party. We came up with a lot of ideas on how the party could be rebranded. I was under the leadership of High Chief Raymond Dokpesi, as he was the Chairman of my own committee and despite that nothing came out of it.”

“Having been with the PDP in the past 17years, I can tell you I know what is happening at the top in the party. They have destroyed the party and I hope they will be able to get their act together because as it is now, anybody that has political ambition that is serious minded politically should remain there for now.”