By Chris Onuoha
Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, to President Muhammadu Buhari, Femi Adeshina, has said that the relationship between the media and Federal Government will have a facelift as Government guarantees sincerity in commitment to upholding press freedom.
Adeshina stated this at the public presentation of the first two volumes of a book entitled, “Nigerian Media Leaders: Voices beyond the Newsroom, “ written by Mr Richard Ikiebe held at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Lagos. He said that President Muhammadu Buhari recognised the media as an ally and a critical partner in nation building, and was in the know that without collaborating with the press, government’s developmental agenda would not have proper visibility.
Speaking, he said, “The former military ruler, who had enacted Decree 4, meant to gag and shackle the press in the performance of its legitimate duties, is now a converted democrat, and champion of freedom of that same press, seeing the institution as a vital building block in national development.
President Muhammadu Buhari, has turned full circle to see the media as allies, critical partners in the quest to build a worthy new Nigeria, a country that can hold its head high in the comity of nations. “The Nigerian media has always played critical roles at different epochs in the history of the country.
We can recall the roles played by Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Ernest Ikoli, Anthony Enahoro, Mokwugo Okoye, and many others, in the march towards political independence, using the instrumentality of the media.” Adeshina said.
The presidential aide confirmed that Buhari’s democratic convictions have also come with a realization, understanding and appreciation of the roles of a free media in the evolution of a new Nigeria, while asking for the right hand of fellowship of the media.
However, Adeshina assured media practitioners of Federal Government’s sincerity by striving to engender an environment that encourages freedom of the press. He however, bemoans the unforeseen manner at which some quarters of media demonstrated what he calls “efficacy of the Nigeria media, which despite all the temptations to bend narratives and propagate untruths, still lent itself as a platform for the expression of the masses’ voice.”
“This government would appreciate such constructive criticisms, and so does not seek a media that is in bed with officialdom, but desires one that is a partner, not a forsworn adversary.” He said. While commending the author , he said that Richard Ikiebe has written books which promises to be a significant milestone in the annals of journalism in Nigeria.
The chairman of the occasion and former Chairman of Punch Newspapers, Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, commended the School of Media Communication, Nigerian Guild of Editors who are the sponsors and also thanked the author Richard Ikiebe for writing such a book that covers 50 years of journalism practice in Nigeria.
He said, “Richard has given us template for media practice to follow with examples in the volume 1 and 2. Others volumes of the book to come, as confided to me by him, will be dedicated to media scholars and primary stakeholders in media industry.”
Earlier in their remarks, Gbenga Adefaye, Vanguard’s GM and former Chairman Nigeria Guild of Editors, Frank Aigbogun, Publisher, BusinessDay Newspapers and Chairman, Advisory Board of CleJ, all stressed in same voice,the importance of media and need for proper documentation of the history of the journalism profession.
They also lauds the School of Media and Communication, Pan Atlantic University and Centre for Leadership in Journalism (CLeJ) and earnestly canvassed support for CLeJ and its initiatives. In the same vein, The Vice Chancellor, Pan Atlantic University, Prof. Juan Elegido emphasized that more efforts should be put on professional practice in journalism which according to him, perhaps, from 40 years from now, people will be talking about the impact of the book.
Dignitaries at the occasion are Chief Ajibola Ogunshola, former Chairman, Punch Newspapers, Aremu Olusegun Osoba, former Governor, Ogun State; Sam Amuka, Publisher Vanguard Newspapers, Femi Adesina, Special Adviser (Media) to President Muhammadu Buhari; Dr. Doyin Abiola, former chairman, rested Concord Newspapers, Haruna Muhammed, Publisher New Nigerian Newspapers, ; Frank Aigbogun, Publisher, BusinessDay Newspapers; Gbenga Adefaye, General Manager /Editor-in-Chief, Vanguard Newspapers; Ray Ekpu, Sonny and Betty Irabor;
Others are Alhaji Lai Mohammed, National Publicity Secretary of All Progressive Congress, Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe, Prof. Juan Elegido, Vice Chancellor, Pan-Atlantic University, Vincent Maduka; Christopher Kolade ,Clem Baiye and many others.