Biggest threat to the nation’s democracy is the prevailing extreme monetization of politics and political process by some Nigeria political actors.
Delivering a lecture, titled, Re-engaging the Media for Credible Democracy at the 2022 annual press week celebration of the Correspondents’ Chapel of the Kwara state chapter of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Ilorin on Wednesday, a former minister of Sports and Youth Development, Mallam Bolaji Abdulahi, said that politicians had nearly turned political process to a business transaction.
Mallam Abdulahi, who said that the development had brought out all manner of people canvassing for elective offices, added that it is capable of making electorate poorer and miserable in the long run.
“When politicians pay people to vote for them, the act has taken away capability of the people to decide who govern them. And I think it is the same as soldiers using gun to be in power and politicians using power of dollars to be in power”, he said.
Mallam Abdulahi, who said that the quality of journalism in the country is a reflection of the nation’s democracy, added, however, that journalism should be able to deepen the nation’s democracy.
“Journalists should be able play constitutional roles as enshrined in the nation’s Constitution. That is, media practitioners should be able to hold government accountable for adequate provision of education, job opportunity, security, corrupt practices and abuse of power”.
He also said that the constitutional rights of journalists are not sufficient to play expected roles in deepening the nation’s democracy, adding that it is the ability and capability of journalists to act in exercising the rights.
Also speaking at the event, a legal luminary, Prince Lateef Fagbemi SAN, who was represented by Professor Wahab Egbewole SAN, called for restructuring of journalism practice ahead of the 2023 elections.
”Journalists are regarded as watchdogs, hence their role in electioneering process can’t be underestimated. We need to call attention to what journalists should be doing for setting agenda for 2023.
”There is need for restructuring of journalism practice in Nigeria because you must report what is seen and not what the news maker wants to be reported.
”We also need to leverage on technology because as journalists, you are working well but other users of social media platforms are bastardizing the ethics of the profession.
Professor Fagbemi also said that it was also important that journalists separate themselves from premodial sentiments beclouding the country like ethnicity and religion.
”Journalists also need to strive to maintain impartiality, independence and balance”, Fagbemi said.
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