By Ismaila Chafe
At the Leadership Newspapers’ award ceremony on Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari, advised the media against seeing themselves as mere critics, but as true partners nation building.
Buhari, who bagged an award, said at the ceremonies in Abuja that the Nigerian media should always act in the spirit of patriotism in the important role of informing the people of the country.
He further urged the media to join the ongoing Federal Government efforts at uplifting the quality of life of the people.
“I expect the Nigerian media to join our government in the pursuit of these goals not just to criticise to prove their independence.
“The media must continually see itself as true partner in the task of nation-building and thus act in the spirit of patriotism at all times in the important role of informing the people of the country.
“On our part, our doors are wide open to media inquiries in line with the transparency and anti-corruption stance of our administration.’’
The President noted that the events of 2015, which the Leadership Newspaper chose to bring to the fore, marked a watershed in the political history of the country.
He said: “Those of us, who were participating actors in the elections, were led by the higher ideal of the future of our great country and the well-being of our people, rather than the mere desire of politicians to win elections.’’
President Buhari noted the patriotic zeal of former President Goodluck Jonathan, the impartiality of the electoral umpire – INEC – and the exemplary conduct of the political parties, the role of foreign pressure and other actors.
According to him, all these collectively disappointed the prophets of doom, who thought the country will disintegrate after the 2015 general elections.
He observed that the nation’s democracy had been strengthened by the outcome of the 2015 elections “as the people have more faith in the electoral system in the sense that their votes would count when choosing political leaders at various levels’’.
The President, therefore, called on the political class to build on the experiences from the 2015 elections to nurture the nation’s democracy.
On the award ceremony, President Buhari, who together with former President Goodluck Jonathan and former INEC Chairman, Prof. Mahmud Jega, received a Joint Award for the Leadership Persons of the Year 2015, felicitated with the other award winners for the recognition accorded them.
He expressed the hope that the awards would encourage all those recognised at the event to remain committed “to good behaviour in their various endeavours to justify this recognition and serve as inspiration to others’’.
“The Leadership Newspapers have been in the forefront of promoting democracy and positive values that are necessary to achieve national consensus on the issues that tend to challenge our unity and progress as a nation.
“We commend the Leadership Newspapers Group and its publisher, Sam Nda-Isaiah, for standing firm on the path of patriotism, justice and fairness,’’ the President added.
The Chairman of the Leadership Group Ltd, Mr Sam Nda-Isaiah, said the annual awards ceremony was to recognise and reward personalities that make significant contributions to the socio-political development of the country.
Other awardees at the event, included Chibok schoolgirls, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Yakubu Dogara, and Gov. Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe state.
Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), received the Leadership Public Officer of the Year 2015 award, while Korede Bello, the singer of the popular song `God Win’ emerged Leadership Artiste of the Year 2015.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that other individuals and corporate bodies received different awards for their contributions to the socio-economic and political development of the country.
The event with the theme `Democracy, Political Transition and The Challenge of Leadership in Africa’, was organised by the Leadership Conferences Limited, a subsidiary of the Leadership Newspapers.