Akpabio assures optimal cooperation with journalists

Sharon EboesomiApril 29, 20244 min
Godswill Akpabio, President of the Senate

Akpabio urges Nigerians to give up sentimental thinking and behaviour in order to progress democracy and prosperity

Democracy- Akpabio assures optimal cooperation with journalists

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, has assured cooperation with journalists seeking information under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act.

Represented by the Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Yemi Adaramodu (APC, Ekiti South), he stated that the Senate under his leadership would not refuse any journalist access to information for ventilation to the larger society as provided for by the FOI Act.

This assurance was given in a paper presentation on Saturday, 27th April, 2024, during a retreat in Al-Vari Hotel, Keffi, Nasarawa State. The theme of the retreat, “Democracy and Development: How far, So far, for Nigeria?” was organised by the Senate Press Corp. 

Also present at the retreat was the Clerk of the National Assembly, Sani Magaji Tambawal, represented by the Secretary, Research and Information, Ali Umar who made it clear that since Democracy provides a more favourable environment for development, management of the National Assembly will continue to provide conducive working environment for journalists for very balanced and objective reportage.

According to the Chairman, Senate Committee on Public Accounts, Senator Ahmed Aliyu Wadada (SDP, Nasarawa West), Nigerians must learn to be “our brother’s keeper” and give up sentimental thinking and behaviour in order to progress democracy and prosperity. 

“Discriminatory tendencies among Nigerians of all ages and status must stop, for genuine development to take place and for the country to remain more united and peaceful,” he said.

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In his paper presentation on “Developmental Impact of the Executive on Nigeria’s Democracy, 1999-2024,” Professor Shola Omotola, a former deputy vice chancellor of Federal University, Oye Ekiti, noted that in order for genuine development to flow with democracy in Nigeria, journalists must speak truth to power and hold those in positions of authority accountable to the people.

He claimed that since May 1999, several elected governments at the federal level have attempted to promote development in all spheres through the creation and implementation of policies, but have fallen short in the attempt to eradicate or significantly reduce poverty.

According to him, development—a crucial aspect of democracy—has been conspicuously absent from Nigeria throughout the years due to the inability of succeeding governments to adequately address the country’s poverty rate.

He said, “The theme of the retreat, Democracy and Development: How far, So far, for Nigeria is, therefore, very apt, timely and cogent. 

“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, portable 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,” he said.

He did, however, add that the fact that Nigeria has maintained democracy for more than 24 years, implies that progress will certainly ensue.

Sharon Eboesomi

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