Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu
Speaker of the Abia State House of Assembly, Hon. Ude Oko Chukwu, has urged members of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) to be alive to their constitutional duties and “exert pressure” on the legislature in order to keep the lawmakers on their toes and make them perform well.
He made the call in a lecture entitled Legislature-Press relationship in a democracy: An appraisal” which he delivered at the 2012 Press Week of Abia State Council of the NUJ , noting that though the legislature is an indispensable arm of government, it depends on the press to really represent the people well.
“To guarantee peace, order and good governance in the polity, the press in performing their watch dog role exerts a lot of pressure on the legislature to be up and doing,” he said.
He commended the media for their role in sanitising the legislature both at the state and national levels, citing the role played by the media in causing the down fall of former Speaker of House of Representatives, Salisu Buhari , and Senate President Evan Enwerem.
But he warned journalists to be wary of getting too friendly with the lawmakers, saying such relationship was capable of compromising the functions of journalists.
“This is because once the press loses its distinctive identity, it would not be long before it loses its freedom,” he said, adding that for democracy to survive, both the legislature and the press must be alive to their respective constitutional roles.