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Speak truth to power, don tasks journalists

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…..As Akpabio, Tambawal, others assure of openness

For genuine development to flow with democracy in Nigeria, journalists must speak truth to power in making those holding positions of authorities accountable to the citizenry.

Former Deputy Vice Chancellor, DVC of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, FUOYE, Professor Shola Omotola stated this in his paper presentation at the 2024 retreat held by the Senate Press Corps, SPC at the Al -Vari Hotel, Keffi, Nasarawa State on Saturday.

This is as some of the public office holders like the President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio; the Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Sani Magaji Tambawal and others, assured journalists covering the National Assembly of availability of any information needed by them at any time in line with the provisions of Freedom of Information, FOI 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 failed in the area of poverty alleviation, let alone, eradication.

The failure to effectively tackle poverty among Nigerians by successive governments, according to him, has made development, as a vital component of democracy, to be substantially missing in Nigeria 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, the very reason why journalists in Nigeria, need to speak truth to power in making it so in Nigeria.

“Development is basically about the people reaching an acceptable standard of living, having the basic things on which they need to live decently – housing, shelter, clothing, food -nutritionally balanced diet, portable water, clean environment, etc.

“All hindrances to these in Nigeria from corruption to bad policies etc, 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 an entity, show that development would surely follow.

In his remarks at the retreat, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, represented by 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.

Also the Clerk to the National Assembly, CNA, Sani Magaji Tambawal, represented by the Secretary, Research and Information, Mr. Ali Umar, said since democracy provides a more favourable environment for development, management of the National Assembly, will continue to provide conducive working environment for journalists for very balanced and objective reportage.

But the chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmed Aliyu Wadada (SDP Nasarawa West), said for development to flow with democracy in the country, Nigerians need to move away from sentimental reasoning and conducts, by in actual fact, being our brother’s keeper.

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

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