A group of seasoned journalists led by the image-maker and Director of Special Duties at the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Dr. Abubakar Jimoh, has championed a publication, The Presidential Diary, which they said is borne out of the need to give voice, resoundingly, to the administration of the President Muhammadu Buhari. Jimoh in a chat with journalists said the magazine was conceived and designed to provide a platform for projecting the noble intentions, change agenda and vision of Mr. President. Excerpts:
Who are those behind the formation of this magazine?
I and a host of other professional colleagues conceived the initiative to begin this magazine. We believe in this administration, and believe also that the task of informing, educating and sensitizing Nigerians cannot be left only for government agencies and their spokesmen.
The Presidential Diary Magazine was conceived by a group of like-minds: those who believe in the administration of President Mohammadu Buhari. These persons are made of seasoned journalists, public affairs analysts, alongside men and women, young and old, irrespective of language, culture and tribe, who believe in the change agenda of the administration.
Before the coming of this administration, these persons yearned for change because they were tired of the state-of-affairs as it were. We therefore decided to come together to rebuild this confidence in Nigeria that this government can reclaim our lost glory and take us to that pristine age. The only channel for doing this is not by carrying out propaganda or engaging in all sorts of media hypes, but by articulating the policies and programmes of this government in this magazine; through constructive narratives and photographs of what is on ground.
We believe that pictures speak volumes of words, therefore, we don't just tell, we show. In the last two and a half years of this administration, a lot has been achieved from security to economy and manpower development. All these achievements are captured monthly in every edition of the magazine. You can confirm this in every edition that you pick up. None of these achievements and many more, are left out, and we hope to sustain this as long as President Muhammadu Buhari remains in office to deliver on his change agenda to Nigerians in all walks of life.
How long has this magazine been at the public space?
Like I have said before, this magazine was conceived out of love for Mr. President and his agenda for the people. The magazine officially came on board in 2015, months after the inauguration of this administration. Before the debut of the magazine, I and men and women of goodwill sat down to articulate the policies and programmes of the government that was coming.
When we found that they fit into the yearnings and expectations of the people, we decided to key in and give it the needed support. It is only a blind man who will not appreciate a good soup; even at that, he should be convinced by its aroma and agree that the soup is indeed a good one.
To what extent are you achieving this task of informing and sensitizing Nigerians on the policies and programmes of the government?
We have never thought it will be easy to do this. They are those who have eyes but cannot see. They are also those who can see but are not convinced, and they are those who may be convinced but pretend they are not. To these die-hard skeptics, we try as much as possible to back up our facts with figures and photographs. For instance, we cannot say activities of Boko Haram have truly been degraded by this administration without providing you with evidences. We don't just tell, we show.
So far, we are happy that a lot of people, including 'doubting Thomas's' are believing in this administration and they want to see it succeed. The President and his team are also happy with our contribution to this administration. The wife of the President, Her Excellency, Mrs. Aisha Muhammadu Buhari, the Honourable Minister of Justice and Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity, Mr. Femi Adeshina, SSA (Media & Publicity) to the President, Malam Garba Shehu and other top government functionaries have actively supported our efforts.
How do you circulate the magazine and what is your readership strength?
At the moment, our presence is being felt all over the country. We are in all States of the Federation, especially in States that believe in this change agenda. We are happy to announce the support of State governments that are identifying with us. We enjoy the support of a good number of them and that of certain individuals and corporate organizations in and outside the country. Embassies and foreign missions of Nigeria are also identifying with us in numerous ways.
At the moment, many of them use and process the information contained in this magazine in rating the achievements of this administration. Every month, we avail them of copies, the way we do to all Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs), group and organizations in and outside the country. This we do without charge.
It will interest you to know that we give out every edition of the magazine free and we state it clearly 'Not for Sale' on the cover. In order to get the desired effect, in terms of wide readership, we decided not to sell the magazines. This does not mean that they are printed free. This group of like minds including my humble self who is the initiator pulls our meager resources, time and energies together to ensure the publication of this magazine. And we believe that our efforts and commitments to this course is not in vain.
What will be the fate of this magazine if the current administration is not returned to power in 2019?
We believe in policies and programmes that are people oriented. For us, people-oriented programmes outlive people, governments and administrations. Therefore, we believe that the seed Mr. President and his team is planting has started yielding fruits. We will continue to defend and nurture them and sensitize Nigerians towards national growth and development. So we cannot begin to contemplate this question because millions of Nigerians know that there is a silent revolution taking place now and more time is required to gain traction and firm foundation.