Don Tasks Journalists To Speak Truth To Power

Apr 28, 2024 - 17:49
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Don Tasks Journalists To Speak Truth To Power

By Chinedu Echianu

In order to have genuine development flowing side by side with Democracy in Nigeria, journalists have been urged to speak truth to power and ensure that those holding positions of authority are accountable to the citizenry. Former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Professor Shola Omotola stated this in his paper presentation at the Retreat held by the Senate Press Corps in Keffi, Nasarawa State on Saturday.

Meanwhile some public office holders such as the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Magaji Tambawal and others have assured journalists covering the National Assembly of availability of information needed by them at any time in line with provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.

Professor Omotola in his paper presentation on "Developmental Impact of the Executive on Nigeria’s Democracy, 1999-2024", said successive elected governments at the federal level since May 1999, have by policy formulation and execution, tried to effect development across the sectors but have failed in the area of poverty alleviation, let alone, eradication. He said the failure to effectively tackle poverty among Nigerians by successive governments, has made development, which he described as a vital component of democracy, substantially missing in the country over the years.

"The theme of the retreat, 'Democracy and Development: How far, So far, for Nigeria?', is, therefore, very apt, timely and cogent. "Democracy and development are inextricably interconnected and must flow together, this is the very reason why journalists in Nigeria, need to speak truth to Power in ensuring that the vital link is not broken. "Development is basically about the people reaching an acceptable standard of living, having the basic things on which they need to live decently, such as housing, shelter, clothing, food-nutritionally balanced diet, portable water, clean environment, etc. "All hindrances to these in Nigeria from corruption to bad policies, need to be exposed from time to time by journalists who are the watchdogs of the society", he said.

 He however added that for Nigeria to have sustained the practice of Democracy for more than 24 years and remaining as one indivisible entity, shows that development would surely come. In his remarks at the retreat, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, represented by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Yemi Adaramodu (APC Ekiti South), said the Senate under his leadership, would not deny any journalist, access to information for ventilation to the larger society as provided for, by the FOI Act.

He urged journalists not to hesitate in taking full advantage of the FOI Act by enforcing compliance through the courts in cases where any department of the National Assembly fails to abide by the laws in providing required information to the media. Also the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Magaji Tambawal, represented by Secretary, Research and Information, Ali Umar, said since Democracy provides a more favourable environment for development, the management of the National Assembly, will continue to provide conducive working environment for journalists for balanced and objective reportage.

On his part, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmed Aliyu Wadada (SDP Nasarawa West), said for development to flow with Democracy in Nigeria, Nigerians need to move away from sentimental reasoning and conducts capable of destroying the structures that hold Nigerians as one, by in actual fact, being their brother's keepers.

"Discriminatory tendencies among Nigerians of all ages and status, must stop, for genuine development to take place and for the country to remain more united and peaceful", he stressed.

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