BY MIKE EBOH
The Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, has called on the President and security agencies to urgently address the rising insecurity in Nigeria and ensure the protection of lives and property across the length and breadth of the country.
The NGE, in a 10-point communiqué issued at the end of the 7th All Nigeria Editors Conference in Benin City, Edo State, signed by Mr. Gbenga Adefaye and Femi Adesina, President, NGE and Chairman Conference Committee respectively, said that insecurity is a threat to Nigeria’s democracy and general well-being, urging the government to employ dialogue where necessary and deal decisively with any act of criminal breach of security.
The NGE also advised that issues provoking ethnic and religious crisis be addressed, especially indigene/settler dichotomy, saying that residency should determine the rights and privileges of the citizens.
The NGE lamented the high cost of governance in Nigeria and called on all tiers of government to work towards ensuring a significant reduction in the costs.
According to the communiqué, the high cost of governance which invariably hobbles the deepening of democracy in the country is avoidable and all tiers of government should work assiduously towards reducing it drastically.
The communiqué states further that “All democratic institutions, organs and machinery should be strengthened by stakeholders to achieve the desire of sustainable democracy.
“That poverty, illiteracy, injustice and fraudulent elections constitute threats to our democracy and the state should strive to exterminate them.”
Continuing, the NGE agreed that: “There was an appreciable improvement in the conduct of the 2011 elections and the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, is urged to strive to achieve best practices in the electoral process.
“The local government as the third tier of government should remain but must be strengthened by expunging the vexatious sections of the constitution that list them while the states should be given full powers to legislate on the structure, composition and administration of council areas.
“Editors should always probe beyond the advertised purpose of any policy initiative to ensure that they are in the interest of the people.
“The editors should be in the vanguard of promoting National unity and integration. They should deny access to those who seek to use the media to fan embers of ethnicity and divisive politics.”
The NGE applauded the transformational programmes of Governor Adams Oshiomhole, urging the Governor to keep it up, while they expressed appreciation to him for his decision to host the conference.
The 7th All Nigeria Editors Conference of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, was held in Benin City, Edo state from September 21 to 24, 2011, with the theme: “Deepening our Democracy: The role of the Editor.”
The keynote address was delivered by the Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission INEC, Prof Attahiru Jega, while the host Governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, at the opening, stressed the need to deepen democracy by ensuring that it delivers dividends to the masses.
The former Governor of Cross River State, Donald Duke, spoke on “True Autonomy for the Local Government’; the former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir El-Rufai addressed the editors on “Perspectives on the Cost of Governance in Nigeria”.
the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) spoke on the ‘Danger Signals to Nigerian Democracy’; while Ambassador Dapo Fafowora treated the subject of ‘Geography, Power and Politics in Nigeria.’
Apart from the editors, other key participants at the conference included the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Alhaji Waziri Tambuwal, Governor Raji Fashola of Lagos states, the representative of the Sokoto state Governor and Commissioner of Information Mallam Dahiru Maishanu, Governor Peter Obi of Anambra represented by his Commissioner of Economic Planning Professor Stella Okunna, Members of the Senate Committee on Information led by Senator Enyinaya Abaribe, veteran journalists such as Mr. Sam Amuka , Chief Segun Osoba and Mr. Ray Ekpu among others.