From Tony John, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, to stop stoking embers of disharmony and divisions in the polity with his utterances and allegations against members of opposing political parties.
The governor stated this yesterday, while declaring open the 13th All Nigeria Editors’ Conference (ANEC) 2017, in Port Harcourt, and gave reasons why Nigeria is in crisis
“We are only pretending; we think all is well with our country. The country is in crisis as poor governance, nepotism, marginalisation and state-sponsored repression continue to do violence to national unity and cohesion.
“At times like this, the country needs forthright leadership to steer the ship of state from the wrong direction it is headed, to safer grounds. Nigerians of goodwill must, therefore, call the minister of Information to stop stoking embers of disharmony and divisions in the policy, with his utterances and allegations against members of opposing political parties.”
The governor pointed out that by his (Mohammed) utterances, the minister allegedly implied that it was the then opposition which sponsored Boko Haram operations during the administration of former President, Goodluck Jonathan.
He said clamour for political restructuring, fiscal federalism, state police and guarantee for free and fair elections, have never been determined across the country.
The governor said the call would never go away, and pointed out that it was becoming clearer by the day, that to ignore the call is pretentiously dangerous to the unity and peaceful co-existence of the country.
Said Wike: “For some of us, therefore, there is nothing nobler than being counted on this path and as long as God gives us breath, we shall remain in the trenches, fighting for our democratic rights and freedoms, until victory is achieved.
“But, we also believe that this is a fight that should and must be led by the media, for full effect and agenda setting. This calls for greater vigilance and courage in giving effective voice to the contending issues and taking personal responsibility for factuality. It cannot be otherwise.”
He regretted that despite the monumental achievements of his administration, the opposition in the state has continued to undermine development, with tacit support from the Federal Government and a politically-inclined police.
“Therefore, when a supposed opposition goes beyond the bounds of decency, in conjuring lies to rubbish and undermine every effort of ours to serve and advance the progress of the state, then, the media owes society the duty to investigate and expose their mischievous intentions with the facts at their disposal.
“At any rate, those who live in glass houses, they say, should avoid throwing stones. As our representatives in the federal government, are they not responsible for attracting development projects to Rivers State?”
Thereafter, the governor outlined the achievements of his administration.
Earlier, in her address, President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, Mrs Funke Egbemode, said this year, editors would focus on how to reinvent the journalism profession and make it profitable for practitioners and society.
She said: “This year, it is all about us, our profession, our fate and our economy, as we navigate the testy thirsty waters that threaten to sweep us into a fast-moving current. ANEC is for us to assess where we are and find a way to safety.
“Ours is a besieged and beleaguered industry. Both the profession and the professionals are not in a good place right now. The recession may be receding in other sectors, but, in the media, it is not.
“Our recession predates the nationally-recognised one. We have been in a bad place for a long time and, right now, we can feel the ground shift under our shaking legs.
“Other sectors get intervention funds and bailouts but, what do we get? We are constantly reminded of our social responsibility and our roles in national security.” Chairman of the conference, Mallam Ismaila Funtua, in his opening remarks, urged editors to promote professionalism for the good of the country.
Publisher of ThisDay Newspapers, Prince Nduka Obiagbena, called on media managers to develop strong brands to overcome the challenge posed by the existence of the social media.
The 13th editors’ conference has as its theme: “Balancing professionalism, advocacy and business.”
Hundreds of editors, from the 36 states of the Federation are in Port Harcourt, for the three days conference.
Meanwhile, Wike has said investments in science research institutions would help revive the country’s economy.
Wike said this during a courtesy visit by the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, at Government House in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
The governor said a diversified economy would create employment opportunities for the people.
“We must sustain the development of technology for the growth of the country. I urge that we begin to use research reports from science institutes to attain the desired growth.
“The development of relevant machinery and equipment will help create jobs locally and enhance the economy.”
The governor commended the minister for establishing the Chemical Equipment and Machinery Development Institute in Port Harcourt.
He said the minister had exhibited maturity by siting the project in the state, pointing out that other ministers would have been influenced by political considerations.
Wike directed the Administrator of Greater Port Harcourt City Development Authority to liaise with the Ministry of Science and Technology for the allocation of land for the institute.
Earlier, Dr Onu said the institute is part of the process to build a knowledge-based economy that would sustain the country and added that over-reliance on oil and gas has made it difficult for the country’s economy to grow, in view of emerging realities.
“The decision has been made to make Nigeria an innovation-driven economy. We are determined to work hard to ensure this succeeds.
“If there is a problem with oil, we will still strive,” said Onu.
For us to do this, we need to build capacity, look inwards and use our natural resources in ways that will improve our economy.”
The minister said the state plays important role in the chemical and petrochemical sector of the nation’s economy.
“We want the institute to be a centre of excellence in the chemical and petrochemical sector of the nation’s economy. The results of the research will be available to the private sector. We will be in a position to grow our economy,” he said. (The Sun)