Last week was one full of tears and candle bearing for members of the maritime media. It was a week of memorials for our fallen heroine, Ifenyinwa Obi, former President of Maritime Reporters Association of Nigeria (MARAN). Many journalists filed out in pains and grief to accord her the last honour and respect for her person and what she represents, which is “touching people’s lives”. Ify believed in empowerment and being her brother’s keeper. She stood for truth, no matter whose ox was gored. She was a man in a woman’s form. She had her weaknesses though, that , of course, made her a human. She led a brief but a fulfilled life. Life is not about how long but how well. And the ‘well’ is underscored by how many other lives one is able to positively impact! Ify touched lives! How many other Ifys are in the maritime industry?
Earlier, this year Kayode Atofolaki and Seun Agbolade called Effisy had fallen into the cold hands of Mr. Death, all in the maritime industry. Death is death, people could argue but I chose to see those sudden demise as precipitated by the unceasing Season of Anomie in the maritime industry. If you believe in the reality of sociology, then you will agree with me that a lot of factors “conspired” to “delete” them unceremoniously.
This explains why I felt so bad when some influencers intervened last week to halt me from exposing ‘these good guys’ in the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) over the in-human treatment of some journalists in Abuja during the recently concluded conference of Association of African Maritime Administration (AAMA). By the way, many journalists have not been given the balance of their promised 170,000 Naira, three weeks after the event.
How else can you explain a Season of Anomie, when a group of presumed partners and stakeholders are treated like some species with domestic phobia? When “Important” maritime stakeholders pass away the maritime media is invited to make news out of it. They grace the occasion, as invited. When an operator berths an idea, the media is sought as a partner to promote the cause and make advocacy.
Sadly, the maritime media lost three members in quick succession, but could not count on members of the maritime fraternity to give the deceased befitting internment. While alive they toiled to watch the sector and people who at various times pleaded to be left unexposed. That is the dilemma of every watchdog.
I am really alarmed by the fact that Public Relations officers of companies and agencies did not see the PR value and mileage in these pains of the maritime media. Who says that PR is better practiced when a company is in crisis? Are the operators PR blind? This is indeed is a Season of Anomie!
The father of Sociology and a functionalist, Emile Durkheim sees Anomie as a social condition in which people feel disconnected from the society due to rapid changes; people feel alienated because they no longer see norms and values they hold dear. This invariably provokes the feeling that one does not belong and is not meaningfully connected to others. Anomie fosters the feeling that one lacks purpose, engender hopelessness and encourage deviance and crime, which is necessary though not preferable.
One can now appreciate the philosophical basis for the huge appetite for misappropriation of funds in NIMASA and other agencies, while maritime journalists who are always pauperized with warped sense of “our person” or “a friend of the house” to look the other way in abdication of duty live in penury and die in penury.
Except the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) ably represented by the Executive Secretary, Barr. Hassan Bello himself, no other agency or operator honoured our fallen heroine in death last week, when her professional colleagues organized a night of tributes and candle night procession in her honour. If the previous two deceased was a mistake, could the third death be a repeat of mistake or is another death being expected for the operators to wake up?
Ify will be interred in Ogbu village, Abatete town, Anambra State on May 10th, 2017 after a mass vigil at Borroemeo, Anambra State.
Rest in Peace, our Queen.