Joseph Edegbo served with the Nigerian Armed forces during and after the civil war. After which he voluntarily discharged and joined the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria. He has practiced as a journalist since then and even in retirement he still practices on the platform of The Penmaster, his online News website. His popular slogan is “Retired but not tired”.
I was born on December 23rd, 1950 at Ogbogodo, but my father hailed from Abocho, all in Dekina Local Government Area of Kogi State.
After my post primary education from Okene Secondary School, now Abdulazeez Attah Memorial College. I joined the Nigerian Army in February, 1969.
Immediately after my military training in Nsukka, I was deployed to the Army Corps of Signals where I underwent various training courses in Radio Communications during and after the Civil War between 1969 and 1980.
In March, 1980, I voluntarily discharged from the army. And few months later, I took appointment with the Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria, FRCN to set up and man the station’s wireless communication network linking the station with its correspondents across the country following poor telephony, associated with the analogue system.
A year later in 1981, the FRCN Management converted me to journalism. From then to December, 2010, I underwent various training courses in journalism both at home and abroad, and rose to the position of Controller News.
I retired from FRCN in December, 2010 and then to the Print Media and I am still practicing; on the ground that “I am retired but not tired.”
I learnt a lot of experience so far in journalism. During my service with the FRCN, I served as Roving Correspondent in Kaduna for 12 years, and then I was later posted out.
During the sojourn, I served in Enugu, Benin and Lagos with all the neighbouring states falling under my areas of coverage.
There was no part of the South East, South South and South West that I have not been to. During this period, I have made friends both in high and low places. I have traveled to many places, even up to the Holy land (Jerusalem), as part of education and it is the journalism that afforded me this opportunity.
Have you ever done any job that has made you regret being a journalist?
Not at all! But my regret is the non-recognition or acknowledgement of the contribution of Nigerian Veteran Journalists by the nation or leaders who were made to become what they are by the Veterans.
Veterans in Nigeria have silently kept wondering why virtually all past and on-going political and military leaders refused to consider, let alone recognize journalists for National Awards in this country.
In the midst of mounting and relentless patriotic services which these professionals have been rendering to the nation in terms of information, education and general mobilization that has sustained and indeed promoted what we still have today as unity, peace, mutual understanding, progress and stability in our dear country, none of these journalists across the country has been so identified, let alone granted such national honour as it is cheaply and constantly given to others, even those unknown before their awards.
Historically, from the pre-independence era to the first, second and subsequent republics, the facts remain widely open that it is this set of journalists that promoted virtually all the individuals that emerged as leaders at the Federal, Regional, State and Local Government levels for recognition and eventual installations respectively. Yet, the journalists up till now are denied various recognitions for such national awards.
How can fake News be checked?
First and foremost, objectivity is one of the most important pillars of a free news medium. Any news found displaying personal emotion, views, likes or dislikes are of less importance.
Sources and attributions of news are also very essential and where they are not credible they can be given less attention. But to cap it all, legislation can be put in place to empower agencies responsible for overseeing the practices of journalism to bring whoever found indulging in the act to book, as a means of checking it.
How will your background in journalism influence other work you do?
First and foremost, I have been a disciplinarian right from the military where I respect my seniors and then to the journalism profession.
Because I am disciplined coupled with humility, there is nobody that I cannot relate with or the heat that I cannot absorb. I always think of where I am coming from and where I am going. With all these, one cannot regret in life as I continue to imbibe those attributes wherever I found myself.
How do you find your story ideas?
Story ideas always emanate from issues or happenings in the society which should be executed through proper understanding and vigilance. Whatever one puts out should be designed to educate and inform without resorting to sensationalism.
How do you anticipate that your work will uphold Press Freedom in Nigeria?
By making sure that I am guided by the principles of objectivity, impartiality, balanced and factual. And above all, let national interest supersedes any other interest in whatever I do in the cause of my professional callings.