The People, The Press, The government: Wayforward

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This government of the people which by divine mandate was inaugurated on January 15, 2020, which event coincided with the Armed Forces Remembrance Day succinctly charged with a will and design or programmes to save the people and salvage their economy from financial recklessness, recover public property, stop treasury looting, stagnation and starvation due to negligence was duly welcomed and as well hailed as Godsent and timely. It is now four months that it kicked-off on a sound footing with laudable steps that were appreciated by all sectors of the society including the mass media.   

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However, unfolding events in the last few weeks seem to portray government of hope, as regrettably opposed to the peoples welfare and freedom of expression. This government assured us that the Egyptians we saw in the previous eight years and seven months of Emeka Ihedioha, we shall see no more. That was when we witnessed one man and one way government, run by “Eze Onyeagwalam” Rochas Okorocha and the media was virtually caged and intimidated.

Recall the fate and travails of the erudite Social Critic and Patron of Imo Youths, Professor Protus Nathan Uzorma and the trials and tribulations of human rights activist and Newspaper Publisher, Comrade Precious Nwadike over the issue of the peoples common wealth tagged the Bailout Fund. That administration saw to the fragmentation and balkanization of the Imo media through the office of the media handlers of the Chief Executive reminiscent of the military era.

We all know that the media or press as the fourth estate of the realm is a partner in progress with the Government of the state, a mirror of the society, the peoples parliament as well as the voice or expression of the voiceless. No government in modern democracy would want to be at war with either the press/media or the masses. For now, it seems we are drifting gradually to former times of the reign of the obnoxious decree 4 of 1985 but remember these were the hay days of the men with the gun but the media later had their say and the citizenry had their bay. For now, we appeal to the trio of veritable members of the executive to save the situation before it gets out of hand. 

Chief Hon Declan Mbadiwe Emelumba is a product of Jackson school of journalism U.N Nsukka, a pioneer popular staff of the Concord Newspaper as well as National Post and a lawmaker now, the Commissioner of Information and Strategy, a member of the State Executive and his Ministry oversees the Imo Broadcasting Corporation (IBC), from where his junior colleague, Lady Barr Vivian Ottih was suspended for expressing her opinion, demanding her rightful wages and soliciting for her colleagues. Dear Commissioner, you know the media laws and ethics and hazards of this job.

Just a few days ago, news went viral that a social media handler, Mr Ambrose Nwogwugwu was clamped into DSS cell, at a time federal authorities were trying to decongest cells. His matter to us is not clear. We also observed that another media guru, a popular journalist and Newspaper Publisher, Chief Modestus Nwamkpa is now on the pressure by his colleaques to right the wrongs.He is aware and conversant with the Imo cases at hand. He has a role to play to save the situation from going sour.

A third member of the present executive, though a politician is adjudged to be a close friend of the media, a social activist, a human rights and legal practitioner, who has since 1999 championed the cause of the media and the oppressed, Honourable C.O.C Akaolisa, now Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General for Imo State. We believe and advocate that with the combined efforts and reasonable works of these three gentlemen in the executive there will be assured maximum cordial relationship between the government of the day, the masses and the media to ensure freedom of the press and freedom of speech and right to public opinion as upheld in our constitution, while also ensuring that there will be no gestapo like invasion of media houses as suspected by the operators of Trumpeta Newspaper.

Chief Emelumba and Co are at home with the memorable sad stories of Mr Luka Iyima, Vera Ifudu, Dele Giwa and others. We plead that the media team, image makers and social media handlers of this administration do not create or paint a blurred or dark unpalatable picture of Hope Uzodinma administration, where no one is free to express his/her opinion for or against and where the media will be pitched against the government. Such a scenario if it is allowed to thrive and persist will become ill-wind in a modern democratic set up. Democracy is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. No government can thrive without constructive opposition and not negative opposition. 

Declan Emelumba should think back about 12 years ago, when the media championed by some journalists,including Sam Onwumedo and Ken Okonkwo took an umbrage against the clean and green oracle and brought that government to its knees. 

Finally,we say no to fake News.

Weekend Editorial of Watchdog Newspaper

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