Indigenous to Oyo State and a graduate of Broadcast Journalism and Communication from the University of Wales, UK, Simi Drey, who in 2019 emerged as the Best OAP for Radio and Television in The Future Awards Africa, is a delectable woman who is also soft spoken and polished. She is currently with Beat FM and hosts a TV show with Africa Magic. In this interview with our correspondent, she shares some of her moments with us.
“I started working in the media industry the very year I left school, about five years ago but I’ve been with Beat FM for 3 years now and it is barely a year since I began hosting my show at Africa Magic,” Simi noted when asked about how long she has been in the business.
She has this to say when asked to comment on the disparity between media and journalism as practiced here in Nigeria in contrast with what she experienced in the UK during her stay and short practice there:
“I think the biggest issue for the media industry in Nigeria is finance. I know in the UK and America, they have bigger budgets for their productions, which means they can hire more people and there are better salaries for their staff that is why, when you watch a British or American production and see the end credits, there could be 20 – 30 people who are producing just one show. Here in Nigeria, we do not have the resources to do so, it is getting better though, but financing is still a major issue.”
On what roles she thinks the media can play in the making of a Nation’s image, especially a country like ours that has been in the bad news for so many years now, Simi Drey posits that:
“I am of the opinion that the media is a major stakeholder in the image making of any given Country wherein she operates. If you look at America for instance, you’re bound to see very patriotic people who extend their love for their Country to every endeavour they find themselves in, though majority of them are not originally from there, indeed they are separate people who came together to call themselves one Nation but if you watch their television programmes you’ll see that it is always the Americans who are always on ground to save the world from any danger, they have created the myth of superheroes and their schools have their flags and all that and their media doesn’t overlook that.
That is patriotism to them and that is how they’re creating this strong image of a super world power and the media is their major avenue for the spreading of such myths. But here in Nigeria, the journalist is busy grappling with his or her life because there are laws that forbid one to say certain things and once you go into the media world with trepidation in such a Country, you’re bound to lose the sense of the fact that you are an image maker for your nation. Even though the government has tried to take advantage of Media platforms for such ends but it is just not working because the government owned channels are reporting a one-sided story and when the private practitioners try to put some issues in their right perspectives, they go in for it. So regarding the utilization, to the fullest potentials of the provision of freedom of speech and the freedom of information bill, I think we still have a long way to go in that regard,” she lamented.
Commenting on the role the media has been playing and would continue to play in the promotion of Nigerian music, Simi Drey agrees that Nigerian music before and now has always been incredible only that it recently began to get all the National and International credits it deserves. She is of the view that the media has always been a worthy partner and promoter of Nigerian showbiz and that the true account of the rise and success of Nigerian music cannot be documented without a remarkable mention to the media and vice versa.
On personal life, Simi Drey reveals that her life’s philosophies are hinged on honesty and independence, noting that God has given all men equal powers and sense and must be committed to positive use and in the process of that use; one must always remember to keep honesty as a watch word even though the rewards might be slow in coming.
She ends the interview by hinting that she is a dress freak who loves girlie, feminine clothes and high heels. Girlie sophistication is the phrase that describes her dress sense and she describes herself in one word as “mischievous.”
Culled from Issue 26
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