Editors accuse FG of persecuting media practitioners for reporting its failure to provide social injustice

Vice President (West), Nigeria Guild of Editors (NGE), Mr. Bolaji Adebiyi yesterday accused the Federal Government has the FG of failure to provide social justice, which has made peace practically impossible in many parts of the country.

He said media practitioners in the country have been saddled with the responsibility of reporting social injustice, among other things, accusing the Federal Government of persecuting them for reporting its failure to provide social in the country.

Adebiyi made the disclosure when he delivered the 2021 public lecture organised by the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ), Oyo State Council, entitled: Nigerian Journalists and the Search for National Unity,’ during the launch of N100m Journalists Estate of the Ademola Babalola-led state council.

Describing the two persons managing media and publicity for President Muhammadu Buhari, namely Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, and Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, as fine, brilliant and professional gentlemen, Adebiyi, however, lamented the “consistent inconsistencies” in their defence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s perceived harsh policies, saying “there is little or nothing you can do to sell a bad product.”

“So long as the government is not able to do social justice, there will continue to be persecution of journalists. What is media in the first place? The media does not create news. It works on reports it got. What is reported is the creation of the society. When the government wants to be mischievous, they refer to report as fake news. That does not come from the media as we know it. If you talk about social media, social media is not journalism, and there is nothing like citizen journalism,” Adebiyi declared.

“If the government is unable to provide the basic needs, and it continues to treat the citizens as if they do not matter, that will reflect in report sent out, and the government will not like it. They will call it favouritism and what is there for us as solution?

“First as solution is that the various bodies: NUJ, Guild of Editors, NPAN and other stakeholders have to step up their game. The media must remain relevant to the public so that when there are attempts to persecute the media, the public will rise in its defence.

“Today, because of the adverse impact of social media, many of the reports being complained about emanate mostly from the Facebook. As for the mainstream media, there is the need to up our game. But that will not be possible until we resolve those issues of welfare condition within the industry.”

The former Special Assistant to late President Musa Yar’Adua and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan further spoke on the perceived inconsistencies in the activities of media handlers in the Presidency: “I must confess that it is extremely difficult to package a bad product. From experience, I know that sometimes the principals listen to us and sometimes they don’t. Even though the media people could be competent, if they are not given free hand to operate, there will be problem like we are having it. Once a product is bad, there is little or nothing you can do to sell it.

“What I can see in the case of the present government is that the media handlers cannot claim not to have access to their principal. But I feel that they are unable to convince their principal about the implication of the policies that they promulgate. And when that happens, it is either you resign or you defend the policy. There is no question of ‘I told Oga (the boss) but he didn’t listen.’ So, for me, let us just be patient, 2023 is around the corner; nothing can be achieved until after 2023.”

Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Segun Ogunwuyi, described the proposed Journalists Estate as  a laudable initiative, which is in tandem with what the state is known for, adding that having an estate by journalists in the state falls within the dream of Governor Makinde.

“I encourage people to key into this initiative as it is going to be beneficial in the future. Governor Makinde will support you in this project,” he said.

The Chief launcher and Chairman of the Ilaji Hotels and Sport Resort, Dotun Sanusi, represented by his Manager, Azeez Ayansola, also described the estate initiative as that which would secure the future wellbeing of journalists and other stakeholders. He promised to assist the council financially.

Chairman of the occasion, Chief Kola Kareem, also described the estate as a well thought-out initiative.

The National President of NUJ, Chief Chris Isiguzo, was represented by the Chairman of NUJ in Lagos, Adeleye Ajayi.

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