The Rivers State Commissioner for Information and Communications, Pastor Paulinus Nsirim has tasked journalists to see the build-ups to the 2023 general election as a viable opportunity for the media to interrogate the leadership recruitment process of the country.
The Commissioner stressed that the time has come for the media to thoroughly examine those who aspire to leadership positions, and what their credentials are, with a view to projecting those credentials to the voting populace for them to make their choice.
Nsirim who was speaking at South-South Town Hall Meeting of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) in Port Harcourt, today, (10/5/2022), emphasised that as members of the forth estate of the realm, journalists must no longer hide under the cover of societal challenges and allow Nigeria remain in the doldrums.
“I always call our attention to the fact that as a people, we have lost our value, the values of honesty, hard work and integrity are lost. So this is the society where the media should be operating to set agenda.
“We must stand firm at this political season to show the political gladiators that we have the professional competence to project issue-based campaigns and not campaigns of calumny because we fall prey when we allow such campaigns to flood the channels.
“Nigeria is at crossroads and we are looking for those who will bring us out of the doldrums. Therefore, we must promote issue-based campaigns in this season,” he said.
He restated that the country has been divided along ethnic and religious lines adding that it is the media that should set the agenda for a united Nigeria again.
“Let me underscore the fact that this country is divided and it is the media that will bring about a united Nigeria. We must take that as a responsibility as we match into 2023.
“The time has come for journalists to refuse to be dumping ground for politicians. It is sad today to see the volume of libellous publications flood our print and broadcast media platforms because we have refused to be professional. Anything goes, and when anything goes, society will be the worst for it,” he said.
The Information Commissioner also charged the media to rise up to the challenges of increasing level of savagery in the country by educating the people that as humans nobody deserves to be slaughtered.
“The Nigerians slaughter themselves as if they are slaughtering cows. How did we get here? When did we lose our sense of humanity?
“The media need to play a role here. We must begin to tell our people that we are all humans. Nobody deserves to be slaughtered like a cow,” he said.
He said the missing link has been that those who promote this violence somehow are protected by the Nigerian society.
“We all must rise up to say no to savagery. I feel a lot of pain when I watch some of these things and it is something that should give us concern as media people.
“Somebody said recently, that journalists write history, but let us remember that history will also write us. And that should be food for thought for all of us,” he cautioned.
He expressed hope that with its abundant potential, Nigeria will still evolve a better country. “Galvanising these potentials, we can beat those who are the naysayers and build the Nigeria of our dream.”
He welcomed participants to the new Rivers State where Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike’s governance style has shown a new touch in terms of infrastructural development and leadership.
Also speaking, the President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mr. Mustapha Isah said the Town Hall meeting was organised to fashion a direction for journalists and the media to assess media performance in consolidating Nigeria’s democracy, aggregate citizens verdict and set agenda for the future.
He condemned a situation where Governors who have no appreciable records of performance in their states put themselves forward to be elected into higher positions.