…The worst is over – Lai Mohammed
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Governor Akinwunmi Ambode of Lagos State has urged Nigeria media on the need to embrace partnership as an option for the growth and development of the country, saying recession was not a crime but a period for government at all levels to re-arrange its expenditure and give priority to capital expenditure.
Ambode gave the charge, yesterday, while declaring open the biennial convention of the Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, in Ikeja, Lagos, held under the theme, “A Nation in Recession: Whither the Nigerian Media?”
Ambode said, “We may serve in different arms of the society but we all share a common goal which is to make our country better.
“One of the major responsibilities of the media is to advance the cause of good governance. Whilst free media is at the heart of true democracy, our focus should be how the media can more effectively support this agenda.
“Your role in this pursuit of resilience, therefore, is to lend the needed support in bringing our noble efforts to public consciousness. With your vital partnership, we are hopeful that other governments can borrow a leaf from the Lagos Model and translate same in their respective domains to promote good governance to the greater benefit of humanity.”
While commending the Guild of Editors for its outstanding accomplishments and contributions to the growth and development of the media and free speech in Nigeria, Governor Ambode tasked the media to live up to its major responsibility of advancing the cause of good governance.
“Your role in this pursuit of resilience, therefore, is to lend the needed support in bringing our noble efforts to public consciousness. With your vital partnership, we are hopeful that other governments can borrow a leaf from the Lagos Model and translate same in their respective domains to promote good governance to the greater benefit of humanity,” he said.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, blamed the media for sensationalizing recession, saying most Nigerians barely understood what recession is due to the wrong view presented by the media.
Mohammed, however, assured Nigerians that the country is clawing out of the woods of recession in weeks from now as the worst appeared to be over.
Represented by the Managing Director of News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, he said: “The media owe it a duty to adequately educate Nigerians on the recession phenomenon, explaining to them how the nation’s economy slid into recession, what the government is doing to alleviate the sufferings association with recession, how the government is trying to get the nation out of recession, among others.
“What is incontrovertible is that most Nigerians have barely understood what a recession is, and that is no thanks to the media. Instead of defining and contextualizing recession, the media have engaged more in blame game and finger pointing. This has not helped the situation.
“The media have not also been able to carry Nigerians along vis-a-vis what the government is doing to restore the economy to the path of growth and ease the pains accompanying an economic downturn.
“While it is not the business of the media to colour the truth, it is their business to say the truth at all times.
“It is important, therefore, for the media to quit the blame game and educate/inform Nigerians on the efforts being made to end the recession. Informing the people that the government is working hard to end the recession will go a long way to give hope to the people. After all it is said that if you keep hope alive, it will keep you alive.’’