By Eric Ojo, Abuja
Former Vice President, Mohammed Namadi Sambo has urged the media to continue to uphold and promote democratic rule and good governance in the country.
Sambo said as the watchdog of the society, the media has an obligation of not just advocating for democratic rule but are also expected to ensure an enduring civic space as guaranteed by the constitution.
Speaking at the 17th edition of the Daily Trust Dialogue in Abuja, he noted that the media must continue to hold to account without bias or prejudice, all the persons and institutions of governance within the provision of the law.
He added that although every segment of the Nigerian society has a role to play collectively in the nation’s democratic journey but the role of the media remains largely exceptional in every sense of the word.
“Though we can all collectively do a lot more to entrench an enduring democracy in Nigeria, the media has an exceptional role to play to achieve this noble goal”, Sambo said.
He, however cautioned that while discharging the onerous task of building a united and prosperous nation, the media must avoid the temptation of unethical practices.
“We must be cautious and accept that the media is also not above the law and its practitioners are subject to extant laws, the rules and ethics of professional conduct and patriotism”, he added.
The former V-P further acknowledged that the media played a critical role for Nigeria’s independence in 1960, adding that it has continued to be vigilant in fighting to bring back democracy and in sustaining it throughout the post-independence years that were often disrupted by military interventions.
“Several journalists have paid a price in the line of duty – some were unjustifiably jailed while others paid the ultimate price.
“The media therefore has a great task in honour of these great men whose job it is not only to inform and educate but also to safeguard democracy and good governance in our great country and indeed globally”, he stressed.
Sambo also observed that the theme for the 17th Daily Trust Dialogue, “Twenty Years of Democracy in Nigeria: Strengths, Weaknesses and Opportunities” is a good example of how the media can promote democracy and good governance.
“l commend DailyTrust for this timely, noble and bold subject matter. We must continue to evolve ways of engaging all key actors for the sustenance of our hard earned democracy”, he declared.
He said Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999 remains one of the major milestones towards the development of the country since independence, adding that democracy in Nigeria has continued to evolve over time with perhaps incremental improvements.
The former Vice President further explained that the transfer of power from a ruling party to an opposition party in 2015 remains historic as a demonstration of democratic ideals in Nigeria.
“In fact, the bravely and singular amazing act of my boss; President Goodluck Jonathan of picking his telephone and calling the incoming President Muhammadu Buhari even before the announcement of the election results by Independent Electoral Commission was memorable and historic”, he stressed.
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