2023 Polls: Media Has Critical Roles For Success – University Don

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By; BAYO AKAMO,  Ibadan

Deputy Vice Chancellor (DVC), Administration, Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Professor Shola Omotola on Thursday, reiterated that the media has a critical role to play for the success of the 2023 general elections, 

Professor Omotola stated this in Ibadan, while delivering the maiden Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Zone B Annual Public Lecture and Award presentation, titled, ” The Media and the 2023 Elections in Nigeria: Retrospect and Prospects”  held at the Oyo State NUJ Press Centre .

The DVC pointed out that in discharging their expected roles, there is the need to be anxious of the fact that fake news, hate speech and electoral violence constitute threats to the 2023 general elections.

Professor Omotola maintained that Nigeria’s elections have not lived up to expectations in almost all respect ” due mostly to issues such as electoral violence, fake news, hate speech among others .

Highlighting others as increasing judicialisation of politics, squandering of hopes, poor election, weak democracy, limited dividends of democracy/ acute underdevelopment”, the University Don emphasized that media have critical roles  for the success of the 2023 general elections.

The roles according to the DVC included  ” inclusiveness/ fairness in coverage and reporting, campaign messages/promises , political debates , election observations and objective reporting ” 

Tasking Nigerians to be more vigilant than ever before, Prof Omotola said the media should be well positioned to play vital roles in the success of the election and that journalists should be able to track campaign promises of political parties in order to inform the opinions of the electorate by .

exploring some reasonable latitude of freedom provided by the Freedom of Information (FoI) Bill to play critical roles required of them in the conduct of credible polls in 2023.

The University Don then challenged the nation’s leadership to desist from giving excuses for their failures, saying, “It is not only Nigeria that is post-colonial. There are other African countries that were colonised decades back, but they have shed vestiges of colonialism and they have moved on, with progressive strides.

Founder of Fresh FM radio, Dr Olayinka Ayefele while speaking cautioned media practitioners against sacrificing their lives for any political party or politician in the discharge of their duties especially in the push to get headline stories during the coverage of electioneering campaigns should not be achieved at the detriment of their precious lives, thereby subjecting their families and dependants to sorrow and hardship.

“Journalists should avoid sacrificing their precious lives for anybody in the course of performing their roles as media practitioners. Some of your colleagues, who had died in active duty, how are their families faring. You have to ask this question”, he said.

Dr Ayefele added, ” Journalists should also fight for their lives. We make politicians who they and what they attain through our reports. Don’t allow yourselves to be used for the promotion of people and interest and at the same time exposing your lives to fatal danger”.

Those given award at the annual lecture includes Governor Dapo Abiodun of Ogun state  who was represented by his Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Alhaji Waheed Odusile, the Chief Press Secretary (CPS) to Governor Gboyega Oyetola of Osun, Mr Ismail Omipidan, the Olu of Lisa kingdom, Oba Oladele Odugbemi, founder of Fresh FM Radio, Dr Olayinka Ayefele, Commander of Amotekun in Ondo State, Mr Adetunji Adeleye, among others.

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