With the aim of examining varying topical issues that have a reverberating effect on perceived performance of the media on the health of our democracy and country at large, WSCIJ holds an annual media Lecture Series. The Lecture series are designed to contribute to the body of knowledge of practitioners as well as increase awareness and debate around the nexus of media practice and socio-political development issues in the country. It has held three lectures since inception.
At its maiden edition in 2008, with Prof. Harry Garuba of the African Institute, University of Cape Town, South Africa as guest speaker, the lecture focused on the theme: Media Intervention and Electoral Reform: Acts, Practice and Praxis (A comparative reflection).
In 2009, the series which also commemorated Professor Wole Soyinka’s 75th birthday saw Dr. Olatunji Dare, an Associate Professor of Journalism at Bradley University, Peoria Illinois USA and a former editorial page editor of The Guardian Newspaper Narrating the Nigerian story and stating the challenges which the media faces in trying to achieve this.
It was Professor Bayo Olukoshi of the UN African Institute for Economic Development and Planning (UNIDEP), who spoke at the 2011 Lecture on the theme: Re-evaluating Local Governance in Nigeria: What responsibilities for the media. The lecture which came at the wake of the 2011 general elections and on the heels of the local government elections was an attempt to focus on democracy at the grass root in order to engage the tools of a downward-upward mechanism to appropriately mould governance in the country.
To contribute to efforts towards charting a way forward by government and other stakeholders in the fight against acts of terror that increased in Nigeria since 2009, and the general security challenge in the country, the fourth Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series, held on Friday 13 July, 2012 in Lagos, focused on the critical issue of “Media and Civil liberties when the clouds of fear gather”. The guest speaker at the event, Mallam Mohammed Haruna, a media and political analyst and other discussants, made recommendations to government, media and the civil society for tackling the security challenge that has become a daunting reality in and for the country.
The 5th Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series held on Saturday 13 July, 2013. It threw up significant issues on the use of the Nigerian Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) of 2011 and the fact that impunity has continued to increase despite elaborate media reports on corrupt persons and practices. The speaker, Biodun Jeyifo, Professor of African and African American Studies from Harvard, in his lead paper gave a treatise of Nigeria’s disturbing status under the theme “The Freedom of Information Act and the dictatorship of corruption and mediocrity”
At the 6th Wole Soyinka Centre Media Lecture Series, the occasion was yet another opportunity for like minds to push back the frontiers of knowledge as Wole Soyinka would want to have it. The event, moderated by Molara Wood, writer and literary analyst, brought together eminent literary scholars to examine the theme of the occasion – “Wole Soyinka and the moral burden of literature”. Abiola Irele, a professor of French Linguistics and literature was the lead speaker, he was joined by other speakers; scholar-critic, Prof Dan Izevbaye; playwright and poet, Odia Ofeimun; professor of comparative literature and cultural studies, Prof Ropo Sekoni and US Consular General, Jeffrey Hawkins.
The 2015 Wole Soyinka Centre Annual Media Lecture was delivered by Malam Nasir El-Rufai, OFR Governor of Kaduna state discussing Nigeria and the oil fortune, giving insight on the way forward in the country’s oil sector as well as urging the media to focus on issues of oil revenue. The event was held on Monday 13 July, 2012 in Abuja.