Osibanjo to Editors: Enforce journalism rules; Okowa to FG: Allow democracy to flourish

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By Mercy Azuka, Asaba

VP, Yemi Osinbajo, in Asaba wants journalists to arrest the increase of fake news by enforcing journalism rules; his host, Gov Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, wants the FG to allow democracy to flourish. The VP is APC while the governor is PDP. The gap seems to increase daily.

Now, ahead of the next year’s general elections, Osinbanjo has called on the Guild of Editors in Nigeria to ensure that the rules and regulations of the journalism profession are enforced and kept.

This was even as the Governor Okowa urged the APC-led federal government to build on the foundation laid by the People Democratic Party (PDP) and allow democracy to flourish.

The duo spoke during the opening ceremony of the 14th edition of the All Nigeria Editors Conference (ANEC) held in Asaba, yesterday (September 11) with the theme: Credible Elections, Sustainable Democracy.

Osibanjo who in his speech, observed the “death” of  most professions as a result of technology, identified journalism profession as one of the professions that its  “death” has been caused by technology and the professional himself.

 “The first culprit is technology; its inheritable evil also has the capacity for overwhelming good as we need technology in every aspect of our livelihood; the second and most important culprit is the professional himself,” he said and stressed the need for the restoration of public’s trust on the profession.

“The guild, as we all agree, is a society of gate-keepers to whom belongs the responsibility of defining the efforts, the norms, the ethics of this profession; upon you is also the burden of setting the acceptable rules, the conventions and practices of the profession”, he charged the editors.

Governor Okowa had in an address, highlighted the heroic roles of the media to the development of Nigeria’s democracy but condemned media practitioners who compromise editorial independence, fairness and objectivity of the press. He thus advised that attention be paid to journalist’s welfare to enable them remain courageous in their reportage.

He then took a swipe on the APC-led federal government saying, “One of the biggest steps the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) took towards ensuring sustainable democracy in the country was when in 2015, the then ruling party at the federal level concluded an election, lost and handed over to the then opposition APC”.

“This was a scenario previously thought impossible but when that happened to the chagrin of critics and naysayers, a solid foundation was laid for sustainable democracy in Nigeria.”, he observed.

Okowa therefore urged the APC-led federal government to allow democracy to flourish by allowing the opposition to exist and play its role without let or hindrance.

“The current APC-led federal government must build on this foundation and resist the temptation to repress the opposition and militarize the electoral process. To do otherwise would have terrible repercussion on this democracy that many have fought and died for it”, he added.

While expressing delight on the theme of the conference, he noted that there was perhaps no topic more compelling and relevant at this point in time, especially in the light of the recently concluded party primaries. According to him, the choice of the theme aptly reflects the concern of all Nigerian for free, fair, transparent and credible 2019 elections.

President, Nigerian Guild of Editors, Funke Egbemode had welcomed participants, stating that all Nigerians must be actively involved in making the right choice about those who will lead the country in 2019. We cannot go about our businesses and leave politics and politicians”, she stressed.