Following the recent barge accident that occurred in Lagos with containers falling into the water channel, a group comprising freight forwarders, shippers, traders and legal practitioners organized a media briefing. The conference was a serious affair devoid of humour until a freight forwarding veteran, Chief Eugene Nweke unknowningly delivered the phrase of the day.
Nweke addressed the press as the “FIFTH…..REAL…ESTATE”, while encouraging journalists to put maritime regulators on their toes. This sparked subtle humour and murmuring as reporters subtly debated Nweke’s error, while others pondered the connection between the issues discussed and real estate business.
Estates of the realm may be interpreted to refer to the modern separation of powers in government into the legislature, executive, and the judiciary. The term fourth estate refers to forces outside the established power structure (evoking medieval three-estate systems), most commonly in reference to the independent press or media.
The term Fourth Estate of the Realm or fourth power refers to the press and news media both in explicit capacity of advocacy and implicit ability to frame political issues. Though it is not formally recognized as a part of a political system, it wields significant indirect social influence.