The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has inducted 36 new members and 15 members as Fellows of the Guild.
The induction followed a Gala Night organised, last Saturday, for the Guild by Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodinma, to conclude the 18th All Nigeria Editors Conference (ANEC) 2022 in Owerri.
In his address, Uzodinma called for stronger ties between the media and the political class to usher more development.
The governor said democracy had proven to be the best form of governance anywhere in the world.
“It is also given that for democracy to triumph, the political class and government cannot do much without the media.
“All I ask of you is the understanding of the essence of democracy in any jurisdiction.
“I ask of you to understand the need to protect our land, national interests, be focused and objective, and for us to create a convivial environment for every stakeholder to contribute to national development,” he said.
Uzodinma also urged the media and editors to change and correct the wrong perception and narratives being created about Africa by foreign media.
He expressed consternation that Nigeria’s democracy was still described as “nascent’’ even after many years of uninterrupted democracy.
“I want to plead with you to take courage; it may not look like what you are expecting, but there is hope for Nigeria.
“We must stop spending money and energy lamenting on the nation’s problems, but rather proffer solutions,’’ he stressed.
The governor, who described himself as “the most blackmailed politician in Nigeria’’ also called for objective thinking and reportage as well as constructive criticism of his administration.
In his remarks, President of the Guild, Mr Mustapha Isah, commended the lofty projects executed by the governor, particularly the 33-km Owerri-Orlu Road; 28-km Owerri-Okigwe Road, and the state-of-the-art House of Assembly complex.
Isah urged the governor to remain focused and disregard the antics of detractors.
The president also advised the governor to spread the money of the state in providing for the elderly people.
Speaking on their observations after a tour of projects executed by Uzodinma, a Fellow of the Guild, Barrister Ajayi Gbadebo, urged the governor to sustain his tempo of development.
Gbadebo, who lauded the road infrastructure, particularly around Imo State Polytechnic, Omuma, appealed to the governor to ensure that water runs at the teaching hospital in Orlu.
The Executive Director of DAAR Communications Plc., Mr Imoni Amarere, shared Gbadebo’s views.
He urged the governor to sustain efforts in developing the rural areas.
The inducted Fellows of the Guild included former NAN Editor-in-Chief, Mr Alli Hakeem and Dr Reuben Abati, former Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), to former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Some others are former Managing Editor of New Nigerian Newspapers, Eze Victor Awogu and Lagos State qCommissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Gbenga Omotoso.
Earlier during the executive session of the 18th All Nigeria Editors Conference (ANEC) 2022, last Friday, the Editors had stressed the need for Media Independence and Security to achieve fair, factual and objective Journalism.
In his contribution at the executive session, the Editor-in-Chief of The Guardian Newspapers, Martin Oloja, identified the need for financial independence for free, fair and objective journalism.
Oloja stated that because of the loss of financial independence, the media cannot function effectively in monitoring the activities of politicians, especially if they rely on them for sponsorship.
He said this had severely limited the social responsibility role of the press and reduced accountability on the part of the political class.
“The biggest advertisers are those, who we are expected to hold accountable and because proprietors are interested in the survival of their medium, this role is often cast aside,” he said.
Oloja noted that the expectation of the media’s public has not changed, adding that objectivity, fairness and factual reports remained the watchword.
Similarly, the Managing Director of the Sun Newspapers, Mr Onuoha Uke, noted that the media has the responsibility of setting the agenda as the general election approached.
Uke explained that Editors should be given room to play their roles as key stakeholders in the struggle for good governance by ensuring independence of the press is not compromised.
He called for security, free access to election venues and collation centres to ensure transparency and accurate reportage of the entire electoral process.
“The media has played major roles in democracy and has been in the forefront in demanding good governance right from before Nigeria gained independence.
“Journalists have set the pace and been in charge of moulding public opinion and response to topical issues and the present is an auspicious time for setting agenda to fulfill our responsibility of ensuring democracy survives,” Uke noted.
Also contributing, the Publisher of Real News Magazine, Mrs Maureen Chigbo, emphasised the need for proper information to get across to the public for informed decisions.
Chigbo stressed the need for the media to go all out to verify every fact before publishing particularly before, during and after the elections.
She equally urged the public to check the facts and rely on verified media houses and practitioners for accurate reports and take note of pointers to false news.
Chigbo stated that such news reports are often inconsistent, repetitive and poorly scripted and warned against reposting of such reports by the public.
“Information is power and it is my hope that the public has access to true information, because of this, the media should ensure balance and objectivity in their reports and stick to the ethics of the profession to help build a progressive society,” Chigbo concluded.
While delivering a paper on “2023 General Election And Security: What Editors Need to Know”, the National Security Adviser to the President, Babagana Monguno, reassured the readiness of the Federal Government to deal decisively with electoral offenders and ensure they don’t go unpunished.
Monguno, who was represented by the Head of Strategic Communications, Office of the National Security Adviser, Mr Zakari Usman, said, “It is important to note that one of the major threats to security is electoral violence which berths national security.
“We are continuously addressing the security risk from fake news and hate speech and through collaborative efforts.
“The government is working with social media companies to ensure the safety of the 2023 general election,” he said.
Monguno listed eight categories of electoral violence to include party on party electoral violence; party on voter electoral violence; party on state electoral violence and; voter on voter electoral violence.
Others are voter on state electoral violence; state on voter electoral violence; state on party electoral violence and state on state electoral violence.
Monguno, however, said that ensuring security during elections was not the sole responsibility of enforcement agencies alone.
While stating that security and the media hardly agree on what constitutes national security, he urged the media to report their news without amplifying the agenda of detractors sponsoring political insecurity.
“Critical stakeholders in the electoral process including the press must discharge their duties effectively and efficiently in ensuring security during elections,” Monguno added.
The NSA urged the media to be collaborators with the government on issues of national interest by balancing their reports and promoting national unity and cohesion in their reportage.
Monguno, who further urged the media to put in place fact checking system to contend with fake news by citizen journalists, expressed concern over inciting statements by state and non-state actors.
He, therefore, advised the media to take proactive measures to address the proliferation of fake news.
In a presentation at the executive session, Imo State Governor, Senator Governor Hope Uzodinma, commended the fair and objective reporting style of journalists in the country, saying it has contributed to his administration’s successes.
Uzodinma thanked the Editors for their role in the buildup to the elections that saw his emergence as governor, and urged them not to relent in the discharge of their professional responsibilities.
He called on Editors to find time to tour the state so as to observe firsthand the achievements of his administration so as to better appreciate the role of the media in people -oriented governance.
Uzodinma listed the achievements to include the revamping of the state’s water scheme, sanitisation of the State’s Civil Service, road construction and rehabilitation as well as an aggressive fight against criminality.
He said that his 3R mantra of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Recovery led to the successful renovation of health centres, resuscitation of the Ada Palm plantation through Public Private Partnership.
He added that he also restored accreditation to the state’s university while dredging the Orashi river and other waterways and training youths on digital skills.
“It is important that you editors use this opportunity to see how far we have gone in delivering good governance. The unique circumstances that fueled my governorship ambition were divinely inspired.
“My ambition was almost truncated by a high level conspiracy but your objective reportage of events really helped the situation,” he noted.
Uzodinma said that his administration provided official vehicles for permanent secretaries and High Court Judges in the state to smoothen the process of service delivery.
According to him, Imo was ready for business as it was once again, secure.
“Imo has regained her lost glory as the hospitality capital of the South-East. We are ready for business.
“Journalists have been kind, fair and objective in telling our story. Together we can do many things “, Uzodinma assured.
The event was attended by Chairman of the conference, Prof. Stella Okunna, and President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mustapha Isah, as well as Editors from the Print, Electronic and Online Media from across Nigeria.
The theme of the ANEC 2022 Conference is, “2023 : Political Landscape, Credible Elections And The Role of Editors.”
By: Nelson Chukwudi
RSHA: Amaewhule-Led Lawmakers Defy Court Order, Elect New Leaders
The crisis rocking the Rivers State House of Assembly took a new twist on Wednesday as lawmakers loyal to the former Speaker, Martin Amaewhule, sat under tight security in the complex.
This is contrary to the court order asking the two factions of the State House of Assembly to maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit filed by the Edison Ehie faction.
Recall that Ehie faction had obtained a court order that parties should maintain the status quo pending the determination of a suit seeking to sack Amaewhule as the House Speaker.
The Rivers Assembly had become factionalised following an unsuccessful move to impeach Governor Siminialayi Fubara.
The Amaewhule-led lawmakers are believed to be loyal to Fubara’s predecessor and political godfather, Nyesom Wike.
It was learnt that ahead of Wednesday’s sitting, cleaners had on Tuesday been deployed to clean up the Assembly complex, which had been under locks, since October 29, following an explosion in the complex the night before.
One of the cleaners said they were instructed to tidy up the complex ahead of a sitting on Wednesday.
It was gathered that the Wednesday sitting was held for about two hours as a team of riot policemen and security vans were stationed in front of the House to prevent any breaches.
It was gathered that the lawmakers elected a former Chief Whip as the new Majority Leader of the Assembly.
The member, representing Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Constituency 1, Frankline Nwabochi, was named the new Chief Whip.
An unsigned statement sent to the Assembly Press Corps obtained by The Tide said the two new principal officers accordingly took their oath of office.
Amaewhule congratulated them, charging them to be committed to their new responsibilities.
According to the statement, the lawmakers also passed the first reading of a Bill seeking to amend the Rivers State Local Government Law, No. 5 of 2018.
They also debated on the Rivers State House of Assembly Funds Management (Financial Autonomy) Bill, 2023, which passed second reading on Wednesday.
Amaewhule who described the Bill as important, expressed his conviction that Governor Fubara would assent to it after the lawmakers finally pass it.
He hinted that the governor had withheld funds meant for the Assembly for the month of November.
He said the lawmakers were determined to perform their constitutional duties despite the distractions.
He thereafter referred the Bill to the House Committee on Public Accounts for public hearing and further legislative scrutiny.
The other faction of the Assembly led by Ehie, and loyal to Fubara, had yet to react to the Wednesday development as of the time of filing this report.
Ogoni Group Mulls Recall Of Lawmakers Over Foiled Fubara’s Impeachment
An Advocacy group in Rivers State, Ogoni Development Drive (ODD), says it has begun the process to recall four Ogoni lawmakers from the Rivers House of Assembly over their alleged roles in the botched impeachment of Governor Similanayi Fubara.
The lawmakers are Dumle Maol (PDP, Gokana constituency), Barile Nwakoh (PDP, Khana), Aforji Igwe (PDP, Eleme) and Bernard Ngba (PDP, Tai).
The group’s Convener, Comrade Solomon Lenu, made this known at a news conference in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Recall that Fubara survived an alleged impeachment plot on October 30.
ODD said it had on November 10 issued a seven-day ultimatum to the four Ogoni lawmakers who partook in the plot that attempted to serve an impeachment notice to Governor Fubara.
The four lawmakers, now suspended, were asked to apologise to the Ogoni people whom they represent and to Gov. Fubara for denigrating his exalted office or risk being recalled.
“Instead of heeding this advice and embracing the olive branch extended to them, they rather embarked on an egocentric escapade,” the group said.
Lenu further said the lawmakers rather than heed to the advice by ODD, engaged in various meetings that purportedly plotted to unseat the governor.
“Governor Fubara was collectively voted for by the entire Rivers people, and as such, the action by the lawmakers has not gone well with all men and women of conscience.
“It is illogical for the erring assembly members to think it is right to impeach an innocent governor for no just cause but wrong to recall them for erring against their constituents.
“The suspended lawmakers called a bluff of ODD ultimatum, and so, we have decided to carry out this recall process in earnest, to put our democracy aright,” he said.
Lenu said the group had already reached an advanced level in sensitising and mobilising the lawmaker’s constituents to recall them.
He said that ODD had also obtained the comprehensive voters’ register of all voters in the four local government areas and constituencies.
According to him, an electronic capture form has also been created to make the petition process easier for students at various tertiary school campuses and those on holiday to sign the petition.
“So far, the response from the aggrieved constituents has been very impressive, and we shall in a few weeks’ time complete the compilation of the required signatures.
“The signatures are required for INEC to call for a referendum, which shall be carried out in branches with strict security guidance, to abort any sinister counterplot against democracy.
“We know this process is not going to be easy, but we are ready to go all the way, to create a sense of responsibility in our elected leaders,” he said.
Lenu said instilling a sense of responsibility in politicians and elected leaders would further entrench democratic tenets in the country.
The ODD convener called on the people of Ogoni to come forward and sign the petition, to end political “jamboree and illicit godfatherism” in the state.
The Tide reports that 26 lawmakers on Oct. 30 proceeded to impeach Fubara but were stopped by four pro-Fubara lawmakers led by Ehie Edison (PDP-Ahoada East II).
Mr Martins Amaewhule (Obio Akpor constituency), a close ally of a former governor, was later ousted as Speaker and Ehie sworn in as the new Speaker.
However, Amaewhule insists that he is still the Speaker of the House of Assembly, resulting in some form of confusion over the office of the Speaker.
FRSC Commander Faces Sanction Over Unauthorised Comments
The Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), yesterday, disowned the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, over his recent statement on Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services.
Ibrahim was quoted to have said that VIO officials did not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
But Deputy Corps Marshal, Bisi Kazeem, in a statement, yesterday, said Ibrahim’s comment was not the position of the Corps.
Kazeem added that the concerned official had been recalled to the national headquarters for necessary disciplinary action.
The statement read, “The Federal Road Safety Corps wishes to make a pertinent clarification regarding the pronouncement by the Unit Commander, Central Business District Unit Command, Assistant Corps Commander IL Ibrahim, that Vehicle Inspection Officers, otherwise known as Directorate of Road Traffic Services, do not have the right to arrest road traffic violators, including overloaded vehicles and motorists caught using phones while driving.
“The general public is advised to disregard the statement as it had no approval of the Corps Marshal, Dauda Ali Biu, and does not in anyway reflect the corporate or general position of the Corps.
“It is important for the public know that the laws establishing VIOs/State Traffic Management Agencies give them the statutory mandate to make arrests on different offences depending on the state within which they operate. As such, the agencies should be given the maximum cooperation for the enhancement of safety on our roads.
“On this note and in line with sustaining the Corps’ resolve that road safety is a collective responsibility, and in acknowledgement of the roles the State Traffic Management Agencies like the Vehicle Inspection Officers play in complementing the statutory responsibilities of the FRSC through enforcement of traffic laws, the Corps Marshal has ordered the immediate withdrawal of the Unit Commander to the national headquarters for necessary administrative and disciplinary actions.
“The public is admonished to always comply with all established traffic regulations and cooperate with security agencies deployed to maintain law and order on the highways, irrespective of their corporate mandate.”
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