Michael Olanrewaju, Ilorin
Media organizations and journalists in the country has been charged to be alive to their responsibilities as society watchdog and agenda setters for the public office holders in the country.
The call was made by the publisher and editor in chief of the Kwara State based Newspapers ( Fresh Insight ) Mr AbdulRasheed Akogun at the fifth anniversary symposium of the publishing organization, held at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Ilorin, Kwara State.
According to him “The last couple of years have seen us as a team, doggedly sticking with our founding principles and this has, to put it mildly, seen us being faced with denials, refusals, and stereotyping, even physical attacks, among several others. Rather than be daunted however, it has further toughened us to continue on the divinely ordained journey of societal surgery through journalism”
“This stand has led us to junctures where we were faced with rhetorical questions often times by genuine admirers cum sympathisers and at other times frenemies.”
He added that, although, the responsibilities comes with various challenges but, all the difficulties can be conquered with sincerity of purpose and consistency.
“The JAMB question has always been, are you into publishing for fun or to make money? You can not continue with your anti-government editorial policies and expect to break even, not to talk of making profit”
“By being anti-government, they mean our principled editorial policy which places premium on fighting for the societal good as against comraderie dance with glaring anti-masses forces”
“I marvel at how they all seem to have lost or chose to ignore the elementary purpose of government and governance as defined by James Clyburn, the US Congressman when he said the sole purpose of government is to “establish Justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
“This unambiguous definition shows that rather than those standing with the established principles of the society being labeled anti-government, it is actually the power mongers, the insatiable elites and their co-travellers that are anti-government, if the Nigerian reality of today is to relied upon”
“I must at this juncture emphasise that government belongs to the governed and not those governing, so whoever stands with the governed against oppression is actually pro-government (the masses) and not the other way round”
“Smarting from this reality, we’ve mastered the art and act of outliving the doomsday without tinkering with our principled stand of being the amplifier of the voiceless voices against any artificial clog and all other inhibitive and exploitative tendencies, through our pen” he said.
While doing justification for the theme of the anniversary, “Kwara: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow” the guest lecturer, who is also the Director General (DG) of National Broadcasting Commission, Mallam Is’haq Modibbo Kawu charged the people to support the present government in the state for better tomorrow.
Accordingly him “as a citizen of Kwara state; a citizen that feels a tremendous gratitude to our state and all the opportunities Kwara state gave me, to be educated; to work, and to become a professional in the media, as well as to begin to impact upon life. The story of our state started on May 27, 1967. I am very lucky to have lived through the entire history of our state”
“I have lived through some of the most impressive phases of the development of Kwara State; periods that spoke to a genuine commitment to the development of the structures of our state as well as of its various peoples”
“There was no area of development that was not witnessing incremental development, in those early years of our state. Health care facilities were opened all over; agricultural programs inherited from the old Northern Regional government were not only maintained, but improved upon”
He, however, affirmed confidence about the future of the state under the present leadership.
“Am I hopeful about our future? Absolutely! I think that on balance, the factors of progress weigh far more positively than those of reaction. And in my lived experience as a citizen and son of our state, I have seen enough; lived through the crest and the trough; to insist that our future can only be bright” he said