Gov. Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State has urged journalists to abide by the principles of fairness, accuracy and balance in the coverage of political campaigns and activities for the 2023 elections.
Mohammed made the call at the 2022 Annual Media Retreat organised by the Federal Capital Territory Minister’s Press Corps, on Friday in Bauchi.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the retreat was: “The Role of Residents, the Media and FCT Administration in holding Area Council Chairmen Accountable to Service Provision and Infrastructure Delivery”.
Represented by his Special Adviser on Media, Malam Muktar Gidado, the governor also enjoined media practitioners to eschew mischief, inflammatory reports and fake stories.
Mohammed said the call became necessary for the sustenance of the country’s nascent democracy and political stability.
He added that media practitioners in Bauchi State have enjoyed unalloyed support from the state government that has been giving them the needed advantage to operate seamlessly.
Mohammed said: ” And as you are getting set to cover the 2023 elections, you must ensure that the principles of fairness, accuracy and balance in the coverage of political campaigns and activities are observed.
” You should also shun biased reporting of events and remain steadfast in the discharge of your duties.”
Mohammed also said that his administration had besides building a cordial relationship with the media, also made giant strides in community development.
According to him, ”with the resources available to the state, critical projects had been successfully executed in key sectors of the economy.
” We have executed projects that have direct bearing on the lives of the generality of the people of the state.
” We have constructed network of roads in both urban and rural areas to facilitate socio-economic activities across the state.
” Schools and health facilities had been constructed, renovated, provided with the necessary equipment and furniture, while water supply schemes in the state capital and local governments headquarters had been executed.
” We have also provided fertilizer and other agricultural inputs and machinery to our teeming farmers.
”The State Secretariat and Secretariats of all the 20 Local Governments had been totally renovated to provide conducive working environment for our workers,” Mohammed said.
Earlier, the Mandate Secretary, FCTA Area Council Services Secretariat (ACSS), Ibrahim Dantsoho, underscored the importance of an effective participatory of the media practitioners and other citizenry in the democratic process, especially at the grassroots level.
Dantsoho, who said that the media play complementary roles in governance, spoke of the need for journalists not to relent in discharging their constitutional roles as the third eye of the society.
Represented by Director, Chieftaincy Matters, Malam
Awwal Dogon-Daji, the secretary said, “democracy requires that people should have the right to know the activities of government, especially the decision of government that
affects their life, liberty and property.
“Information is important for people to make choices regarding their participation in the state.
”Sufficient information helps people to decide rationally and take the right course of action beneficial to them.
“Citizens and civil society engagement to demand and promote good governance can improve by and large the viability of good governance and anti corruption programme.
”This is because the success of democracy is impossible without participation of the people”
Similarly, the Senior Special Assistant to FCT Minister on Monitoring, Inspection and Enforcement, Ikharo Attah, urged media professionals to always be aware of the enormous power they possess and use it for the good of the society.
He, however, decried the poor participation in the democratic process by the citizens, resulting in the low demand for accountability.
Also, the Chairman, FCT Minister’s Press Corps, Malam Hudu Yakubu, called on media practitioners to beam more searchlights on the activities of all levels of government, especially the local councils.
” Every tier of government has a responsibility of protecting and improving the lives of citizens and in this case, we are focusing on the 3rd tier of government, which is the local government, called Area Councils in the FCT.”