Friends and well wishers of Malam Ali M. Ali, the newly appointed Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria(NAN), on Friday hosted him to a dinner to celebrate his appointment to lead Africa’s largest news agency.
The dinner, which was put together by the “Majalisar Kakumi” group, attracted top government functionaries, politicians and leaders of many government media organisations.
Among the dignitaries were the Directors-General of the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), Malam Abdulhamid Dembo, Federal Radio Corporation of Nigeria (FRCN), Mohammed Bulama and Jibrin Ndache of the Voice of Nigeria (VON).
Also at the event were Dr Abdullahi Shehu, Assistant Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Correctional Centres, Jibril Zakirai, lecturer and writer, Malam Halilu Fagge, and many others.
In a brief remark, Alhaji Sadiq, who spoke on behalf of the organisers, said that “Majalisar Kakumi” is a platform formed by friends of like minds and had served as a meeting point for steady interactions.
He reminded Ali that leading NAN was not an easy task, but expressed confidence that he was equal to the challenge “in view of what we all know of him”.
Sadik prayed to God to guard and guide the NAN helmsman to do justice to those placed under his leadership.
He congratulated NAN for getting a thorough professional as a leader, and challenged its workers to give him all the support he would require to excel in the new task.
Alhaji Halilu Fagge, a long-standing friend of Ali’s, described him as a brilliant man and excellent strategist who easily shapes perspectives with his quick and smart ideas.
In his remarks, Ndace of VON emphasised the need for young leaders to always respect their seniors.
“No matter the level of one’s successes and accomplishments, do not forget those that mentored you. Never forget the role they played on your path to greatness,” he said.
He thanked Ali for sharing his good leadership qualities with others, pointing out that the sharing of thoughts and ideas is always crucial to success.
Also speaking, Dembo of NTA, described Ali as hardworking, and thanked God for making him the managing director of NAN.
“We shall keep working together. We shall keep sharing ideas and comparing notes as we lead federal government media agencies,” he said.
In his remarks, Bulama of FRCN said that Ali had been a close friend and professional partner for a very long time.
“We have been together for a very long time. Ali is an excellent communicator, thorough professional and very articulate. NAN is lucky to have him.
“I am sure he will do a lot in NAN. At the end of his first tenure, he would not only be pushed for a second term, but shall be lifted to much higher responsibilities,” he said.
He told NAN workers to brace up for the challenge of working with a workaholic as Ali was sure to drive them very hard.
In his response, Ali said he was deeply touched by the moving messages and thanked the organisers for finding him worthy of being celebrated.
He said journalism was his choice “right from the beginning”, and would always be happy practising it.
“From the beginning, I wanted to be a journalist. A great one. In the course of this job, I have moved across various newsrooms.
“I also handled tasks of reputation management and worked in two state government houses. There is no doubt that the lure of the newsroom will always be my calling.
“I have met many people in the course of journalism. What I tell younger colleagues is that you cannot be a good leader if you’re not a good follower. Good leaders must be good followers,” he said
Ali said that NAN had always been a great news organisations and one of the very few recognised by the United Nations.
“It has the largest workforce and has risen to the top before its fortunes started dwindling, but we are determined to restore those glorious days of greatness. Our job is enormous, but we are determined to do it,” he said.
Alhaji Abdulhadi Khaliel, Director, Administration and Human Resources Management in NAN, described Ali as a workaholic who was driving the workers hard so as to get the best out of them.
“He has not allowed us to rest. We now work literary round-the-clock. He has told us to shape up or ship out. I can confirm to you that he is always ready to work and ready to listen,” he said.
Khaliel assured Ali’s friends and colleagues that NAN would give him all the support required to succeed. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ephraims Sheyin