By Donald Ugwu
Governor Ibikunle Amosun of Ogun says Nigeria is a free-press state where the media is expected to play critical roles in peace building without inhibitions.
He made the declaration at a media workshop he hosted for the State House Press Corps in Abeokuta on Saturday where he warned that the media could not afford to fail Nigerians.
The theme of the workshop is, “The Role of the Media in Peace Building: 2019 in Perspective’’.
Amosun, who was represented by Chief Dayo Adeneye, the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, said the role of the media in any developing society could not be over emphasised.
He stated that among the multiplicity of views and opinions , no publication should be unwarrantedly unique above others.
He said that it was only when the media strove for the best that they could afford the citizenry the opportunity to form better opinion and arrive at better aggregate of decision rather than being victims of orchestrated agenda setting.
“Nigeria is a country of diverse and dynamic people, talented and blessed by God with abundant natural and human resources.
“As a body of media their roles and responsibilities are enormous and highly essential and much needed to keep Nigeria one.
“Unfortunately, our responsibility should be to responsibly tap on these resources, turning potential available in our report process into reality, particularly and more often than not, through what we call `peace journalism and developmental journalism’.
He said that the media remained the fourth estate of the realm because the media mirrored conscience of the people and shaped opinion.
The governor noted that in the past, the media was involved in major revolutions in parts of the world and added that an unbiased and purposeful media created useful societies devoid of nepotism and mismanagement.
Amosun urged the media to build on their achievements in the past and mould a peaceful democratic country towards 2019 polls.
He advised the practitioners to be wary of how politicians conducted themselves during electioneering, noting that intrigues in power play would always exist.
“The media at the centre have a greater role to play.
“I salute the patriotism of the Nigerian media, particularly members of the State House Press Corps for most of your determination to keep the unity of the country irrespective of your challenges.
“But there is room for driving towards the very best as we drive gradually into 2019 elections.
“We should not forget that we can only write to demand accountability when people and the media are performing tasks to which they can be held accountable,’’ he added.
The governor noted that it was important for the media to play their constitutional roles in ensuring compliance with the fundamental objectives and directive principles of state policy and promoting the accountability of government.
“This is essentially expedient in growing our nation into peace, harmony and socio- economic advancement.
“The media of cause remains at the centre of the up-coming elections and should take with all seriousness that they have a very important role to play,’’ he stated.