Nigerian media industry offers five-point action for FG to tackle nation’s challenges

May 25, 2021
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Concerned about the various socio-economic, political and security challenges facing the country, the Nigerian media has advanced a five-point action that the Federal Government should pursue to address the nation’s challenges.

The suggestions of the media industry were contained in a State of the Nation address, jointly signed by President Newspaper Proprietors’ Association Of Nigeria (NPAN) and President Nigerian Press Organisation (NPO) Kabiru Yusuf; President Nigerian Guild Of Editors (NGE), Mustapha Isa; President Nigeria Union Of Journalists (NUJ), Chris Isiguzo.

Pointing to the high cost of governance as a challenge, the media stakeholders posited that reduced cost of governance will free substantial funds to fight insecurity, provide social safety nets for the generality of the people, fund developmental projects, and stem the current penchant for external and local borrowing by the government.

Especially, they called on President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to implement the Orosanye Report, as one which provides a veritable road map for arresting the unsustainable high cost of governance.

In addition, the media stakeholders agreed to the need for restructuring, urging the Federal Government to immediately take steps at devolving powers to the component units.

The media leaders, in particular, decried the continued delay in implementing the recommendations of the El Rufai Committee Report which, among others, recommends State Policing, in addition to other adjustments to the structure of governance.

They further held that implementation of the El-Rufai committee report will curb the galloping rate of criminality, reduce tension and reset development in the country.

On the protracted issue of petroleum subsidy removal, the call was also made on the Federal Government to put pressure on the National Assembly to pass the Petroleum Industry Bill, (PIB).

With a prolonged yearning for an overhaul of the petroleum industry in Nigeria, the media leaders maintained that the passage of the bill will engender the desired overhaul and improve corporate governance in the oil sector.

On the health of the nation’s economy, the NUJ, NGE, NPAN and NPO raised the alarm that the Nation may be on the path of debt overhang stemming from excessive borrowing.

Though not averse to borrowing if deployed to funding enduring development projects, within the GDP ratio, the media stakeholders expressed worry at borrowing when the value of oil continues to slide.

Amid separatist agitations and fears of division, the media industry appealed to politicians and state actors to minimise their inflammatory rhetoric in order to reduce tension and sense of fear among Nigerians.

The media, on its part, asserted belief in the oneness of Nigeria but stressed the need for the nation’s resources to be well managed and devoid of ethnic or tribal chauvinism.

Other parts of the address read, “Nigeria has been embroiled lately in profound socio-economic, political and security challenges that threaten its very existence as reflected in ethnic divisions and separatist agitations in the country, with growing fears that an implosion is imminent.

“Today, criminality – kidnapping for ransom, banditry, arson, killings – defines the everyday reality for a good number of our citizens.

“At the centre of all these are; High Cost of Governance; Devolution of Powers/Restructuring; Petroleum Subsidy Removal; and Accumulation of Foreign Debt, among others.

“We, leaders of the media and major stakeholders in the Nigeria Project, given the responsibility imposed on us by Section 22 of the 1999 Constitution, as amended, state as follows: That we believe in the oneness of Nigeria and that its population of about 200 million people, if resources are well managed, have innumerable advantages – both in economic and soft power and that this should not be sacrificed on the altar of ethnic or tribal chauvinism.

“That one of the triggers for the current socio-political, economic, and security challenges in the country is the high cost of governance, reflected in the outrageous allowances and flamboyant lifestyles of our political leaders.

“These leaders, rather erroneously, misconstrue public service for primitive accumulation of wealth, instead of its being a platform for galvanising development and satisfying the collective aspiration of our people for quality life in a safe and secure environment.

“One of the consequences of this ostentatious lifestyle is the new craze among a growing number of youths that the end justifies the means in their quest for easy wealth.

“That is a Federal system of government, particularly in a country like Nigeria which is diverse in ethnicity, culture, and religion, an overbearing centre is counterproductive to the development of the centre itself and the component units. “To leave the Federal Government with 68 items under the Exclusive Legislative List, including policing, is a recipe for unending destructive tension in the struggle for advantage among the federating units.

“It explains why our country is seemingly overwhelmed by non-state actors engaged in criminality and separatist agitations.”

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Nigerian media industry offers five-point action for FG to tackle nation’s challenges

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