It has been well made that it cannot be ignored. On July 7th, Intervention carried a Newsfeature titled “Igbinedion University and the Puzzle”. The material does not sit pretty with some people. While we thank them for the criticisms which we welcome, we, however, deny all the reservations and have opted to explain the story for those who might share the same reservations but might not bother or know Intervention’s operatives as to reach us. There is no favouritism or selectivity in the story in question. No new universities have been deliberately excluded in favour of any set.
The story was not an assessment of new generation universities in which mention or no mention could be taken as favouring any particular set of them. In making this assertion, we are conscious that the story in question is bound to be read differently by each person or group, depending on who and where they stand. To that extent, we rule out thinking that those who are dissatisfied with the story have misread it. No, they haven’t. But the point is that there was a video on Igbinedion University showing its entire campus, the diversity of people across the country it has named its facilities after and the overall aesthetics of its environment.
The video had to be contextualised in the new generation of universities for it to make better sense. To do that, one or two other new universities were mentioned to illustrate the few points around and about the new collective within the larger collective of the Nigerian university system. It is, therefore, not the sort of story that could have mentioned more than one or two new universities, mentioned “where there are more buildings” or in which “mentioning Kwararafa University, Wukari twice in a week” could become selectivity. We were not doing a story accounting or rating the campuses of new universities in terms of splendour of buildings or on which ones have achieved a lot and so on. There is no such story on our immediate future story list even.
We urge readers to read the “Igbinedion University and the Puzzle” more critically. While there is certainly something promotional about it which we ourselves noted in the story, our own use of it fits into a tradition of critical celebration rather than a puerile or bland reporting. The situation might arise in future to do a story on the new universities with “big and beautiful buildings all over the country”. That is, however, not the object of this particular story. And “mentioning Kwararafa University, Wukari twice in a week” or “devoting so much space to only Igbinedion” is still permitted by the principle of inclusivity in news judgment which warns against the over-indulgence of big urban centres, languages, ethnic groups and powerful interests. So, it is perfectly in line with emancipatory journalism to which we are committed because, otherwise, universities in relatively remote locations such as Wukari, Okada and so on would never be heard vis-a-vis those around Abuja, Lagos, Kano and Portharcourt. We have gone out of our way to do this to any such universities, communities, persons, languages, cultures, religions and other identities as much as our resources have permitted. All that anyone needs to do to prove this is to go through stories and materials we have carried in the last one year of our existence. We are protected by the principles that inform our practices. And that can only be the only explanation for the pace of our growth and strength in spite of all the odds.
Once again, we thank those who did not bottle their reservations. With this, we hope we have clarified them and others out there who might have entertained similar reservations but either did not know who to call in Intervention or have simply created an enemy image of us. No! There is no enmity.