A University Don, Professor Anthony Kola-Olusanya, has advised Journalists to be more critical in the appraisal of government and not depart from the major role of holding public officials accountable.
The Professor of Environment and Sustainability from Osun state University, spoke as a guest speaker at a public lecture organised by the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, NUJ, in Osogbo, on Wednesday.
Kola-Olusanya who is an activist and the Director, Inter-campus and Public Affairs, UNIOSUN, spoke on the theme: “Democracy @20: Analyzing Emerging Trends in Nigeria’s Democratic Journey.
He expressed concern over what he described as fraternity with the government by the press that supposed to hold them accountable, warning that it is dangerous for democracy.
He said, “Corruption has taken over everywhere. The press should go beyond just reporting. The press is beginning to move to the power and it means the democratic experience is in danger.
“The idea that press today is beginning to shift to the side of the government is dangerous. We hardly see critical criticism like we see in the military era.
“The essence of critical journalism is to help the government itself to know where the government is failing or likely to fail. We must not be seen to against the government so that people will not see us as enemy of the government.
“The nation must move forward. the press must stand up beyond just celebrating democracy every year. There is need to move to the higher institution and partner with them to organise event for the younger ones and discuss contemporary and global issues.
He commended the role of Journalists in the struggle for democracy, including those that have died, wondering what would have happened if there was no press in the struggle for democracy.
The state Governor, Mr Gboyega Oyetola, described Nigeria democracy as a developing one, insisting that democracy should not be condemned.
Oyetola who was represented by the Head of Service, Dr. Olowogboyega Oyebade, said, “Nigeria’s democracy can be said to be in tertiary institutions waiting for graduation. We should not assume that everything failed.
He commended the Correspondents in Osun state for the role they played in the past elections, saying that his government welcome objective criticism.
The Director of Voters’ Education, Ven Stephen Ojewande, who represented the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, Mr Olusegun Agbaje, described vote buying as a trending issue that must be jointly fight.
“Vote buying is alarming in Nigeria, though not limited to Nigeria. Osun state was able to curb vote buying unlike before when it was done in open. Those that came through vote buying should not be bold to be the representative of the people.
According to Ojewande, the inconclusive election is not a recent thing in Nigeria democracy. He said politicians are only using the method by destroying election or kidnapping an electoral officer, to ensure that elections are cancelled where they are not popular.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Chairman of NUJ Correspondents’ Chapel, Mr. Olaniyi Ajibola, said the statutory obligation of newsmen as fourth estate of the realm necessitated the lecture.
“As newsmen, we observe, report, and regularly analyze, investigate and probe the pattern of democratic governance through the mirror of human capital development and physical growth. It is on that basis that we set agenda for public discourse and national conversation for the purpose of holding the political class accountable to the people.
The Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbduRasheed Adewale Akanbi, encouraged the youths to move from the old way of doing things.
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