SPEECH BY PRESIDENT OF THE NIGERIAN GUILD OF EDITORS AT THE OPENING OF CAPACITY BUILDING WORKSHOP WITH THE THEME ” AGENDA SETTING FOR SUSTAINABLE DEMOCRATIC CULTURE” IN ENUGU

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  • Posted by: Imoh Robert

Let me formally welcome you to this capacity building workshop for editors. I thank God for granting all of us   journey mercies especially those who came from outside Enugu 

This is the fifth in the series of workshops that will be held in the six geo- political zones, under a project which is being fully supported by the US Embassy in Nigeria.

Yesterday, we had a hugely successful Town Hall meeting where the role of the media in setting agenda for a sustainable democratic culture was discussed robustly.

 Judging from the active participation of stakeholders, it is obvious that Nigerians are genuinely interested in sustaining and deepening our hard – earned democracy.

This workshop is designed to improve the capacity of editors to carry out their constitutional responsibility of holding government accountable to the people. It is true that Section 22 of the 1999 constitution gives us a responsibility without corresponding powers to carry it out, but we have to find a way to fulfill that mandate within the ambit of the law.

The Nigerian media has a rich history of being critical and resilient.

We were in the forefront in the fight against colonialism and military rule. Our struggles for the enthronement of democracy have been well documented. 

It is almost practically impossible for us in the media in Nigeria to abandon democracy halfway after investing so much in it.  Some journalists were killed while others suffered various forms of deprivation, including incarcerations and self – imposed exile    So, we have no choice than to join other critical stakeholders to nurture and deepen democracy

There is no doubting the fact that journalism thrives better

 in a democratic dispensation no matter its shortcomings.

The only way to make the people appreciate democracy is to ensure it meets their needs and aspirations.  Citizens’ confidence in democracy is deepened when elected officials listen to them and fulfill their campaign promises. 

The media should regularly remind elected public officials of the promises they made to the electorate.

The best way to check corruption is robust monitoring of budget implementation.

How have we performed in tracking budget implementation?

I love the way the media is monitoring and scrutinizing the activities of the Federal Government. We should keep it up. However, the media should also extend its searchlight on goings on at the state and local government levels. A lot is happening there which are unreported. Some governors today operate as demi-gods, emasculating the local governments without much scrutiny. We should be critical of the way the State Independent Electoral Commissions conduct local council polls with the political party of the governor in each state winning the election 100% with the exception of Kaduna state.

I’m not delivering a lecture, but an address of welcome.

Let me politely remind us that journalism is about the people. It is not about events, but how events affect the people. The heart of journalism remains the people. That’s why our noble profession is seen as service to humanity. This is why journalists should at all times interrogate our leaders on behalf of the people. On no account should ever forget that we operate in public trust. That trust will be eroded if the people perceive that we are not serving their interest.

We have lined up very interesting and thought-provoking topics for this workshop.

The General Secretary and Programme Coordinator, Iyobosa Uwugiaren will be here shortly to tell us more about this.

Dear colleagues, let us   participate actively in this workshop in order to leave here sufficiently equipped to monitor governance and contribute to consolidating our hard – earned democracy.

I thank the US Embassy in Nigeria for making this workshop possible.  I thank the resource persons for accepting to be here today.

On this note, I welcome you to Enugu, the famous Coal City

Author: Imoh Robert

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