• Comments: 0
  • Posted by: Imoh Robert


I’m pleased   to welcome all of you to this Town Meeting with the theme ” Agenda Setting for Sustainable Development”

This is the fifth in the series with the first four held in Lagos,Kano ,Yola, and Abuja  under the NGE/US Embassy capacity building programme for editors  in the Southwest ,  Northwest ,  Northeast and North Central zones .

We need to examine critical issues here and ask ourselves tough questions. For instance, what role should the media play in setting the agenda that would lead to a sustainable democratic culture in Nigeria? How do we encourage the youth and the women to participate more actively in the democratic process?

Section 22 of the 1999 constitution says ” the press, radio, television, and other agencies of the media should at all times be free to uphold the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people”. This section gives the media the enormous responsibility to hold the government accountable to the people.

Can we beat our chests and say we have carried out this role creditably well? This Town Meeting is expected to assess our performance and suggest ways for improvement.

Various stakeholders, including youth groups, organized labour, students, civil society organizations, traditional and religious groups, have been invited to this Town Hall meeting should feel free to tell us what we have done well and areas that need improvement.  We should also share ideas on how we to sustain our hard -earned democracy.

Media that is free and independent has the capacity to facilitate all aspects of   good governance. But the question is: how free is the media in Nigeria? How free   are the media houses owned and funded by government? How independent are the editors in the private media owned by politicians and businessmen?  I asked these questions because it is only when journalists are free to monitor, investigate and criticize public policies and actions that good governance can take root.

Freedom of the media allows for the creation of a public space in which a wide range of debates and expression of variety of viewpoints can take place.

A free and critical press is essential for the growth and development of any democracy and good governance, which is simply an essential framework which serves as a means of achieving wider goals, including security of life and property.

Activities leading to the 2023 general elections have commenced.

The amended Electoral Act has been signed into by the President.

It is our responsibility to monitor compliance by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, the political parties and the politicians.

I do know that some politicians are busy studying this Act now, with a view to identifying the loopholes and creating ways to circumventing its provisions. It’s our duty to expose such characters. It is rather unfortunate some key actors in our democratic process are the same people manifesting glaring undemocratic tendencies.

As the campaigns begin, let’s interrogate the promises that will be made by candidates. It is not enough for you to say you will create 10 million jobs in one year, the media should ask for details of how this will be achieved. It is not enough to simply say you tackle insecurity; you must tell us your plans to overhaul the nation’s archaic security architecture.

We shouldn’t shy away from digging deep into the antecedents of those offering themselves to lead us.

Someone told me recently that the easiest way to defraud Nigerians is to spike the fraud with a heavy dose of ethnicity and religion. The media should ensure that this time around, politicians do not deceive the electorate with the two emotional factors of ethnicity and religion.

Poverty and insecurity know do not recognize ethnicity and religion.

The Guild believes that democracy remains the best form of government because it guarantees freedoms and it has the ability to correct its own mistakes.

The media should assert its agenda setting role in the 2023 general elections. On no account should we allow politicians to set the agenda for us. We should be one setting agenda for them.  We should be telling them what exactly the people want. The media has the capacity to shape issues for national discourse.

We want to hear from you how well we have performed this agenda setting role. We are open to suggestions on how we can improve on our performance.

I won’t end this speech without saying a special thank you to the US government through its Embassy in Nigeria in making this event possible. The Nigerian Guild of Editors is indeed very grateful for your support.

Dear colleagues, special guests and students here present,

I want us to form a strong alliance in the quest to sustain and deepen our democracy.

I thank all of you for coming and I wish all of us fruitful deliberations.

Welcome to Enugu,the Coal City.

Author: Imoh Robert

Leave a Reply