By Gabriel Olawale
Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, yesterday, expressed concern over the excesses of new media in the country and urged Nigeria Guild of Editors to salvage the situation. He said this on a day former Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan, called for more cooperation among public office holders in the country, irrespective of their political affiliation.
They spoke at the commissioning of the Nigerian Guild of Editors House in Lagos. The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Mohammed, expressed worry over the excesses of new media and called on the Nigeria Guild of Editors to salvage the situation.
Mohammed, who hinted that the media space had been taken over by all kinds of new media, said: “the Nigeria Guild of Editors must find a way of embracing them, even though they did not meet the criteria to be members.
‘But in as much as they push out content for general public to consume, the Guild of Editors should find a way of making them embrace the rules of fairness and objectivity in whatever they are doing so that we can have a better society.”
The Minister, who was represented by the Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, tasked the Guild of Editors on media award censorship.
He said: “The Guild should take control of all series of awards being given to journalists in the country. In other societies, it is the media people who grade themselves, not external people and the Guild should be in a position to do so.”
Uduaghan seeks cooperation among public office holders
In his remarks, Dr. Uduaghan, explained that while in office as governor, he enjoyed the cooperation of neighbouring states to cut cost of governance.
He said this will help in reduceing the cost of governance.
He said: “For instance, if Mr. President is going to a particular state, it is expected of that state government to provide bulletproof cars that looks like Mr. President’s official cars. If not, the President will not be allowed to visit that state.
“But that doesn’t mean every state must have bulletproof cars. If your neighbouring state has it, you can borrow and return it after the President had left, after all the President’s visit is not often.”
Uduaghan recalled how his government usually borrowed public address systems from Cross River State while he was in office as governor.
“As at the time we built the hall that the Guild of Editors used for their programme in Asaba, the state did not have a public address system. ‘But we knew that Cross River State had one, so each time we needed it, we went there to borrow because that kind of public address system is very expensive, the same thing with Governor Adams Oshiomole of Edo State. We enjoyed good relationship, even though we are not in the same party.
“So, we had that kind of cooperation and that is what we are advocating for in cutting cost of governance. There must be cooperation among states, it does not matter whether you are from the same political party or not.”
On her part, President of Nigeria Guild of Editors, Funke Egbemode, who recounted how the association had been coping in the last 55 years before the actualisation of the newly commissioned house in Lagos, said her predecessors remained the secret behind the actualisation of the project.
She said: “My predecessors did all the heavy lifting. Late Oluremi Oyo; Baba Halilu Dantiye, Gbenga Adefaye of Vanguard Newspaper, who started the plan, Femi Adesina, who took the plan from the drawing board and planted it firmly on the ground to Garba Deen Muhammed, who put finishing touches to the plan, you have all written your names in gold.
“Aside the newly commissioned building here in Lagos, we have a fenced 6,000 square metres of prime property just outside Asokoro in Abuja. Our deepest gratitude goes to the federal government, state governments, men and institutions that helped us to realize this dream and made this day possible.”