From Priscilla Ediare, Ado-Ekiti
Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) and Ekiti Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, yesterday said the nation’s democracy would be better off if the media is allowed to operate freely.
This is as he praised The Sun for remaining steadfast in the provision of responsible journalism, describing the newspaper as a vehicle nobody can ignore.
Fayemi stated this when he hosted a delegation of The Sun Publishing Limited management led by its Managing Director/Editor-in-Chief, Mr Onuoha Ukeh.
The governor said Nigeria, like other democracies, need a strong and free press to monitor governance and socio-economic activities. He said though there were some journalists and media platforms acting irresponsibly, the place of free speech and free media in deepening democracy cannot be vitiated.
The governor said he was standing solidly with media practitioners in the fight against moves to gag the press through the new bill at the House of Representatives
“Free press is a critical attribute of any democracy, especially any democracy that wants to be consolidated. The press can annoy those of us in government, no question about that, but the role of the press is not to hug us; it is not to make us feel good, it is to make society better and to hold our feet, sometimes irreverently and sometimes in what I will call in a constructive manner.”
On the proposed media law, Fayemi said: “We are in a democracy, we can’t say they shouldn’t put up opposition as far as the law is concerned but they must also provide opportunities via public hearing for the media and associated institutions to hear their views on this and to also lobby other people who may be necessarily interested in what is going on. We have seen all the front page of all the newspapers today (yesterday), and it is clear that this is an issue of concern which all lovers of freedom of expression and liberty must line up behind to support.”
The governor hailed The Sun for always being on the side of the truth, acknowledging the impact of the newspaper on national discourse.
“The Sun has, in fairness, been positive with the coverage of Ekiti State . On the developmental strides in the state you have always been in the forefront of the coverage. The Sun newspaper has always been a critical vehicle that one cannot ignore. So if The Sun notices what we have been doing, we are elated and charged to do better.”
Ukeh commended the governor for recording strings of achievements both as governor and chairman of NGF. The visit also featured the presentation of certificate of award as The Sun Political Icon for 2019. The award was to be presented to the governor last year but COVID-19 lockdown prevented it.