By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
The Deputy Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Moses Ekpo has lauded journalists in the state for conducting themselves creditably enough to attract the admiration and respect of government.
Ekpo said with consistent efforts on the part of the present leadership of NUJ in the state to sanitize the union, he, as one who germinated from the press, grown in the press and will perish in the press, will continue to proudly identify with the union.
The Deputy Governor made the observations at the 2021 Press Week of the Akwa Ibom State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) on the theme; “Politics, National Unity and the Quest for Credible Elections in 2023: The Role of Journalism” in Uyo on Wednesday.
Ekpo who declared journalism as an opportunity for total service and the opportunity to influence the thoughts of the society, expressed the optimism that if journalists can influence positively, then the 2023 elections would be held without harmful effects to societal values.
While commending the competence of the State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong in maintaining a cordial relationship with media community in the State, the Pioneer Information Commissioner also used the forum to warn journalists against demarketing the society as they are also a part of the society.
“Journalists in Akwa Ibom have earned the respect of this Government. if you say that your state is not credible, then you are not credible, if you say your State is useless, then you are useless. Successful people don’t rock the boat. Investigate, speak and report the truth to earn respect,” he said.
He used the occasion to challenge female journalists to start a conversation to influence women to key into the race to govern Nigeria. “Consider yourselves as critical stakeholders in Nigeria,” he advised.
On his part, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Comrade Ini Ememobong said journalism is central to the defence and protection of democracy and, a force for progressive social change.
Speaking on the theme of this year’s celebration, Ememobong who queried whether journalists’ desire the sustainance of democracy, challenged media practitioners to internalize the virtues they seek in others. In his words “Let us internalize the virtues we seek in others. We are asking that journalists should investigate what is published by the Federal Ministry of Finance and what goes to Local Government Areas and States, this outing should birth the newness of heart and Union.”
In his welcome remarks, the state Chairman of NUJ, Comrade Amos Etuk said the Union will be interested in who becomes what in the state and will therefore be vitally involved in the politics of 2023 as strategic stakeholders in what happens to the State.
In his words “We shall be asking questions and demanding answers from those aspiring to lead; we shall engage them, we shall compel them to concentrate on the issues of development and raising the living standard of our people, away from fruitless personality attacks and needless resort to fanning the embers of ethnic discontent.
“In all these, we shall be nonpartisan. The NUJ shall continue to throw its doors wide open to all the political parties, all the candidates and to all those aspiring for one elective position or the other. We shall be politically non-aligned, but ideologically aligned with the people of this State to elect leaders they can trust to give them meaningful lives.
“I urge our members to remain committed to ethical journalism and see the future of the State as paramount in all their political writings”.
Presenting a keynote address, the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Barr. Effiong Akwa called on journalists to take active interest in politics as the field is too important to be left in the hands of politicians.
Akwa who acknowledged that he has seen responsible journalism in Akwa Ibom State, and therefore has every reason to align with journalists in the state, charged journalists in the state to remain objective, Independent, fair and just in their practice.
Whie applauding Nigeria for remaining a model in Democratic experience, having conducted five elections and three peaceful transitions, he however decried rotation of political offices – a situation he regretted has seen incompetent people to high offices.
“Nigeria has been a model for other African countries in sustaining democratic principles. Democracy without credible election is not democracy. a credible election is an election with integrity. There must be professionals and Independent national bodies to manage elections. The integrity of election requires political equality. Rotation has really affected quality in representation”.