By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja
Speaker House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has charged media practitioners in the country to rise to their responsibility of ensuring that those who hold public offices are accountable to the populace.
Gbajabiamila stated this in Abuja yesterday at the opening ceremony of a one-day seminar organized by the House of Representatives Press Corps on Fight Against Corruption: Setting Agenda for the 9th House of Representatives.
The Speaker, who lamented that corruption in public office severs the relationship of trust and accountability that ought to exist between the leaders and the people they lead, expressed concern that media houses and media practitioners have failed to utilize the recently passed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA)to hold public officers accountable.
“When the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was passed into law, many critics worried that the press would abuse the law to demand access to information that isn’t covered by the mandate of the Act.Those critics recognised that the Act provided an enormously powerful tool for truth-seekers to identify and expose malfeasance in public office. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that you in the press have fully embraced the possibilities of the Act. Media houses have not invested in training personnel and providing resources for investigative journalism. This needs to change, because as those of us in public office have a mandate to fight corruption by building a culture of transparency within our institutions, and by empowering law enforcement to do its job effectively without fear or favour, you too have an obligation to hold us to account, and to do so honourably, Gbajabiamila said.
According to him, success in the fight against corruption requires that we build accountability and transparency into the fabric of our institutions. From the executive to the legislature and even the judiciary, we must let the light into the inner workings of all the branches of government; the ministries, department and agencies through which they operate. Budgets should be public; citizens have a right to know who is spending their money and what it is being spent on.
Similarly, he said corruption has for too long denied us the resources and the will to invest in our communities and make the radical choices essential to prosperity and progress. We have only now begun to correct the errors of the locust years. We must not look back, we must not waiver, and above all, we must not fall into the false comfort of believing that this is somebody else’s fight. We are all responsible, we are all obligated.
I congratulate you on the occasion of this seminar. I hope that all who participate here today will emerge from this gathering with a renewed determination and commitment to save our beloved country from the ravages of public corruption.
Also speaking, Auwal Musa, Executive Director of Civil Society Organizations, said it was expedient that the next phase of government’s anti-corruption programme be anchored on clear anti-corruption strategy, active support and involvement of citizens groups and the legislature while the fight must prioritize prevention and sanction to win back public support.
He stressed that there was the need to strengthen anti-corruption institutions, provide adequate protection and encouragement for whistle-blowers, and intensify media and public consciousness in demanding transparency and accountability in governance.
“The role of the National Assembly is clearly defined in the Nigeria constitution; making laws for the well-being and development of the people and our democracy, oversighting the Executive arm, among other things. The biggest threat to these roles is first “the attitude of the lawmakers’ followed by the general apathy and distrust for this important arm of government,” Musa said.
Oladayo Olaide, Representative of the McArthur Foundation urged the House of Representatives and the National Assembly generally to pay more attention to its oversight function so as to measure the performance of Ministries, Departments and Agencies with regards to budgetary votes so as to identify cases of corruption.
DAILY ASSET Roundtable: Guests Condemn Bad Politics, Knock Economy
By Ubong Ukpong, Ibraheem Hamza Muhammad, Eze Okechukwu Idris Umar, Abuja
Panelists at the DAILY ASSET 5th Anniversary Roundtable, organised yesterday at the Nicon luxury hotel, Abuja, did justice to issues in the national economy, and politics as well as the role of the media in the 2023 General Elections.
The discussants were united on the fact that Nigeria needed a competent and intelligent leader to take over its affairs from President Muhammad Buhari by May 29, next year.
The roundtable, attended by the academia, politicians, media personalities and top government functionaries was chaired by Dr. Patrick Ukase, Head of Department, History and International Studies, Kogi State University, Anyingba. The panelists included the Benue State Governor, Dr. Samuel Ortom, who was represented by the Director General, Benue Liason Office, Abuja, Gideon Hemba, Dr.Amaechi Anaekwe, Director of Programmes, Africa Independent Television, (AIT), Hon. Francis Ottah Agbo, lawmaker representing Ado, Ogbadigbo and Okpokwu Federal Constituency of Benue State, Dr. Abbas Idris, Director General, Federal Capital Emergency Management Agency, Dr. Cletus Akwaya, the Publisher and Editor-in-chief, DAILY ASSET Newspaper, and staff and management team of the newspaper among others.
Prof. Ukase noted that the economy, security, infrastructure and all other aspects of national lives suffer neglect when any country fails to recruit the right kind of political leaders, stating that “the system won’t be open to talents and merits would not matter anymore.”
He expressed dissatisfaction with the way Nigerian economy, bureaucracy and governance at all levels have been abandoned because of next year’s general elections, noting that the economy and governance should never be sacrificed on the alter of power acquisition.
Prof. Ukase identified media challenges to include ownership,
control, molestation of journalists by security agents, often resulting in arrests and illegal detention , poor rumenerations or even no renumeration at all and lack of modern professional tools including computers and camera, however praised the management of DAILY ASSET Newspaper for its resilience and consistency in production.
Hon. Francis Agbo noted that good governance was an irreducible minimum and challenged Nigerians to go all out for their voter’s card and vote in only the most competent political leaders in the next general elections, adding that the country was bleeding.
“Structures don’t win elections. Casting of votes win elections. We should all cast our votes wisely, for the most competent persons and in doing so,we should forget ethnicity, religion, sex and tribe. The country is bleeding from insecurity, lack of power, unemployment and youths restiveness. Now, it’s time we all join hands and fix Nigeria”, he said.
Agbo who is Chairman House of Representatives Committee on Drugs and Narcotics, said that it was rather becoming funny to hear people talk about religion and political party structures ahead of the general elections, when the country was passing through trying times.
He said there were candidates capable enough to redeem the country from the present woes and Nigerians must get it right by giving their votes only to such candidates, irrespective of party, religion or tribe.
“I hear them say this man does not have structures. Do structures go to polling units to vote? It is Nigerians that vote,” the lawmaker said.
He asked citizens to take advantage of the ongoing Continuous Voters Registration (CVR), to be registered and move to polling units closer to them, to be able to vote in the upcoming elections.
“Nigeria is bleeding. You must vote to save the country. They said they were coming to change everything from top to bottom and ended up destroying everything from top to bottom,” the legislator said.
Apparently criticising the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC),
Agbo, who is of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), commended DAÌLY ASSET and expressed confidence that it would continue to educate the public on the issues concerning the forthcoming general elections.
On his part, Dr. Idris, Director General of the Federal Capital Emergency Management Agency urged media practitioners to delve more into investigative journalism, noting that journalists should interrogate government policies and action all the more.
“Firstly, investment in the media industry by intellectuals will bring out the best in the country. Journalists should spend more time on investigative reporting, especially as it concerns government projects both at the states and federal levels. Any project that doesn’t address the needs of the people should be reviewed. The media really has to work strongly along that line. With this, the government at all levels will sit up and in the end, it benefits our country and the benefits are all ours,” he said.
Barring his mind on the subject matter, Dr. Anaekwe, Director of Programmes at the African Independent Television, (AIT) also observed that Nigeria will get better with the right leadership, and not just with people with thirst for power. He applauded the management and staff of DAILY ASSET Newspaper for the roundtable, and urged them not to buckle in the face of challenges.
The publisher of the newspaper, Dr. Akwaya thanked the guests for dissecting the theme: “The Media, National Economy, Politics and 2023 Elections,” with expertise and wisdom. He gave glory to God for standing by the company through thick and thin.
DAILY ASSET Newspaper hit the newsstand on June 12,2017 as a weekly Abuja-based tabloid and went daily on November 18,2018. The tabloid has remained consistent in newsstands ever since, expanding its platforms to include a daily e-paper, circulated globally and a vibrant website.
DAILY ASSET Holds Round Table to Mark 5th Anniversary
By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja
The management of Asset Newspapers Limited (Publishers of DAILY ASSET) has released a programme for the celebration of the company’s fifth anniversary, having commenced operations on June 12, 2017.
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of the Newspaper company, Dr Cletus Akwaya, in a statement in Abuja at weekend, said the Management has decided to host a Round Table on “The Media, National Economy, Politics and 2023 Elections”.
It said frontline media experts, academics and professionals will participate at the Round Table, which objective is to bring into focus the role of the media in the management of the nation’s economy and politics in the 2023 election circle.
It said senior government officials and political gladiators have been invited for the event alongside traditional rulers and leading private sector players.
The event, according to the statement, will come up on Thursday, June 23, 2022 at the prestigious NICON Luxury Hotel in the Central District of Abuja.
“Since its inception, DAILY ASSET has continued to make its mark in shaping public policy and interrogating government decisions and actions in the overall patriotic duty it has chosen for itself. This roundtable is in furtherance of that self assigned responsibility for the Nigerian people,” the statement said.
Akwaya, who was former Commissioner of Information and until recently a frontline Governorship Aspirant in Benue State, said the Newspaper’s management chose to celebrate its Anniversary in a manner that would be beneficial to the people of Nigeria rather than the traditional format of merrymaking, which usually characterised such events.
He said the Newspaper had weathered the heavy storm and launched itself into the Mainstream of Nigeria media industry and was determined to continue to play its role in spite of the many challenges.
The statement said the Newspaper company wished to use the occasion to showcase its numerous achievements during the last five years and also reassure its various stakeholders of its readiness to march with greater confidence into the future.
DAILY ASSET hit the newsstands in June 12, 2017 as a national weekly tabloid published in Abuja, the nation’s capital and distributed nationwide.
The paper began daily circulation on November 19, 2018 and has remained on the newsstands ever since.
The paper has a robust online platform- dailyasset.ng and in addition to the printed version also issues an e-paper, which circulates to readers all over the World in the cyberspace.
The paper’s annual awards ceremony has become a must attend function of its kind by decision makers on account of its high quality organisation and success in the last five times it was organised.
C’River NAWOJ Donates Food, Clothing to Afokang Correctional Centre
The Nigeria Association of Women Journalists (NAWOJ) in Cross River Wednesday donated food items, beverages and clothing to female inmates in Aforkang Correctional Centre, Calabar.
The association made the donation in collaboration with Stand up for Women Society (SWS) when the two groups visited the centre.
In a brief remark, the Chairperson of NAWOJ, Mrs Umo Bassey, who led her members on the visit, said they were at the centre “to show love to those who feel neglected by society”.
Bassey, who also doubles as the Chairperson of SWS, appealed to the inmates to also share love among one another and see themselves as one big family.
“You have a bright future because God still sees and knows your plight and would ensure that you regain your freedom in due time,” she said.
Receiving the items, the Deputy Controller of Corrections at the centre, Anyamele Don, thanked NAWOJ and SWS for coming to identify with the female inmates.
Don expressed concern over the inadequate facilities at the centre to mee the needs of the inmates.
He said: “With at least 500 inmates, some barely have mattresses to sleep on.
“I call for more support and appeal to other groups and well-meaning individuals to emulate NAWOJ and SWS.”
Some of the inmates, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, expressed joy over the gifts.
They thanked NAWOJ and SWS for remembering them in their moment of agony. (NAN)
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