Imo State Governor, Senator Hope Uzodimma, and his Delta counterpart, Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, have charged the Nigeria media to keep upholding the virtue of objectivity in their reportage of national issues.
They spoke at the Political Economist Merit Awards ceremony in Lagos on Thursday, April 6, 2023, which was highlighted by the public presentation of a book titled “Nigeria Heroes and Sheroes: Diary of a Journalist of Courage” authored by Mr. Ken Ugbechie, publisher of Political Economist NG.
Uzodimma, who was represented by the state’s Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr. Declan Emelumba, commended the media for its role in advancing democracy in Nigeria. He, however, charged the media to be bold to applaud public officials when they do the right and constructively criticise them when they get it wrong, adding: “That is the best way to achieve objectivity in reporting.”
He recalled that when members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors visited Imo State late last year for their annual conference, many of the editors were bold enough to report the development milestones achieved by his administration. He referenced one of the articles by Ugbechie in his book as one of the by-products of that visit.
He commended Ugbechie for his frankness, adding that with his knowledge of what his government is doing in Imo, he was able to express an objective opinion on the state of Imo in his book, stressing that it takes courage to say it as it is rather than go with the bandwagon of social media commentaries.
Governor Okowa, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Festus Agas, thanked the media for being a partner in development. He attributed the success recorded by his government to the good partnership offered by the media.
Ebonyi State governor, Dave Umahi, represented by his Media Adviser, Mr Chooks Oko, lauded the media for helping to tell Ebonyi story from the perspective of eye-witness account. He said the accounts on Ebonyi State and his government captured in the book was based on the first hand witness and observation of the author, adding that it takes a journalist of courage to report facts as they are rather than twist facts to please a mob of critics.
The author of the book, Mr. Ugbechie, said his work was meant to celebrate development. He said the objective of the book was to celebrate those who dare, applaud those who overcome, censure those who fall off the cliff of decency and nobility just so they will learn, unlearn and moult themselves of their garment of villainy.
The Executive Vice Chairman of the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Prof. Umar Garba Danbatta; the Chairman of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Brig-Gen Buba Marwa (Rtd); the Minister of Works and Housing, Barr. Babatunde Fashola; and the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Maj-Gen Barry Tariye Ndiomu, were among recipients of merit awards.