President Goodluck Jonathan
By Ndubuisi Ugah
The Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) has called on President Goodluck Jonathan to ensure that he checked the rising spate of violence and insecurity in the country.
Rising from its seventh All Nigeria Editors Conference held in Benin-City, Edo State, from September 21 to 24, with the theme: “Deepening our Democracy: The role of the Editor”, the NGE said time had come for President Jonathan to rise up to the security challenges facing the country before it would get out of hand.
The guild, in a communique jointly signed by its President, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, and the Chairman of the Conference Committee, Mr. Femi Adeshina, at the end of the four-day event, said: “Insecurity is a major threat to the nation’s democracy and the general well-being of the polity. The President and the security agencies should tackle insecurity urgently and protect lives and property. Dialogue should be employed where necessary while criminal breach of security should be punished.”
The communiqué further added that due to the rising spate of insecurity in the country, the cost of governance had risen without any commensurate effect of the living standard of the masses.
“The high cost of governance in Nigeria which invariably hobbles the deepening of democracy in the country is avoidable and all tiers of government should work assiduously towards reducing it drastically,” the NGE noted.
While stressing that “all democratic institutions, organs and machinery should be strengthened by all stakeholders to achieve the desire of sustainable democracy”, the NGE maintained that: “Poverty, illiteracy, injustice and fraudulent elections constitute great threats to our democracy and the state should strive to exterminate them.”
The communiqué further added that: “There was an appreciable improvement in the conduct of the 2011 elections and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is urged to strive to achieve best practices in the electoral process.
“The local Government as the third tier of government should remain but must be strengthened by expunging the vexatious sections of the constitution that list them while the states should be given full powers to legislate on the structure, composition and administration of council areas.
“Indigene/settler dichotomy which stokes the fire of ethno-religious violence is against our constitution. Residency should determine the rights and privileges of the citizens.
“The Editors should always probe beyond the advertised purpose of any policy initiative to ensure that they are in the interest of the people. The editors should be in the vanguard of promoting National Unity and integration. They should deny access to those who seek to use the media to fan embers of ethnicity and divisive politics.”
The NGE, however, noted “the transformational programmes of Governor Adams Oshiomhole and urged the governor to keep it up and expressed appreciation to him for hosting the conference.”