June 17, 2024

Speak truth to power, hold leaders accountable – University don to journalists

A former Deputy Vice Chancellor of the Federal University, Oye Ekiti, Professor Shola Omotola has tasked journalists in Nigeria to always speak truth to power.

He urged them to hold political leaders accountable for the stewardship if genuine development must take place in the country.

The university don spoke in a paper presented at a retreat held by the Senate Press Corps at Keffi, Nasarawa State on Saturday.

In the paper titled ‘Developmental Impact of the Executive on Nigeria’s Democracy, 1999 – 2024’, Omotola said successive elected governments at the federal level since May 1999 have, by policy formulation and execution, tried to effect development across the sectors but failed in the area of poverty alleviation.

He opined that the inability of past democratic administrations to tackle poverty effectively has made the concept of democracy and the yearning of the people defective over the years.

According to him, the theme of the retreat, ‘Democracy and Development: How far, so far, for Nigeria?’, is very apt, timely and cogent.

He said: “Democracy and development are inextricably interconnected and must flow together – the very reason why journalists in Nigeria need to speak truth to power in making it so in Nigeria.

“Development is basically about the people reaching an acceptable standard of living, having the basic things on which they need to live decently – housing, shelter, clothing, food – nutritionally balanced diet, potable water, clean environment, etc.

“All hindrances to these in Nigeria from corruption to bad policies etc need to be exposed from time to time by journalists who are the watchdogs of the society.”

Omotola however added that for Nigeria to have sustained the practice of democracy for more than 24 years, while still remaining as an entity, show that development would surely follow.

In his remarks at the retreat, the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio represented by Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Yemi Adaramodu, APC Ekiti South, said the Senate under his leadership would not deny any journalist access to information for ventilation to the larger society as provided for, by the Freedom of Information Act.

Also the Clerk to the National Assembly, Sani Magaji Tambawal, represented by Secretary, Research and Information, Mr Ali Umar, said since democracy provides a more favourable environment for development, the management of the National Assembly will continue to provide conducive working environment for journalists, for very balanced and objective reportage.

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