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Vanguard Reporter Among 21 Nigerian/Ghanaian Journalists To Participate In 2024 UDEME Fellowship

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Vanguard Reporter Among 21 Nigerian/Ghanaian Journalists To Participate In 2024 UDEME Fellowship

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The Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development, CJID through its UDEME Social Accountability programme has selected 21 journalists from Nigeria and Ghana including Marie-Therese Nanlong, the Plateau State Correspondent of Vanguard Newspapers for its 2024 UDEME Social Accountability Fellowship.  

To kick off the six-month Fellowship, the organization held a two-day virtual workshop for the Fellows to enable them to gain hands-on experience in telling impact-driven stories about government budgets, policies, and procedures.

Ijeoma Okereke-Adagba, CJID’s Project Manager explained that “The Fellowship seeks to build the capacity of journalists in West Africa to identify red flags in budget line items and unique patterns/trends in contract awards at the sub-national level, thereby setting the agenda for a transparent budget process.”

She noted that the Fellowship programme was the first of its kind aimed at achieving budgetary transparency and the 21 participants were picked from the over 300 applications received hence the successful journalists from the print, online, and electronic media should use the opportunity to tell impact-driven stories that would set a positive agenda in society.

During the virtual workshop, the journalists were engaged in diverse discussions around journalism for accountability, media role in democracy, understanding budget formulation and preparation in Nigeria, and investigative journalism (the dos and don’ts), among others which would help them deliver on the expectations of the Fellowship.

The different resource persons including Dapo Olorunyomi of Premium Times, Akintunde Babatunde of CJID, Kenneth Kwujeli of the Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, Bisi Abidoye, Kemi Busari of Dubawa, and others called for follow-up of stories to create impact.  

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To Olorunyomi who cited sections 22 and 162(5) of Nigeria and Ghana’s constitutions respectively, the elements of journalism in a democracy such as accuracy in reporting, public mission, and truthfulness among others, must be upheld.

He stressed that the media’s role in democracy is such that “the media is a mechanism of accountability, proposing a project of agenda setting and articulating a gatekeeping process.”

Kwujeli who frowned at the seeming politicizing of the budgeting process in the country, however, called on the CSOs and the Media to get more involved in the budgeting processes in the country to ensure accountability and the achievement of the Nigeria Agenda 2050 which is targeted at an accelerated growth for the country.

Highpoints of the virtual workshop were the breakout session, the story lab sessions where participants presented their story ideas and Uchenna Igwe and Mboho Effiong, both of CJID further sensitized the 21 participants on the expectations which they should meet to enable them to have a successful Fellowship.

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