Guerrilla Effort Of Nigerian Irrepressible Journalists Contributed To The Democracy We Enjoy Today – Osibanjo

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has praised the
Nigerian media for its contribution to the general development of the Nigerian
government and society, noting that “the democracy we enjoy today would not
have been possible without the guerrilla efforts of some of our finest and most
irrepressible journalists”.
The Vice President spoke in Lagos today at a forum on ‘Media
Renewal in Nigeria’ organized to mark the 50th birthday
of ace broadcaster, Kadaria Ahmed.
Prof. Osinbajo who commended the invaluable
contributions of journalists to the growth of Nigeria from the colonial days
through the military era to the present democratic dispensation, said “the
Nigerian press is and has always been one of the most vibrant in the world”.
According to him, “You can always take it for granted
that no matter the intensity of the clampdown on press freedom in Nigeria there
will always be a prominent group of journalists who will refuse to be cowed,
and will seize every tool at their disposal to hold the authorities to account.
“This will be as true a century from today as it was
in the 1990s. Indeed, the democracy we enjoy today would not have been possible
without the guerrilla efforts of some of our finest and most irrepressible
journalists.”
Commenting on the present administration’s recognition
of the media’s role in society and contributions to the advancement of media
practice, Prof. Osinbajo said, “there is probably now greater access to
information and freedom of expression than ever before in our history.”
Prof. Osinbajo, however, observed that in view of
contemporary challenges coupled with innovations in technology, “influencers
must set bigger targets,” in order to keep emphasizing the media’s positive
impact on society.
He added that “a return to basic principles and the
re-discovering of an understanding of media’s place in society, among others”
would be critical to repositioning media practice in Nigeria.
According to Prof. Osinbajo, “we are at a point where
outrage at wrongdoing is severely low. The press as crusaders for justice or
against corruption seems like a vintage matter.”
The Vice President added that paying more attention to
the education and the welfare of journalists are also central to repositioning
the media.
He linked the current challenges in the media on what
he termed, “crisis of confidence, borne partly of its own errors or failures
and partly out of circumstances outside its control.’’
Relating the challenges of media practice to problems
affecting other spheres of the Nigerian society, Prof. Osinbajo said, “the
Nigerian press has had to deal with the same circumstances that have undermined
virtually every institution in the country in the last few decades.’’
According to him, “If faith in the media appears to be
at an all-time low, it is because public faith in all institutions is very
likely at an all-time low. Politics and politicians are probably even worse
off. So, as always, context is necessary, especially in these troubled times.”
Citing the example of the crisis of corruption and
lack of integrity as being systemic, Prof. Osinbajo said, “Every institution is
infected. In some senses, the judiciary and the press have similar functions,
the outcomes of courts of justice and the court of public opinion, depends on
who presides. It is possible for the corruption trial of the affluent
politician to be kept almost completely out of the press.”
The Vice President also joined other guests at the
event to present scholarships to beneficiaries in higher institutions across
the country and the public presentation of a book in honour of Mrs Kadaria
Ahmed.

Dignitaries at the event include the wife of Kaduna
State governor, Hajiya Hadiza El-rufai; Businessman and philanthropist, Dr Wale
Babalakin, SAN; Chairman of Channels Television, Mr John Momoh and his wife;
family and friends of the celebrant.
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