Lagos State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode and his Kwara State counterpart, AbdulFatah Ahmed, have charged the newly elected President of the Nigerian Union of Journalist (NUJ), Mr. Waheed Odusile and the executives of Lagos State Council, to work assiduously to improve on the standard of the profession in Nigeria.
The Governors, who gave the charge separately called on Odusile to evolve a mechanism to ensure adequate remuneration for media practitioners in the country.
Governor Ambode, while receiving the officials recently, congratulated Odusile on his success at the keenly contested election and said it was time to justify the confidence of those who voted for him by improving the lot of members of the union.
He emphasised the need for them to utilize the strength of the social media as a platform for repositioning journalism for dynamism and a tool to build a virile and strong nation.
He said, “In this modern day of social media, we need to start to look at what social media means to our journalists and national development.
“We should be able to look at that area and see how we can improve on the curriculum of the Institute of Journalism and other communication schools where we can start integrating the good side of social media with journalism and development in the best interest of the nation.”
He said no political leadership can thrive without the support of journalists as its role in the polity could not be over emphasised.
He said, “I congratulate Lagos state for producing the president of the NUJ after a long silence in the last 21 years. I am committed to supporting the NUJ. I also want to let you know that what we have in our hands now is to come together and build a viral nation.”
The Lagos State governor who said he was not against constructive criticism, sought the co-operation of journalists in the task of a safer and more prosperous Lagos, charging the NUJ President to ensure that he uses his good office to transform the landscape of journalism in Nigeria.
“I believe strongly that NUJ and journalists have that platform to assist me, so I will and I do welcome constructive criticism, because they will spur me on to be at alert to do those things that I cannot see 360 degrees. I expect that in this relationship, we would do everything to make Lagos become a safer place, a more prosperous place and a cleaner place, the mantra that we’ve always preached about change should also guide our journey,” he said.
Earlier, the NUJ President, Odusile, said the team was on the visit to pay homage to the Governor since his victory at the election some weeks ago.
He said the Union was ready to partner and support his government, adding that the change mantra the All Progressives Congress (APC) preaches is one they have resolved to identify with.
He appealed to the governor to help weed out quacks and fake journalists out of the profession, adding that the association will need the support of government, especially lawmakers in form of legislation.
Odusile said, “We need law to flush out quackery from our profession, we need your support to make a law to make quackery a thing of the past in our profession. We want to focus on professionalism.”
On his part, Kwara State Governor, AbdulFatah Ahmed, urged the new NUJ President to make the welfare of journalists his priority.
Ahmed made the call in a congratulatory message to Odusile, signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahaab Oba, in Ilorin.
The governor advised Odusile to evolve a mechanism to ensure adequate remuneration for media practitioners in the country.
He said that the role of journalists to national growth and development was critical and media practitioners should not be poorly paid.
The governor said, “Just as it is done with other professions, journalism is too central for national growth and development to be left without adequate but commensurate remuneration.”
He urged journalists to adhere strictly to the ethics of the profession and called on Odusile and members of his team to also be magnanimous in victory and embrace all-inclusive tenure.
The governor who commended journalists for the peaceful conduct of the election also promised to create a better enabling environment for journalists working in Kwara State.