Mr Ray Ekpu, the Vice-chairman of the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) governing council, and aveteran journalist has lamented that ‘the nation of our dreams should be far better than the one we have today’.
Ekpu disclosed this on Monday, at the Nigerian Institute of Journalism (NIJ) 60th convocation lecture, which was titled “Media, Security and Nation Building”.
Ekpu rolled out the problems hindering Nigeria from growing in a series of questions.
“So the crucial question is: what sort of nation do we want to build? I have no answer to give you. I only have questions to pose. Do we want a nation where equality, fairness and justice will reign supreme or one in which injustice, unfairness, nepotism, parochialism, favouritism will be the order of the day?
“Do we want a nation where security men will shoot and kill defenceless, unarmed and peaceful citizens sitting on the floor, singing the country’s national anthem and holding the country’s national flag?
“Do we want a nation where we can seek to collect land belonging to private individuals and state governments and give it free to private businessmen called herders? Do we want a nation where people can rape, kill and dispossess people of their farms because they need land for their cattle and they go scot-free?
“Do we want a nation where we can establish railway lines leading to neighbouring countries while neglecting the major arteries of our economy within our country? Do we want a nation where some students from some parts of the country can gain admission into our tertiary institutions with a score of 100 while students with a score of 300 cannot gain admission into those institutions?
“Do we want a nation where the leaders would set up a 4 committee to find solutions to an existential problem but allow the report of that committee to gather cobwebs somewhere, unattended to? Do we want a nation where the regulator of electronic broadcasting would prohibit journalists from publishing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth? Do we want a nation where some leaders would advocate amnesty for kidnappers, killers and murderers while we send petty thieves to jail?
“Do we want a nation in which someone who came fourth in an election would be promoted to the first position and sworn in as a ruler of a state? Do we want a nation where killers and kidnappers are paid ransom from the taxpayers’ fund while retirees are being owed pension and gratuity for years?
“Do we want a nation where a small clique of political and bureaucratic elite hold the nation by the jugular and run it aground with their discriminatory, parochial and nepotistic policies? Do we want a nation in which monkey dey work and baboon dey chop?
“The choice is ours. But I am sure that the nation we want, the nation of our dreams, ought to be better, far better than the one we have today.”
He said, “For the past 11 years, our country has been harassed by Boko Haram terrorists, bandits, kidnappers, herders and other assorted criminals. Our media have focused attention like a laser beam on these incidents because it is their responsibility to do so as prescribed by the Constitution of Nigeria.
“Our governments at various levels have done their best according to their abilities but our country remains a stranger to peace, a stranger to security and a stranger to safety.
“Our security personnel have also put in their best according to their abilities but we remain a people harassed every day, a people kidnapped every day and a people killed every day.”
The NIJ VP urged the media to hold the various governments accountable to the people, in order to achieve the country of our dreams.
“We in the media must strive to discharge that responsibility professionally and ethically, without fear or favour, affection or ill will.
“That is a sacred responsibility that we cannot and must not run away from. It is a sacred duty that we owe to ourselves and to our fatherland. It is a sacred responsibility that we owe to posterity, to generations yet unborn. It is a sacred responsibility that we must discharge faithfully,” Ekpu stated.