The governor of Rivers State, south-south Nigeria, Nyesom Wike, has lamented the Nigerian Press was a strong voice and conscience of the society in time past, but wondered what has whittled down their powers.
Naija News reports that Governor Wike made this comment in a statement signed by his Special Assistant, Media, Kelvin Ebiri, spoke on Friday when the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) paid him a courtesy visit at the Government House, Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital.
The governor challenged members of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) to always hold public office holders accountable to the people, lamenting that the Nigerian media now “praise and give awards” to politicians.
His words: “What I have seen of you is that you praise us and give us award because of relationship or friendship. That’s not the way it should be. Challenge us; the people in authority and we will sit up to our responsibilities. We will have no choice than to perform and serve the people as it should be.
“My support for you has to do with the fact that you are supposed to tell the truth of what is happening in Nigeria.
“There was a time you were exposing the ills of society. If not for you certain things will not be known. Assume your role, grow strong again and speak out”.
The Rivers State Governor said that the nation was in a difficult period in its history and NGE could not shy away from performing its duties without fear or favour.
“If when I castigated the operations of SARS you added your voice, who knows what good that would have achieved,” he said.
On the other hand, the National President of NGE, Mustapha Isha in his speech, said Governor Wike had remained consistent in his support to the guild.
“You are the only government that has sponsored our annual conference back to back. Even if we have a new leadership, that will not affect the friendship we share with you,” he said.
“Anytime I come to Port Harcourt, there is always a new project on-going. Flyovers are being constructed, existing roads are being expanded, and new roads being built.
“This is your second term and you’re maintaining what you said that you’ll work until the last day of your tenure. You have zeal and passion in handling issues of Rivers state, from covid-19 to issues of security.
“Projects don’t hide, even your political opponents will see them. They may murmur, but they will use them. Your excellency, keep up with your good job”.
Meanwhile, members of the guild later accompanied Governor Wike on a project tour of the Rebisi Flyover, Real Madrid Football Academy, and the Mother and Child Specialist Hospital.