*Hails new NGE officers
President Bola Tinubu has charged the media to step up its constitutional responsibility of holding the government accountable to the citizenry, just as he has congratulated the new President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr. Eze Anaba, and other elected officers of the professional body.
The president, in a statement entitled: ‘As journalism marches on in the service of Nigeria’, issued by his Special Adviser on Special Duties, Communications, and Strategy, Mr. Dele Alake, described the recent Biennial Convention of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) as an epochal milestone in the evolution of the journalism profession in the country.
According to him, the peaceful poll by the NGE is a clear signal to the larger society that elections devoid of bitterness and unnecessary rancour can hold peacefully in Nigeria.
He charged the media to step up its constitutional responsibility of holding the government accountable to the citizenry.
President Tinubu also promised to collaborate with the press in the task of realising the lofty ideas of developing the country.
Tinubu congratulated the newly elected President of the Guild, Mr. Eze Anaba, who is the Editor of the Vanguard newspaper, and wished him and other newly elected officials of the guild a most fulfilling and productive tenure in office.
“By its peaceful and rancour-free conduct of elections to elect its new officers, the NGE has sent a resounding message to the larger Nigerian polity that elections for desired offices can be intensely competed for without degenerating into bitterness, acrimony, and needless malice,” the statement said.
Tinubu also commended those who lost out in the elections at various levels such as Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi for accepting the outcome and pledging support for the winners.
“This is a light that the NGE is showing that the rest of us may find the way to a mature, tolerant, stable, and sustainable democratic culture.
“It is of the utmost importance that the various unions in the newspaper industry such as the NGE, Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), and the Newspapers Proprietors’ Association of Nigeria (NPAN) imbibe the ethos of internal democracy in support of professional integrity for the benefit of good governance, stability and sustainability development in Nigeria,” the statement explained.
According to Tinubu, the NGE has, in this regard, made a strong statement for the Nigerian media as a worthy exemplar.
The president, however, argued that elections are not held within the unions in the journalism profession just for the sake of holding elections to appoint new officers of associational offices.
“Rather, the larger picture is to ensure at all times that we place the profession in a prime position to continually fulfill its constitutional obligation of serving as a watchdog of the people in checking the excesses of government and promoting the greatest good of the greatest number of our people.
He recalled that the press was active in the struggle against the military dictatorship in post-colonial Nigeria, adding that this opposition to autocracy was particularly exemplified in the fierce opposition of patriotic media practitioners to the annulment of the June 12, 1993, presidential election won by the late Chief MKO Abiola.
“The history of the Nigerian media has, since it’s epochal role in the struggle against colonial imperialism, been intimately intertwined with the fate of the Nigerian state and her peoples.
“The press was active in the struggle against military dictatorship in post-colonial Nigeria and this opposition to autocracy was particularly exemplified in the fierce opposition of patriotic media practitioners to the annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election won by the late Chief MKO Abiola.
“It is impossible to write the history of the democratic benefits we have enjoyed since the commencement of this dispensation in 1999 without emblazoning the heroic contributions of patriotic sections of the media in gold,” he said.
Tinubu insisted that the challenges ahead of the media in playing its role towards strengthening Nigeria’s democracy, keeping power continually in check as well as promoting good, responsible, and accountable governance are greater than the paths traversed before.
He pledged the support of his administration in collaboration with the media towards achieving these lofty objectives in the best interest of the country.