Former Commissioner for Information, Culture and Tourism and a Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger state, Jonathan Vatsa has taken a swipe on the National Assembly over what he described as a “faceless media bill” before the lawmakers, saying that the bill is meant to cage the media ahead of 2023 general election.
The former Commissioner who was reacting to the media bill which the red chamber of the National Assembly seems to have dissociated itself from it, in a statement in Minna on Wednesday described those behind the media as “living in the past” because Nigeria and Nigerians are more sophisticated in their reasoning than before.
Vatsa, a former publicity secretary of the ruling All Progressive Congress in the state said that there is no amount of antics or maneuvering that can stop Nigerians from separating the good from the bad in 2023, therefore any attempt to gag the media from speaking the truth in the build up to 2023 election will be an effort in futility.
He assured those behind the “unpopular media bill” that the bill will die a nature death the same way that the “unpopular hate speech bill” died, stressing that “you don’t bite a finger that fed you”.
“It is on record that the Nigerian media contributed to about 60 percent to the success of this government in 2014. We used the media, we enjoyed the patronage of the media in the run up to 2015 election, and for the same government now to want to gag the media is morally wrong.
Vatsa recalled that as a publicity secretary of the ruling party in Niger state in 2014 he knows the level of cooperation and supports he enjoyed from the media, adding that “the media stood firm for us and I can testify to that so why do we now want to cage the same media.
“Nigerians are wiser than they were before 2015, they can separate the good from the bad. So with the media or without the media, everybody will answer his or her father’s name in 2023.
“Nigerians do not need the media to tell them that there is hunger and high level of poverty now in the country, that the price of food stuff and every other things have gone higher above the roof. Nigerians do not need the media to tell them that the level of insecurity in the country today is the highest since independent.
“Nigerians do not need the media to remind them that the Banditry activities across the country has changed their lifestyles, they can no longer travel freely, can not go to their farms and boarding schools are all closed”.
Vatsa who is the Coordinator, public affairs to Governor Abubakar Sani Bello of Niger state advised those behind the media bill to quietly withdraw it and throw it into the same waste bean where the hate speech bill is so that they will not further incurred the angers of already depressed Nigerians.
According to him, the media is not the problem, and caging them will not solve the problem, pointing out that “there is no midway between success and failure. If we think we have failed then let us beg Nigerians for forgiveness but if we think that we have done well then let us wait till 2023 let Nigerians decide”, he added.