Nigeria Union of Journalists(NUJ), Enugu state Council, has conferred on the Governor of Enugu State, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, with the award of ” the Most Media friendly Governor in Enugu state “award .
At the event held on Friday at the Dome event centre, Enugu, the state chairman of NUJ, Comrade Sam Udekwe, described Governor Ugwuanyi as an “icon of peace”, who had yearned for a peaceful community of Journalists in the state since inception of his administration in 2015.
He continues, “Today, we can stand tall and identify ourselves as the Enugu journalists ,due to the serendipity of the serene environment of peace embraced by members and resultant intervention by the icon of peace, His Excellency, the governor, Rt. Hon. Dr. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who had yearned for a peaceful community of Journalists in the state since inception of his administration in 2015,” Udekwe said.
He recalled that during his courtesy visit to the Governor on inception of office as NUJ chairman, he made three requests to the Governor ,namely, renovation of the Unity hall, approval of monthly subvention and provision of utility bus.
“As we speak, we have been enjoying the subvention since April,2022. The Unity hall is not only renovated , the entire Enugu Press Centre secretariat building has been reconstructed and deserved a new name, which we just unveiled a while ago. It is now elegantly standing and befittingly located at the Four- Arm zone of the capital city,” Udekwe said.
He thanked Governor Ugwuanyi for his kind gesture to NUJ. Udekwe also thanked the political class in Enugu for the peaceful conducts of their primaries and urged them to replicate same during the general elections.
He congratulated the national president of NUJ, Comrade Chris Isiguzo on his recent triple achievements as the President, Conference of African Journalists, National Honour as Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR) and the Media Legendary Global Award(MLGA).
Comrade Udekwe urged journalists to maintain decency and moderation while performing their duties. He thanked the Planning committee of the Press week led by its chairman, Comrade James Okparaekeocha and the secretary ,Comdrade Chijioke Attah for organising the event successfully.
In his speech, the NUJ national.president, Comrade Chris Isiguzo described the theme of the Press Week, “Political Leaders and the Media: Friends or Foes?”, as apt.”
He said that given the role of the media in holding Government and its officials accountable to the Nigerian people, the media have a vital role to play in nation building, by being active partners in the implementation of the development processes .
“In Nigeria, the Media have taken up the role of remaining a reliable institution especially in the context of development, because inherent in the media are the elements of development journalism, social responsibility and agenda setting.
The NUJ national president observed that so far, nothing new is being advocated for in that regard, “rather, it is the original and basic values of journalism that are being amplified- ethics and respect for public interest and good journalistic conduct which require for instance, that government policies are challenged and politicians taken to task when they propagate intolerance, xenophobia, religious bigotry , electoral fraud and all forms of corruption.
“Journalists should be mindful of their relationship with those they are expected to hold accountable for their actions or inactions.
“The Nigerian constitution was explicit as stated in Section 22 of Chapter 11 of the 1999 Constitution which confers on the press, radio, television and other agencies of mass communication, the obligation to uphold at all times, the fundamental objectives contained in the chapter, as well as uphold the responsibility of the government to the people.
The national president said that one of the best ways of holding political leaders accountable is to insist on Good Governance, which is the process of measuring how public institutions conduct public affairs and manage public resources and guarantee the realization of human rights in a manner essentially free of abuse and corruption and with due regard for the rule of law”.
“Good Governance is an approach to government that is committed to creating a system founded in justice and peace that protects individual’s human rights and civil liberties. According to the United Nations, Good Governance is measured by the eight factors of Participation, Rule of Law, Transparency, Responsiveness, Consensus Oriented, Equity and Inclusiveness, Effectiveness and Efficiency, and Accountability.
Conclusion “, Isiguzo said .
Journalism, according to him, is like no other job, and must be guarded jealously. “What journalists write and how they write it inevitably touch on the lives of other people. Careless or deliberate or mischievous publications can ruin many lives and properties as had been witnessed in certain instances in our present day journalism. It is imperative therefore, if ethical considerations are given the required pride of place in the profession.
“For the media to effectively monitor government activities, journalists must work towards strengthening press freedom, reinforce the quality of journalism and consolidate editorial independence.
“There must be strict adherence to ethical principles, respect for the truth, the need to minimize harm, and accountability to build public trust’, Isiguzo said.
There were Keynote address by Prof Izuchukwu Ibeawuchi and Goodwill messages from Friends of the state council.
Other Awardees were Prof. Humphrey Nwosu , former chairman of the Nigeria Electoral Commission, who conducted the annulled June 12, 1993 election, Prof Izuchukwu Ibeawuchi and Late Sir Francis Akanu Ibiam.