Formal Commissioning of the Centre for Information Technology and Development Social Media for Accountability Lab and Radio Studio

Held On the 14TH OF DECEMBER, 2020

The Centre for Information Technology and Development on the 14th of December, 2020 formally commissioned its Social Media for Accountability Lab and Radio Studio. The two projects which have been established with support of Macarthur Foundation, aimed to train youth and students on Social media for accountability and give the university journalism students an avenue to practice what they have learned in the schools. The projects are also established to train youth on anti-corruption fight and accountability. Personalities at the event were Honorable Commissioner, Kano State Ministry of Information, Comrade Muhammad Garba who was ably represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Information, Malam Usman Bala, Professor Habu Muhammad Fagge of the Political Science Department, Bayero University, Kano as the chairman of the occasion, Engineer Y.Z Ya’u, the Executive Director, CITAD and Mr. Oladayo Olaide, Deputy Country Director, Macarthur Foundation who joined the event virtually.

In his remarks at the commissioning of the social media lab and radio studio, the chairman of the occasion, Professor Habu Muhammad Fagge described the social media for accountability lab and the online radio as one of the most important event in the state. Prof. Habu stated that he was very delighted to serve as the chairman of the occasion as it was a history making event because whenever people talk about social media what first came to their minds was that it is a platform where all such of social nuisance is taking place. But today CITAD has changed the narrative and turned it into something very important; for knowledge production. Remarking further, Professor Habu stated that social media is a modern invention that links individuals with other groups, organizations with other organizations and organizations with state and non-state actors. He called on youth in the state to use social media for instrumental purposes and encouraged them to use it for knowledge production, communication, public enlightenment and research. He also described youths in northern Nigeria as the harbinger of transforming the society through modern techniques, innovation and technological development and social media encapsulate all of these. He stated that as many youth in northern Nigeria are everyday joining the social media without a proper knowledge on how to use it, this project commissioned by CITAD will help greatly in putting the youth in the right direction.

Speaking at the occasion, the Executive Director of CITAD, Malam Y.Z Ya’u stated that the reason behind the establishing of the social media lab was to train youth on how best to use the social media and to see to the creation of a New Nigeria where justice and accountability will prevail. He continued by saying that social media provided an avenue for people to inject their voice and many individuals are using social media without tapping its potentials and how best it will benefit them and their country. Also, the Executive Director stated that the Online Radio which has since started its transmission on internet was being established to promote accountability, good governance and democracy in the country, noting that democracy cannot and will not flourish without having fertile avenues where citizens will voice their opinions and this type of radio (online radio) has revolutionized the broadcast industry and given millions of citizens access to radio stations without spending much. The Executive Director also stated that the social media lab was always open to Kano state Ministry of Information for training it information officers and other staff.

In his goodwill message, Mr. Oladayo Olaide, the Deputy Director at MacArthur Foundation in Nigeria said he was very delighted seeing this project had become a reality. Mr. Olaide reiterated the importance of adhering to covid19 protocols as the Foundation is always encouraging its sub-grantees to respect the protocols. He also added that the Foundation was very delighted to be partnering with CITAD in this work because the essence of the social media lab and the radio station were to enhance citizens’ voice which is what the Foundation has been supporting for a very long period of time. He said the launching of the two projects were not just for the people to come and see the laptops in the lab or the journalists to witnessed the cutting of the tape in the studio but to create a platform for citizens to be able to better engage in the campaign for accountability, fight against corruption and contribute to consolidation of democracy in the country. Emphasizing that, the radio was being launched to create avenue to disseminate information and for the exchange of information between and among citizens, he added. He concluded that the success and impact of the launching of the two projects will not be judged by the number of attendees today but by the changes that the projects are able to catalyze through the information generated and the feedback that are transform into action points.  Finally, he called on social media users to be ethical and responsible on the way and manner in which they use to engage in good governance without throwing the country into further chaos.

In his commissioning remarks, the special guest of honor at the event, Honorable Commissioner, Ministry of Information, Comrade Muhammad Garba who was ably represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Malam Usman Bala, mni expressed his happiness and commended CITAD for taking the lead in this important revolution. According to him, democracy is about engaging positively and these two projects are what they intend to do. He noted that social media is a tool for construction as well as destruction, he thanked CITAD for kick starting this project to sensitize youth on using social media to promote accountability. He expressed his ministry’s readiness to collaborate with CITAD in this project.